King County Metro customers will soon be able to use new mobile apps to hail an on-demand shuttle to and from transit hubs throughout the region, starting at the county’s largest park-and-ride.
Starting on Oct. 23, commuters will be able to use the first app – called Ride2 Park & Ride – to hail a shuttle operated by Chariot and Ford Smart Mobility to and from the Eastgate Park-and-Ride in Bellevue.
Metro will make similar on-demand shuttle service available to other transit hubs throughout King County over the next several months as a part of a year-long pilot project. The shuttle service will be available during weekday commute times, from 6 to 10 a.m. and from 4 to 8 p.m. for passengers 18 and older.
The service will be free for the first few months and will then cost the same as a standard Metro bus ride. Passengers will be able to tap their ORCA card when boarding the Ride2 Eastgate shuttle. Rides can be booked on-demand or scheduled in advance through the app or by calling a special number. Customers will be pickedup within an average of 10 to 15 minutes after trip request within a short walk.
King County Metro, which was recently named the best large transit system in North America, is also exploring other partnerships with private-sector services, such as carpooling apps and transportation network companies. These projects will build on commuter services Metro currently offers, such as vanpool, rideshare and community vans.
Chariot will use Ford Smart Mobility’s dynamic routing technology to deliver the Ride2 Eastgate service. Dynamic routing allows the service to be flexible, meaning pick-up and drop-off access points can vary depending on the location of the ride hailer. Some customers will be picked up right outside their home while others may need to walk a block to meet the Chariot shuttle on its route that day. Depending on the demand of ride requests, the route selected will reduce commute times and better balance fleet workloads.