Community Vans offer alternative way for Eastside residents to get around

BOTHELL, Wash. -- As we continue to explore transit and transportation options around the region, Metro Transit’s Community Connections has come up with a program to help give residents in the Bothell and Woodinville area a creative way to get around using Community Vans.

"So a community van enables community members to book in advance, local trips it’s not intended as a commute option, it’s intended to get folks in the community to places they might otherwise go because they don’t have easy public transportation, and a group trip is a driver and two riders, so it’s not a large group," said Cathy Snow, Program Manager for King County Metro Community Connections.

The whole system is run organically with a community transportation coordinator, like Kristi Dreessen, to help schedule trips, drivers, and riders, really allowing the community to choose where they’d like to go.

"Well the city of Bothell actually has their own van and access to that van also the one at the University of Washington Bothell campus and there’s also a third one in the city of Woodinville, so people from Bothell have potential of using all three vans," Dreesen said.

Taking trips to a local nursery, a Casino for the evening, simple trips can make a big difference. Sherman Goong, the city Transportation Planner was one of the first drivers to sign up for the program scheduling a drive for UW students.

"I’m invested in this program from the city standpoint, so I really wanted to try to think of a way that I could utilize being a driver, and initially I was just thinking I could make a, I saw the need for the students on the University campus there, and I thought that maybe I could make a trip to take a few kids to the grocery store," Goony said.

And funding the project, it’s affordable, riders pay a Metro round trip fare and it can function with an ORCA monthly pass.