A new service is forging the way to improve all day and weekend mobility to and from the Kent Valley and Kent’s East Hill – Ride Pingo to Transit is a new pilot program of King County Metro Transit.
It allows users in the Kent Valley service area to schedule on-demand shared rides on a 14-person accessible vehicle to connect them to Kent Station or Kent Valley hub, where they can transfer to Metro buses at both hubs, or to Sound Transit buses and the Sounder Train at Kent Station.
The rides are priced at $2.75 adult, $1.50 ORCA LIFT and youth, $1.00 RRFP, free for children 5 and under. Users can pay using an ORCA card, a Transit GO Ticket, cash, transfer, or paper ticket. This is much less than the $35.00 per ride that Kent retiree Trish Karn has paid using popular ride hailing services. But even better than that, she explains, is the personal component the Pingo service provides.
“When they come straight to my door and pick me up, it makes me feel special,” Karn said. “It’s keeping me from being isolated since I no longer drive.”
The resourceful senior has even figured out how to use Ride Pingo to Transit to connect to a bus that drops her right off at the Covington Costco.
Riders who we spoke with declared the service as easy to use. Simply download the free android or iOS app to schedule the rides, or call 855-233-6043 to request the service which is available Monday – Friday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
According to rider Vicky Bach, who – prior to the most recent Omicron COVID-19 surge – was a daily weekday rider commuting from her home in Lakewood via the Sounder train, then using Pingo to connect her from Kent Station right to her work in a Kent office park.
“It’s a great app! It’s easy and reliable; they always show up,” Bach said.
She explained that with Pingo she experiences less delays and better reliability to make her connection. It also provides her with flexibility to work late or leave early. She looks forward to using Ride Pingo to Transit when her employer discontinues work from home protocols.
The Ride Pingo to Transit service has been conceived in response to needs identified by the Renton Kent Auburn Area Mobility Project (RKAAMP). Outreach to residents, employers, and community-based organizations in these areas produced feedback indicating that access to swing and nightshift work at distribution centers in the Kent Valley was important to many in the Kent East Hill neighborhoods, yet transportation service gaps were present.
The pilot program has funding through December 2022. It is made possible through various grants and partnerships.
Local leaders are enthusiastic about this addition to transit options in the Kent Valley.
“Ride Pingo to Transit will provide much needed access to public transit for Kent residents that is affordable and flexible,” Kent Mayor Dana Ralph said, “This service will empower our residents to better access our transit hubs and work in the Kent Valley and beyond. I’m very excited about the launch of this new service and am looking forward to trying it out myself!”
“Transit isn’t one size fits all,” added King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, who represents Kent’s East Hill. “Offering innovative and flexible service options like Ride Pingo to Transit will increase options for Kent residents and enable Metro to deliver the most suitable transit services to our communities based on their specific needs.”
It seems clear that Ride Pingo to Transit is easy, affordable and filling a need in the Kent Valley. Why not try it today? You can easily download the app here and connect to more transit opportunities than ever before.
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