Metro’s ‘Ride Pingo to Transit’ brings affordable on-demand rides to the Kent Valley

Ride Pingo to Transit, an on-demand pilot program of King County Metro, is improving all-day and weekend mobility to and from the Kent Valley and Kent East Hill. Ride Pingo to Transit allows people in Kent Valley to schedule on-demand shared rides on a 14-person accessible vehicle. The vehicle connects to Kent Station or Kent Valley hub, where riders can transfer to Metro buses at both hubs, or to Sound Transit buses and the Sounder Train at Kent Station.

To get started, download the free android or iOS Ride Pingo to Transit app to schedule rides, or call 855-233-6043. The service is available Monday to Friday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday to Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ride Pingo to Transit costs the same as a Metro bus ride. The regular adult fare is $2.75 adult and, starting September 1, youth up to age 18 ride free. Like a Metro bus ride, there are reduced fares available for people with disabilities, people with lower incomes and seniors. You can pay using an ORCA card, a Transit GO Ticket, cash, a transfer or a paper ticket.

Ride Pingo to Transit is much less expensive than the $35.00 per ride that Kent retiree Trish Karn has paid using commercial ride hailing services. But even better than that, she explains, is the personal component that Ride Pingo to Transit 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 whom we spoke with called the service easy to use. Recent feedback shows that riders continue to love the service and the drivers:

    • Rider Marlene appreciated the “on-time pickup” and “amazing routing.”
    • Rider Tom praised the “awesome service!”
    • Rider Sabarinathan said, “It was great… Came in front of my home and (got) to Kent Bay 3 in 8 minutes.”
    • Rider Davide noted the “Great driver.”
    • Rider Andreq referred to “My favorite driver ❤️ She is the BEST.”
    • Rider Kevin said, “Driver is really nice! A favorite for sure.”

Reflecting an overriding focus on an outstanding customer experience, the Ride Pingo to Transit app has recently been upgraded to include the following exciting features:

    • “Saved Places,” allowing riders to set their common destinations, such as a workplace or favorite restaurant, and to access them through shortcuts on the home screen.
    • An easier and more transparent “Scheduling Ahead” function.
    • The “Upcoming Trips” view now gives riders more details about the status of their trip and more information about how scheduled rides get prioritized on the “Schedule a Ride” screen.
    • Design updates to search bars, popular destinations, recent searches, auto-complete place suggestions and more.
    • Feedback tags that make it even easier to leave feedback by just clicking a button. Ride Pingo to Transit continues to evolve, so rider feedback is very helpful and appreciated.

The Ride Pingo to Transit service was conceived in response to community outreach conducted as part of the Renton Kent Auburn Area Mobility Project (RKAAMP). Residents, employers, and community-based organizations in these areas said that access to swing- and nightshift work at distribution centers in the Kent Valley was important to many in the Kent East Hill neighborhoods, but previously it was hard to get there on transit.

The Ride Pingo to Transit pilot program is currently funded 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 provides much needed access to public transit for Kent residents that is affordable and flexible,” Kent Mayor Dana Ralph said, “This service empowers our residents to better access our transit hubs and work in the Kent Valley and beyond.”

“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 has increased the options for Kent residents and enables Metro to deliver the most suitable transit services to our communities based on their specific needs.”

Try Ride Pingo to Transit today by downloading the app and easily connect to more destinations than ever before.

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