On-demand access to transit hubs and work locations in the Kent Valley and parts of Kent’s East Hill arrived on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, with the launch of Metro’s new “Ride Pingo to Transit.”

People who live, work, or go to school within the specified service area can download the Ride Pingo app or call 855-233-6043 to request an on-demand shared ride.

“Connecting our community with a diverse set of transit options continues to be a priority of ours at the City of Kent,” said Dana Ralph, Mayor of Kent. “Ride Pingo to Transit will provide much needed access to public transit for Kent residents that is affordable and flexible. 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!”

Trips must start or end at Kent Station or the Kent Valley Hub (S 212th St and 64th Ave S) and be within the designated service area. Riders can connect to Metro buses at both hubs, or to Sound Transit buses and the Sounder Train at Kent Station. Service is available Monday – Friday from 5am to 7pm and Saturday – Sunday from 7am to 7pm. Ride Pingo to Transit is a pilot service that provides easier access to jobs, shopping, Kent community center, services, and more.

The Ride Pingo to Transit app’s smart technology will also allow riders to select the bus or train they want to connect to and then match them with a vehicle to get them to their connection in time.

Ride Pingo to Transit will operate 14-passenger vehicles with side-deployed ramps. The cost for Ride Pingo to Transit is the same as riding the bus: $2.75 adult, $1.50 ORCA LIFT and youth, $1.00 RRFP, free for children 5 and under. You can pay using your ORCA card, a Transit GO Ticket, cash, transfer, or paper ticket. Using an ORCA card lets you transfer fares between all buses and trains and Ride Pingo to Transit; other fare payment options allow fare transfers between Metro buses and Ride Pingo to Transit.

“Transit isn’t one size fits all. 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,” said King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, who represents the Kent East Hill.

This service was developed through community input, which began in 2018, as part of Metro’s Renton Kent Auburn Area Mobility Project (RKAAMP), designed to provide greater mobility options to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and underserved communities in south King County. Metro reached out to residents, employers, and community-based organizations to understand their needs. The outreach indicated that access to swing and nightshift work at distribution centers in the Kent Valley was a primary entry-point into the workforce for immigrant and refugee populations in the Kent East Hill neighborhoods.

Ride Pingo to Transit will serve communities where 57% of residents are Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, 34% were born abroad, and 43% speak a

Metro’s Mobility Framework— which helps the agency adapt to the changing transportation landscape in an equitable and sustainable way— identified these core neighborhoods as areas of opportunity due to their difficulty to be served with “fixed-route” bus and rail services, and the high unmet need for affordable access to public transit.

Ride Pingo to Transit is made possible by the U.S. Department of Energy (in partnership with The Routing Company), Amazon, and King County Metro. The pilot is funded through December 2022.

For more information, visit kingcounty.gov/metro/RidePingo or download the Ride Pingo app for Android or iPhone.

Scott Schaefer

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