Improving mobility by connecting more communities to transit

Crossposted from Metro Matters

Not everyone who needs transit lives near a bus stop. And not every area has the right mix of infrastructure and housing to support traditional bus service. So Metro is exploring several new ways to connect more people to transit and improve mobility options for customers who need them.

Executive Constantine ribbon-cuttingMetro recently launched the Des Moines Community Shuttle/Route 635, in partnership with the City of Des Moines, to connect workers commuting to Des Moines with the Angle Lake light rail station. It is one of the ways Metro is working to connect more people to transit and improve mobility.

The Des Moines Community Shuttle is one of several new mobility solutions now in service or in the works through Metro’s Community Connections program, which is built on partnerships with local communities to meet their unique transportation needs.

“Our Community Connections program is different,” said Christina O’Claire, Metro’s assistant general manager for planning and customer service. “It’s where we start by first listening to our customers – listening to what they need. And our customers are telling us that we need to be much more than a traditional bus agency.”

The Des Moines Community Shuttle, which operates during peak hours, helps address growing mobility needs as an influx of workers moves into the new Des Moines Creek Business Park about 1.5 miles from the station. And, Des Moines residents along the route have a new option if they don’t drive or they worry about not finding space at the busy Angle Lake park-and-ride.

“It’s really important that the future of public transportation is about working with partners like these to find mobility solutions,” O’Claire said during a Jan. 30 ribbon-cutting for the Des Moines Community Shuttle.  “And this is just one example of many we are doing around the region.”

In this video, O’Claire explains more about Community Connections and Metro’s role as a mobility provider. A full transcript of her remarks is below.

Good morning, this is an exciting day for Metro. More importantly it is an exciting day for our customers. I’d like to start off by saying that our Community Connections program is different. It’s where we start by first listening to our customers – listening to what they need. And our customers are telling us that we need to be much more than a traditional bus agency. And Metro is responding. Metro is reaching out. Metro is listening deeply to understand what our community needs are. We are committed to adapting our services and finding creative, innovative ways like this shuttle to meet not just cities’ needs, but our regional mobility needs.

This Community Connections program is reaching out deeply. Through this program, we reached out deeply with the City of Des Moines and SeaTac, and we worked closely with stakeholders – particularly employers in this area. And I’d like to thank some of them today. I’d like to thank AmerisourceBergen, the FAA, Grakon, Greensource, GSA, K2 Sports, Partners Crackers, Wesley Homes, XPO Logistics, JSH Properties, Panattoni Development, Philips Publishing and many more.

It’s really important that the future of public transportation is about working with partners like these to find mobility solutions, and this is just one example of many we are doing around the region.

So today, what did we do? We listened deeply. What we heard is that services are needed for those who do not have a car. For those who cannot afford cars. Services are needed for employees that are coming here and don’t work traditional hours. Services are needed for those who cannot connect to park-and-rides.

What we’re seeing is we need better connections to our regional transportation service. As you see light rail going by right now, we need to make sure we provide local connections to the regional transportation system. And this is something we are committed to do at King County Metro.

This shuttle today is just one of three solutions we are proposing in the Des Moines area. There will be two other programs that we’re launching later this year that are van-based programs so we can continue to meet the mobility needs of the region.

I’d like to thank all those who are involved today and really celebrated as we move forward.

Learn more about Community Connections.