There is now a new option available for those who need a ride to and from the Vashon water taxi, or for essential trips on Vashon. King County Metro’s Community Van has temporarily expanded to a four-van fleet and has partnered with Metro transit operators to fulfill more essential trips on Vashon-Maury Island. The island’s bus service is currently not operating as Metro has reduced bus service throughout King County in response to COVID-19.
There are now four vans available for service; two 12-passenger vans that will be operated by Metro bus drivers to accommodate more on-island weekday pre-planned trip requests, and two six-passenger vans for riders who have mobility needs and that will take riders off-island. Social distancing prevents full use of the 12-passenger capacity.
Vans serving customers: Metro routes 118 and 119 on Vashon-Maury Island were suspended in March as part of the countywide reduction in bus service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Community Van program, which has been available on the island for three years, was developed to provide alternative travel options and help fill community transportation gaps. The service has seen an increase in use since the suspension of on-island bus service.
Residents can book essential island trips in advance via phone or email as usual, but will have one additional van operated by Metro bus drivers living on Vashon-Maury Island. While the van program operates 24/7 depending on volunteer driver availability, these additional Metro transit operators will be providing on-island-only service for morning, mid-day and evening trips, including options for one-time and recurring early-morning or evening rideshares to and from the ferry dock. The program will continue to fulfill other essential trips with community volunteer drivers as well.
Riders may use the vans only for essential trips: traveling to work, grocery shopping/meals, accessing necessities, transport to non-COVID-19 medical appointments, and connecting to the water taxi and ferry.
How many can ride per trip? To ensure social distancing, vans will carry a maximum of two passengers per trip for the larger vans and maximum of one passenger per trip for the minivans, or two people from the same household. Current essential trip requirements that apply to Metro vehicles will be observed as part of the Community Van program. Metro and volunteer community drivers will be following COVID-19 health and safety recommendations by wearing masks and gloves and cleaning and sanitizing vans after each trip. Riders also are directed to wear masks or face coverings.
Reserving a ride: The Vashon-Maury Island Community Van is a reservation-based service, available 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Riders with off-island trip needs and those requiring an accessible vehicle are invited to request additional accommodation at the time of their reservation request. Accessible 6-passenger vans and a 12-passenger van are available for these trips.
To find out how to schedule a trip, contact Megan Lockhart by phone at 206-773-7003 or by email at VashonVan@kingcounty.gov. You may also visit the Vashon Community Van website at kingcounty.gov/VashonVan for a current trip schedule or submit a trip request form. Calls, emails and trip requests will be responded to within 24-48 hours, or next business day if received on weekends or holidays.