King County Metro unites on-demand services under Metro Flex

Posted: 2 March 2023 | | No comments yet

King County’s Metro Flex combines three existing on-demand services, allowing riders to travel seamlessly around their neighbourhoods and the region at the same cost as a Metro bus trip.

King County Metro unites on-demand services under Metro Flex

Credit: King County Metro

King County Metro has announced that it will be uniting its on-demand services under the agency’s new Metro Flex neighbourhood transit service on 6 March 2023.

“Metro Flex transforms and merges three popular and proven on-demand services so riders will be able to travel more seamlessly around their neighbourhoods and across the region,” said Executive Dow Constantine. “Ensuring access to easy and equitable transit options is essential to helping people stay connected to their community every day, and Metro Flex is the latest way for everyone to get around King County.”

Since 2019, King County Metro’s on-demand services have provided safe, reliable connections for people and places that aren’t near frequent bus or rail service. Metro customers use these services to travel to appointments, school, stores and work, as well as for transferring to bus and light rail. These services had been inspired by the community asking for better connections across neighbourhoods and the region.

With Metro Flex (powered by TransitTech provider Via), anyone can download the King County Metro app and ride anywhere within a service area, all for the same cost as a Metro bus trip. In order to provide an even better, more consistent experience for riders, the three existing services – Community Ride, Ride Pingo to Transit and Via to Transit – will become Metro Flex.

Riders can download and use the new Metro Flex app to book rides in Juanita, Kent, Othello, Rainier Beach, Renton Highlands, Sammamish, Skyway and Tukwila.  

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As with other Metro services, reduced fares are available for customers with disabilities, customers with lower incomes and seniors. People on certain government programmes and all youth 18 and younger ride free. Using an ORCA card will also allow all passengers to transfer for free to bus and rail. Riders may also pay with credit or debit card, but not with cash.

Some previous services required riders to start or end their ride at a transit centre or community hub; however, Metro Flex allows riders to book rides from a location to a location anywhere in the service area, adding to their ease of travel. 

After downloading the new Metro Flex app from the app store on their phone, existing and new on-demand riders can choose their desired destination. They’ll receive a nearby pick-up location to meet their driver and may share the ride with other passengers. Riders with mobility needs – such as using a wheelchair – can save this information within their Metro Flex profile.

Currently, Metro’s on-demand services:

  • Provide nearly 6,200 rides a week
  • Deliver an average travel time of 7.5 minutes
  • Advance equity, with more than 32% of the agency’s on-demand rides having been taken by customers that are enrolled in reduced-fare programmes. King County Metro’s on-demand services had been created with and designed to serve priority populations.