A pilot project to provide free rides for people living on low incomes and those who access health and human services in the downtown area began Monday, October 1.
Two buses, a 23-passenger vehicle and a 19-passenger vehicle, run a fixed 4.5 mile route with seven stops located near services such as Harborview Medical Center, Downtown Emergency Service Center, Social Security Administration, Downtown Public Health Center and more.
The buses operate Monday through Friday, with the first bus leaving Harborview at 7 am and driving in a clockwise route through town. The last bus leaves Harborview at 4 pm. Buses arrive at each stop approximately every 25 to 30 minutes. The stops are identified by a sticker affixed to the standard Metro bus stop signs.
The decision to end the Ride Free Area was part of a compromise to pass the Congestion Reduction Charge that kept Metro from immediate 17% cuts. The free downtown circulator is an effort by Solid Ground, King County and the City of Seattle to provide transit services to people who live downtown and those who access downtown housing, food, health care and other services.
“Solid Ground’s focus is creating a response that meets the needs of this underserved population,” said Gordon McHenry, Jr., President & CEO of Solid Ground, which operates housing, food, homeless prevention and other programs aimed at helping people move from poverty to thriving.
“Given fiscal constraints, a downtown circulator is a practical response to the needs of people who are the least advantaged in our community. Solid Ground’s drivers understand the population being served and have experience providing transit services in the downtown core,” McHenry said.
The pilot project is a three-way partnership with Metro Transit providing vehicles, the City of Seattle providing $400,000 in funding that was previously allocated to support the Ride Free Area, and Solid Ground handling the operations. Solid Ground’s Seattle Personal Transit program has operated ACCESS transportation through contracts with Metro for more than 20 years.
Stop #1: 9th & Alder — closest stop to:
Cherry Street Food Bank (711 Cherry St, Seattle, WA, 98104)
Harborview Medical Center (325 – 9th Ave, Seattle, WA, 98104)
Operation Nightwatch (302 – 14th Ave, Seattle, WA, 98144)
Outdoor Meal Site (6th & Columbia Parking Lot, under I-5 freeway, Seattle, WA, 98104)
Stop #2: 4th & Yesler — closest stop to:
- ACRS (Asian Counseling & Referral Service) Food Bank (919 S King St, Seattle, WA, 98104)
- Bread of Life Mission (97 S Main St, Seattle, WA, 98104)
- Chief Seattle Club (410 – 2nd Ave Ext S, Seattle, WA, 98104)
- DESC (Downtown Emergency Service Center) (515 – 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA, 98104)
- Lazarus Day Center (416 – 2nd Ave, Ext S, Seattle, WA, 98104)
- Union Gospel Mission (318 – 2nd Ave Ext S, Seattle, WA, 98104)
Stop #3: 1st & Marion — closest stop to:
Compass Housing Alliance (77 S Washington St., 5th Fl, Seattle, WA, 98104)
Social Security Administration (915 – 2nd Ave, 9th Fl, Seattle, WA, 98174)
Stop #4: 1st & Pine — closest stop to:
- Adult Service Center (2015 – 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA, Seattle, WA, 98101)
- Pike Market Senior Center (85 Pike St, Ste 200), Food Bank (1531 Western Ave) & Medical Clinic (1930 Post Alley, Seattle, WA, 98101)
- SHARE / WHEEL (basement of Josephinum, 1902 – 2nd Ave # 200, Seattle, WA, 98101)
- Women’s Wellness Center / Catholic Community Services (1900 – 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA, 98101)
- YWCA Opportunity Place (2024 – 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA, 98121)
Stop #5: 1st & Bell — closest stop to:
- Community Psychiatric Clinic (2329 – 4th Ave, Seattle, WA, 98121)
- DSHS Belltown CSO (2106 – 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA, 98121)
- Downtown Public Health Center (2124 – 4th Ave, Seattle, WA, 98121)
- Millionair Club Charity (2515 Western Ave, Seattle, WA, 98121)
Stop #6: 9th & Virginia — closest stop to:
FareStart (700 Virginia St, Seattle, WA, 98101)
Mary’s Place (1830 – 9th Ave, Seattle, WA, 98101)
Recovery Café (2022 Boren Ave, Seattle, WA, 98109)
Urban Rest Stop (1924 – 9th Ave, Seattle, WA, 98101)
YouthCare Orion Center (1828 Yale Ave, Seattle, WA, 98101)
Stop #7: Boren & Seneca — closest stop to:
The Salvation Army (1101 Pike St, Seattle, WA, 98101)
Virginia Mason Medical Center (1100 – 9th Ave, Seattle, WA, 98101)