Circulator bus makes the rounds

This piece was contributed by Kari Ware, Solid Ground’s Transportation Director.

Front view of a Solid Ground Circulator busAfter getting off to a slow start with just 74 riders on October 1, 2012, the Solid Ground Circulator bus is gaining momentum, with over 70,000 people served to date. Ridership is steadily growing each month. A year into the program we now average 303 riders each day!

The route is designed to get riders as close as possible to as many services as possible in the downtown Seattle core area. Riders are commenting that they wouldn’t be able to get to those much-needed services without our bus. They really appreciate our friendly, professional drivers and the dependable service.

Paratransit Evaluation Manager, Gaby Bell, acknowledged the “excellent customer service” provided by our drivers. She stated in an email that the drivers are “always polite and friendly,” and “Chuck,” Charles Sanford, “is especially wonderful, always has a smile and greeting, and makes everyone feel welcome and comfortable.”

The Circulator operates seven stops in the downtown core area, Monday through Friday, from 7am-4pm. This program, originally funded through the end of 2013 by SDOT with support of King County Metro, has been renewed for 2014. Routes and service hours will remain the same for the coming year, however we are looking to expand routes and include weekend service for 2015.

Last February, the Circulator was featured on KPLU 88.5FM in a piece by Paula Wissel, Free downtown bus is no longer a best kept secret.

There are no requirements to qualify to ride the bus and it is accessible to everyone, so feel free hop aboard when you are in the area and check it out!

As a reminder, the Circulator will be running on Christmas and New Year’s as these holidays fall on regularly scheduled service days.

You can find more information about the Circulator on the Solid Ground website.

Side view of a Solid Ground Circulator bus

Downtown circulator bus eases access to services

This bus gets you to solid ground.

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.

~English: Downtown circulator bus flyer 
Ómnibus de servicio gratuito para el centro 

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.

This sticker, affixed to Metro bus signs, identifies each circulator stop.

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.

Circulator stops:

Stop #1: 9th & Alder — closest stop to:

Stop #2: 4th & Yesler — closest stop to:

Stop #3: 1st & Marion — closest stop to:

Stop #4: 1st & Pine — closest stop to:

Stop #5: 1st & Bell — closest stop to:

Stop #6: 9th & Virginia — closest stop to:

Stop #7: Boren & Seneca — closest stop to:

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