On Monday, October 1 Solid Ground began service for a Downtown Circulator Bus.
The circulator is designed to replace the service formerly provided by the Free Ride Area, which King County Metro discontinued on September 29. Background on this is available at by blog post last April.
In April, I wrote a letter to County Councilmember Larry Phillips, chair of the Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee, noting how the elimination of the Ride Free Area would affect those with few resources, and could place an additional burden on human services providers. I encouraged support for a free shuttle service in the Downtown core with stops near important local service areas, including Harborview Medical Center, to allow those with few resources to access services. I’m glad to see this has been realized, with City negotiations handled by the Mayor and Councilmember Rasmussen.
Information about the circulator can be found at the Solid Ground website, which includes a route map, the location the seven bus stops and what services are available nearby, and contact information if you would like additional information.
The service is funded by the City of Seattle, and contracted through King County Metro. It costs $400,000 per year, and is funded through the end of 2013. Seattle paid $400,000 annually for the Ride Free Area (the actual cost was over $2 million), and is dedicating the $400,000 formerly provided for the Ride Free Area for this service.