King County Metro Looks to the App to Solve the First Mile Problem

An app is helping to bring transit riders from their home to the nearest park-and-ride in King County, Washington.

1 minute read

December 7, 2015, 12:00 PM PST

By jwilliams @jwillia22

Tukwila Intl Blvd Station Park and Ride

SounderBruce / Flickr

A new app may offer an alternative to getting transit riders from their home to the local park-and-ride facility. Matt Spaw of Crosscut writes that King County Metro is partnering with the carpooling app iCarpool as part of its TripPool program, which will allow riders to locate shared van pools near them and hitch a ride to the park-and-ride.

For the program, Metro will provide vans to volunteer drivers. At any time, riders can log in to the iCarpool app and see rides near them. The rider makes their way to the pickup spot, where they will be picked up by the driver. The rider pays through the app and is charged 26 cents per mile.

In addition to providing the marked van, Metro also pays for gas, maintenance and insurance. Unlike with Uber, the driver makes no profit.

Spaw writes that the TripPool program will be tested in Mercer Island and southeast King County. Mercer Island’s park-and-ride facility, in particular, has been suffering from an overflow of users and not enough parking spaces to accommodate them. The TripPool program is scheduled to launch late this year, or in early 2016.

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