Free shuttles to replace Metro's Free Ride Zone in Seattle

Free shuttles to replace Metro's Free Ride Zone in Seattle

Credit: Lucas Anderson / KING 5 News

Free shuttles to replace Metro's Free Ride Zone in Seattle

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jakewhittenberg

KING5.com

Posted on September 7, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Updated Saturday, Nov 9 at 3:05 PM

A new free shuttle system will replace the downtown Seattle “Ride Free Zone,” which Metro is ending on Sept. 29.

King County has suggested adding two free shuttles that would circulate in the downtown area, five days a week, 30 minutes apart. King County Metro, the Seattle Department of Transportation and Solid Ground, a group aimed at eliminating poverty, are working together to provide the service.

It will begin October 1 as part of a 13 month pilot project.

Routes have yet to be determined, but they are expected to operate in the downtown core and designed to ensure low income riders can still reach medical and social services they need.

Some people are concerned that the new shuttles will only further divide the low income people from the other riders.

“And, it’s going to be packed with people,” said Megan Sanchez, a frequent rider in the Ride Free Zone. “Businesses also count on the free rides to get employees where they need to go.”

Some riders are happy just to have another option.

“It’s better than nothing,” said downtown bus rider Darris Michael.

Solid Ground will operate the shuttles, but Metro will spend $200,000 on the two shuttles while SDOT provides $400,000 in funds that would have been spent on the Ride Free service.

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