New on-demand shuttle service makes it more convenient than ever to take transit in southeast Seattle and Tukwila

This news release was issued jointly by King County Metro, City of Seattle and Sound Transit.

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King County Metro, Sound Transit and City of Seattle on Tuesday will launch a new on-demand shuttle service called Via to Transit that will make it more convenient to take transit in southeast Seattle and Tukwila.

Customers in the service areas can use the Via app or call 206-258-7739 to hail a ride to and from five Link light rail stations where they can board a Metro bus or a Link light rail train. They can pay with their ORCA card, which will automatically apply as a transfer toward a trip on a bus or train. 

phone application

"We are making it more convenient than ever to hop on board our high-capacity regional transit system," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "The on-demand service we are bringing to southeast Seattle and Tukwila reflects our commitment to outstanding customer service, making it easy to take transit to work, school, or play, and back home again."

"This project is a boon to Sound Transit's mission: Connecting more people to more places," said Redmond Mayor and Sound Transit Board chair John Marchione. "The innovative partnership with Via looks to a future where on-demand services work seamlessly with mass transit and builds ridership."

"As we continue to build a city of the future, we are providing new ways for our neighbors to access transit. Reliable, affordable transit creates pathways to jobs, training, school, and opportunity, and we will continue to provide more choices for Seattle residents," said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. "Thanks to the City's investment and strong partnerships, this new first-last mile connection will help ensure that South Seattle residents have more options for safely and quickly getting to key transit hubs as we continue navigating the Seattle Squeeze."

The five Link light rail stations where Via to Transit will offer service to and from are Mount Baker, Columbia City, Othello, Rainier Beach and Tukwila International Boulevard. Customers also have the choice to hop on board one of the many bus routes that connect to the Link light rail stations. 

Via to Transit costs the same as a Metro bus trip. Passengers can tap their ORCA card upon boarding Via to Transit and will automatically transfer fares between Via to Transit and buses or Link light rail. 

The yearlong pilot project is partly funded by $2.7 million from the voter-approved Seattle Transportation Benefit District. Sound Transit also successfully applied for a Mobility on Demand Sandbox grant from the Federal Transit Administration to test the effectiveness of providing on-demand ride-share connections to transit stations.

Via to Transit will make it more convenient for customers to connect with the region's growing transit system. On-demand services like this make it easier for residents who do not own a car or prefer not to drive and park, live within a long walking distance of a transit hub, or can't find open spaces at park-and-rides to take transit. 

The service is provided by Via, a leading provider and developer of on-demand shared mobility solutions. Via works with cities and transportation agencies around the world to connect more people to transit. Via has partnered with some of the world's largest public transit agencies to solve pressing transportation needs including Los Angeles Metro, Singapore's Land Transportation Authority, Transportation for London, and Berlin's Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe. 

"Via's technology is redefining mobility across the globe, and we are thrilled to partner with King County Metro, an innovation-forward agency, to provide residents with a convenient, affordable, and congestion-reducing dynamic transportation alternative," said Daniel Ramot, Co-founder and CEO of Via. "Via's powerful passenger matching and vehicle routing algorithm is the solution to solving the first-and-last mile challenge, seamlessly integrating into the existing public transit infrastructure to connect residents to transit hubs in their communities."

via to transit

Service areas and times

  • Mount Baker, Columbia City, Othello, and Rainier Link light rail stations: Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m. to midnight.
  • Tukwila International Boulevard Link light rail station: Monday through Friday from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

How to use Via to transit

  • Request a ride on demand using the Via app or call 206-258-7739. Customers do not need to have a smartphone. 
  • Select pickup and drop-off locations in the defined southeast Seattle and Tukwila service areas and confirm your ride. One end of your trip must be the designated Link light rail station for the service area.
  • Expect to be picked up within 10 to 15 minutes of your trip request. Pick-up location may require a short walk. Wheelchair accessible vehicles are available.
  • Passengers share a ride with other Metro customers in vehicles that can carry up to six passengers traveling in the same destination.  
  • All ORCA passes are accepted upon boarding Via to Transit vehicles and will automatically apply as a transfer toward a bus or Link light rail trip. Use of an ORCA pass on a Link train or bus will similarly provide a transfer credit that is good on Via to Transit. Bus mobile tickets purchased through the Transit GO app are also accepted. Via's drivers are unable to accept cash payment or paper transfers. Standard Metro fares apply. 

Quotes

We are making it more convenient than ever to hop on board our high-capacity regional transit system. The on-demand service we are bringing to southeast Seattle and Tukwila reflects our commitment to outstanding customer service, making it easy to take transit to work, school, or play, and back home again.
- Dow Constantine, King County Executive

This project is a boon to Sound Transit's mission: Connecting more people to more places. The innovative partnership with Via looks to a future where on-demand services work seamlessly with mass transit and builds ridership.
- John Marchione, Mayor of Redmond and Chair of Sound Transit Board

As we continue to build a city of the future, we are providing new ways for our neighbors to access transit. Reliable, affordable transit creates pathways to jobs, training, school, and opportunity, and we will continue to provide more choices for Seattle residents. Thanks to the City's investment and strong partnerships, this new first-last mile connection will help ensure that South Seattle residents have more options for safely and quickly getting to key transit hubs as we continue navigating the Seattle Squeeze.
- Jenny A. Durkan, Seattle Mayor

Via's technology is redefining mobility across the globe, and we are thrilled to partner with King County Metro, an innovation-forward agency, to provide residents with a convenient, affordable, and congestion-reducing dynamic transportation alternative. Via's powerful passenger matching and vehicle routing algorithm is the solution to solving the first-and-last mile challenge, seamlessly integrating into the existing public transit infrastructure to connect residents to transit hubs in their communities.
- Daniel Ramot, CEO and Co-founder, Via