Meeting the Transportation Needs of Seniors in King County
King County Metro Transit offers a variety of services to meet the transportation needs of seniors and people with disabilities in King County. The goal is to promote equal opportunity and maximize independence by using public transit.
Metro works hard to make its regular service meet the transportation needs for seniors and people with disabilities. All Metro buses include accessibility features such as wheelchair lifts and priority seating. Drivers wait for riders to be seated and announce major stops along the route. With a Regional Reduced Fare Permit (discounted bus pass for seniors), seniors ride the bus for only $.25 a trip ($.50 during peak hours). Metro also offers free bus travel training for seniors and people with disabilities. For more information, contact the travel training contractor, CARES of Washington, at 206-749-4242 or 206-749-4244 for TTY users.
If the bus doesn't work for you, you may be eligible for ACCESS Transportation, designed for people who are unable, because of a disability or health condition, to ride a regular bus some or all of the time. This shared-ride, curb-to-curb service may be the transportation solution for keeping you active and on the go. You must apply and be found eligible ahead of time to use this program. Potential applicants must complete a pre-application prior to receiving an application. Applications must be co-signed by a health care professional. An in-person evaluation may be part of the determination process. The evaluation will be conducted at no cost to you, and free transportation will be provided if needed.
An eligibility determination can take up to 21 days once a completed application is received. You will receive written notification of the eligibility determination. For more information, call Metro's Accessible Services office at 206-263-3113, 206-263-3116 for TTY users, during regular business hours. If you have to dial "1" first to reach those numbers, call 1-866-205-5001 or, for TTY users only, 1-877-749-4286.
Taxi Scrip Program
You might also be eligible for the Taxi Scrip Program, which serves low-income King County residents age 18 to 64 who have a disability, or are age 65 and over. Once registered, you can buy up to six books of taxi scrip each month from Metro at a 50 percent discount to help meet your transportation needs. You can buy scrip either by mail or in person at Metro's Customer Services Offices in the King Street Center building or Westlake Station. Each $10 book of taxi scrip costs you only $5. Most taxi companies accept taxi scrip, but you should always check when you call to request a cab. At the end of your taxi trip, you pay the driver the meter fare using taxi scrip instead of money. You do not need to use the scrip the same month you buy it; however, please note that unused scrip cannot be returned for a refund. To register for taxi scrip, you must have a Regional Reduced Fare Permit (see above), be a King County resident age 18 or older, and be low income. Both applications are available by calling 206-263-3113.
For a complete list of transportation resources provided by King County Metro, visit their website at http://transit.metrokc.gov. If Metro does not have a program that meets your needs, you can visit FindaRide.org or Senior Services' Ride Guide. Both websites offer a database of transportation resources for seniors and people with disabilities that serve your neighborhood.
Photo: King County Metro