StoryThe Cedar River Montessori School which serves students in Renton, Kent, Issaquah and surrounding neighborhoods will be the new home for one of King County’s newest “retirees.” The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously approved the handover of retired Metro vans to the Montessori as well as other groups throughout the County to provide transportation assistance to local governments, community programs, senior citizens and young people.
“Properly educating our children is one of the most important things we can do,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who donated the van to the school. “I am very pleased that these vans will continue serving residents of King County and further assist this great school in supporting in their educational mission.”
“Understanding our role in our greater community is a main component of the Montessori philosophy,” explains Charis Sharp, the Head of the School. “The gift of this van enables us to more easily go out into our community, exploring our place in it and providing service to it. By choosing Cedar River Montessori School, the Metropolitan King County Council is not just supporting our school, but our school’s ability to make a difference. We are deeply appreciative to Councilmember Dunn for making this a reality.”
The retired vans have been part of Metro Transit’s vanpool fleet for at least six years and have reached the end of their service life. When the vans reach this age, they are considered surplus. The vehicles that are not donated are sold.
Since 1996, the County Council has been donating retired vans from Metro’s Vanpool program to local nonprofit organizations to provide transportation for the disabled, low-income, young adults, and senior citizens. Governments, agencies and organizations that receive the vans must meet specific requirements:
• Capacity to support ongoing van operation, including assured funding for licensing, insuring, fueling and maintaining the van;
• Ability to provide qualified and trained drivers;
• Specific plans for use of the van to transport low-income, elderly or young people or people with disabilities, and assurance that the use shall be available to those persons without regard to affiliation with any particular organization;
• Ability to support county's public transportation function by reducing single occupancy vehicle trips, pollution and traffic congestion; supplementing services provided by the county's paratransit system and increasing the mobility for the transit-dependent for whom regular transit might not always be a convenient option.
The vanpool program provides mobility for a diverse array of King County residents, supports the positive work of various local organizations, and relieves traffic congestion by reducing the need for single-occupancy vehicles. Interested organizations can contact Councilmember Dunn for more information on applying for a vehicle.