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Upthegrove’s efforts to save Kent “Shopper Shuttle” routes pay off

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Finally a bit of good news for transit riders in Kent: Metro DART Routes 914 and 916, better known as part of the “Shopper Shuttle”, have been restored in Executive Dow Constantine’s revised proposal for Metro service reductions. Earlier service cut proposals had scheduled the routes for elimination in February 2015.

“When I learned that these routes were proposed for deletion I asked Metro to take another look,” said King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove. “I had a hunch that many East Hill residents would qualify for the much more expensive Access Service and wondered if this cut would actually cost Metro money. It turned out that it made financial sense to keep the Shopper Shuttle routes going on the East Hill and I am very pleased that the Executive decided to continue the service.”

The Shopper Shuttles offers free shuttle service through a partnership between King County Metro, the City of Kent, and Hopelink. Metro supplies the vehicles and pays for most of the operating costs. The City of Kent contributes the amount that would be collected from fares if the shuttle were not free and Hopelink staff operate the service.

“This is great news for everyone who uses the Shopper Shuttle on the East Hill as well as for businesses and economic development in downtown Kent,” said Upthegrove. “However, these routes are not completely in the clear. I will continue to fight to keep this service intact as the Council begins deliberations on Metro’s 2015-2016 budget.”

DART Routes 914 and 916 provide hourly shuttles to and from Kent’s East hill to the downtown area from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Saturday. Originally called the Shopper Shuttle, some bus stops still display the colorful Shopper Shuttle Frog logo, inviting riders to "Hop Aboard". The Shuttle goes right to the front door of most of its destinations. And drivers are trained to help passengers with their bags, wheelchairs, or other accessories.

The Council will begin deliberations on the current Metro service reduction proposal at a special meeting of the Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee on Sept. 10 at 9:30 a.m.

Read more about this legislation on the King County Council’s LEGISEARCH system at http://mkcclegisearch.kingcounty.gov and type in 2014-0382

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