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King County Metro is working on new ways to improve regional mobility and reduce single-occupant vehicle travel. Through this new pilot program, Metro aims to collaborate closely with private mobility providers to develop new transportation options for regional employers looking to offer efficient commute options for their workforce.

Metro believes that the best services come out of collaborative partnerships—please reach out and share your feedback at any point throughout the pilot!

What is a Shared Employer Shuttle?

What is a Shared Employer Shuttle?

  • Transportation services offered exclusively to the workforce of at least two and up to five employers, without charging a fare directly to workforce members.
  • Not available to the public at-large.
  • Have routes and schedules that complement and not duplicate existing public transit services in King County.
  • Operate under agreement with Metro and under Metro's supervision.
  • Privately-funded and operated.

How to get started

About the project

Metro’s long-range vision, METRO CONNECTS, recognizes the importance of developing new and creative solutions that work for our customers. Through the Shared Employer Shuttles Pilot, Metro will authorize qualified private providers to run Shared Employer Shuttle services for a one-year pilot period. The goal of this pilot is to help facilitate an even broader range of transportation options for King County commuters, reduce single-occupant travel, and improve regional mobility.

Contact us

King County Metro Transit
KSC-TR-0411
201 South Jackson Street
Seattle, WA 98104-3856
Phone: 206-477-7694
Send an email

How to get a Shared Employer Shuttle started

Let Metro know you’re interested

Email sharedshuttles@kingcounty.gov to let us know you’re interested in participating or staying up to date. Only those who have expressed interest will receive notifications about question clarifications, addenda, and other relevant information.

Identify partners

A Shared Employer Shuttle requires the formation of a consortium comprised of two to five employers. It is anticipated that most consortiums will propose to operate the service through contract with a third party that will own the vehicles and operate the service. It is possible, however, that a consortium could propose to operate the service with its own vehicles and drivers.

Please note: King County Metro is not endorsing these service providers nor is this list intended to be exhaustive. If you are a service provider interested in being added to this list, please send an email.

Submit a proposal

Metro will accept proposals during a six-week window; the first window will be February 21 – April 17. Each proposal must contain the following elements:

  • Members of the consortium.
  • Proposed route, stop locations, and schedule.
  • Proposed vehicle fleet, driver roster, and corresponding license information.
  • ADA Accessibility solution.
  • Agreement to data sharing protocol.

Review the proposal document for more details.

Sit tight…Metro reviews proposal

Metro will review all proposals submitted within the submission window to ensure that the proposed service will meet technical criteria and other basic requirements. Metro's hope is to collaborate with proponents to help develop the best solutions possible. As such, if Metro is unable to approve a proposal after a first review, Metro will provide feedback to the proponents with an option for resubmittal of an updated proposal for secondary technical review.

Review the proposal document for more details.

Coordinate with relevant jurisdictions

Cities manage their right-of-ways, not Metro. Consortiums planning to develop a shared employer shuttle need to make sure that the cities they plan to operate in also authorize the new service.

Sign agreement

Upon approval of the proposal, Metro and the members of the consortium will sign an agreement to authorize the Shared Employer Shuttle service for a 12-month period.

Begin operations

Service launches on a date agreed upon by Metro and the consortium.

Provide feedback and evaluate

Throughout the 12-month period, the partnership consortium provides monthly operational reports to Metro, and coordinates with Metro prior to any key service change. Metro welcomes feedback from the consortium, riders, and the public at large throughout the program. Metro will consider feedback and analyze data provided by the consortium to evaluate and improve the program.

Timeline

  • Proposal window: Feb 21, 2018 to Apr 17, 2018

    Implementation: May 1, 2018 to Apr 30, 2019

    Evaluation: Jan 1, 2019 to Apr 30, 2019

    Feedback welcomed: Feb 21, 2018 to Apr 30, 2019

  • Proposal window: July 2018 to Aug 2018

    Implementation: Aug 2018 to July 2019

    Evaluation: Apr 2019 to July 2019

    Feedback welcomed: July 2018 to July 2019

  • Proposal window: Q1 2019

    Implementation: Q2 2019 thru Q2 2020

    Evaluation: Q1 2020

    Feedback welcomed: Q1 2019 thru Q2 2020

Frequently asked questions

General

  1. Increased mobility options. Metro aims to help employers and third- party providers offer new and efficient mobility options that complement existing transit. Employers are seeking new ways to make it easier for their workforce to get to work in order to attract and retain top talent, reduce demand for limited parking, and achieve ambitious commute trip reduction goals. Hundreds of employers already work with Metro to provide employees with ORCA transit passes, subsidized use of Metro's vanpool program, and access to Metro's guaranteed ride home program – shared employer shuttles is one more way Metro is supporting efficient commuting.
  2. Increase high occupancy travel. Metro is looking for innovative ways to improve the efficiency of our roadways. Shared employer shuttles represent a new transportation demand management tool that can attract single-occupant drivers into high-capacity vehicles. Additionally, with many employer shuttles currently connecting to public transit hubs, Metro anticipates that shared employer shuttles may further increase public transit ridership.
  3. Partnerships to further Metro's goals without public subsidy. While public transit will always provide the backbone of our region's transportation network, private mobility operators can complement public transit by filling in service gaps. Through the authorization of shared employer shuttles, Metro aims to increase mobility options and decrease drive alone commuting without using public funds.
  4. Data to better understand travel patterns. Shared employer shuttle providers will be required to provide Metro with detailed monthly reports as well as periodic rider survey data. This data will provide Metro with new insights into travel patterns. Metro will analyze shared employer shuttle data to continue to improve the program and ensure new mobility options are being implemented in a way that benefits both employers and the public.
Through RCW 35.58.250, the Washington State Legislature defines Metro as the sole provider of public transportation services in King County. This provision aims to protect the public’s investment and commitment to the provision of equitable and reliable public transportation services to all. Metro’s intent in authorizing shared employer shuttles is to ensure that these new services are provided in safely, equitably, and in harmony with the existing transit services in the region.

Metro has limited resources for which to provide transit service, including limited staff capacity, vehicles, and bus bases. To help determine how these limited resources are utilized, Metro uses service guidelines to evaluate, design, and modify public transit service.

Through this pilot, Metro aims to facilitate the provision of new mobility services in areas where, due to its limited resources, Metro cannot operate.

Shared Employer Shuttles should not expect to use Metro bus stops. Consortiums should coordinate with the cities they plan to operate in to determine appropriate stops located in the public right-of-way. Consortiums may also coordinate with private property owners to stop outside of the right-of-way.
Throughout the pilot, Metro will evaluate the program and its impact before deciding on next steps. Stay tuned!
Metro is working to develop an authorization process for private transit providers to operate service open to the general public (microtransit) in King County. Metro is tentatively planning to launch a pilot to authorize microtransit in summer 2018.
Under what conditions would Metro terminate a shared employer shuttle agreement? Metro may terminate agreements with (and thus service authorization for) providers who open their shared employer shuttle service to the general public or who deviate from the authorized route or schedule. Consortiums should review their agreement with Metro for all terms and conditions, including all termination causes and processes.

Pre-submittal conference

No. It is very clear that services open to the public are not the intention of this program and the RCW does not allow for such services. It would be grounds for canceling the authorization if we find out that the agreement has been violated.
Collaboration is one of the core principles of this pilot program, and we encourage you to reach out to let us know what's going on and we will do our best to find a solution that works for everyone. We imagine additions that stay within the program's set limits would be pretty seamless, for example in the case of going from four to five employers or making basic general schedule changes. There might be other situations that entail a bit more additional review time.
Yes. It's ok for stops to not be at a worksite. In most cases, we would expect that at least one stop is at a worksite, but we are open to reviewing any type of route proposal that you believe would be helpful to your workforce.
Coordinated operations will best serve the public good, which is why we're providing a framework for services that protect the public while providing flexibility and responsiveness.
Yes, just let us know and we will work with you to find the best solution to any need or challenge that emerges during operations.
New rounds every 60 days might be too onerous for Metro staff at this point in the program, but we will consider ways to make the submittal process more accessible for proponents.
We reached out to a few strategic employers, not at liberty to share more.
Yes, it is the role of providers to identify their customers.
Yes, we will not provide a matchmaker service. Providers can market to employers and let them know what information you need from them in order to help match them together.
The proposal document outlines the insurance/liability requirements and safety standards Metro mandates from proponents.
We want to be notified of any on-going changes you plan to make, and depending on how drastic they are, they will require little to more thorough review before we authorize. We also want monthly reports to be able to see how your route is performing.
We understand you may need to make some changes on-the-fly. Begin with stating in your proposal that your service may incorporate some type of on-demand alteration/addition to the general service proposed. Then, when you submit your monthly report, we would ask you to notify us of those type of on demand decisions, the rationale for them, and how they performed. If we see a recurrence in this type of alteration/addition, we could consider making a more definitive change to the service plan.
When will we be expected to meet ridership targets? It takes time to build ridership. A: ~3 months, but it's not meant to be a straightjacket. We are just trying to make sure that buses aren't running empty on our congested roads.
Our hope is to support you in developing solutions that work for you. However, this is a Metro sponsored program, and some level of oversight will be necessary to ensure that key program goals are met. Overall, we look forward to working with you in striking a balance that works for all of us.
No, but we would love to see any that others' have.
  • Jeremy Nelson (Chariot)
  • Jose Batista (MTR Western)
  • Anthony Anderson (SP+)
  • Sedin Caucic (SP+)
  • Christian Matthews (SP+)
  • Andrew Darbyshire (TransWest)
  • Andrew Janison (TransWest)
  • Tim Rowe (T-Mobile)
  • Melanie Truhn (Expedia)
  • Cindi Laws (WAT ASSN of WA)
  • Cindi Gysellinck (Greater Redmond TMA)
  • Patrick Green (Commute Seattle)
  • Bejamin Smith (SDOT)
  • Rachel VerBoort (SDOT)
We're working with Metro on this. We want to make sure your operations will go well and that if you're using public curb space please work with us to make sure that use is permitted. 3 minute loading zones may be sized for a car. There is a shuttle bus permitting process per vehicle – this permitting can help us develop new shuttle load zones if needed. We want bigger shuttles on bigger streets. We are solutions-oriented and will try to make it work. Before Metro can give the green light, Metro needs proof that you have necessary authorization from Cities that you'll be operating in. You don't need permits approved when you submit your application.

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