Imagine the ability to plan an outing with a couple friends to Saint Edwards State Park to enjoy a walk along the water of Lake Washington without having the stress of bus connections. A trip all the way down to Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle could be quite the production if you began in Woodinville and were trying to hop, skip, and transfer your way around the water and down into the bustling city. The new rideshare Community Van project turns those trips from headaches into easily planned excursions.
The Community Van is a collaboration rideshare program between King County and participating communities. The latest addition to the Community Van program is the collective of Woodinville-Bothell. With three vans for this branch of the pilot project, Woodinville and Bothell are fully equipped with the tools to boost unity throughout the community by providing amazing volunteer opportunities while curtailing traffic congestion and air pollution.
There are rider benefits aplenty for Woodinville residents. Not only do these Community Vans allow individuals who might otherwise have difficulty traveling a smooth ride, the round-trip cost is a flat fee of just $2.50. “It could take three buses to get to the beach,” said Kristi Dreessen, the Community Transportation Coordinator for Bothell-Woodinville Community Van. Without even considering the time or stress hopping from bus to bus could ware, the statistics are crystal clear; Community Van is a cost-efficient alternative. Dreessen went on to share some more details that outlined the benefits of the program: all gas is included, even tolls are free, and parking is typically much easier due to carpooling. The only requirements are that there be two passengers not including the driver.
The benefits also abound for drivers. Drivers get to support the community while volunteering their time with the Community Van. The driver’s trip is free of charge even if the driver is participating in the event. The city of Woodinville promotes its symbolic quality of life deeply which dovetails perfectly with this new transportation opportunity. Dreessen shared that these outings could be one-time trips, or they could be reoccurring events. “A reoccurring trip could be set up to a local food bank,” said Dreessen who shared the many mass volunteering projects other rideshare programs have already brought their own communities.
“Anyone in the commu-nity can use the Community Van,” said Dreessen. The Community Van brings a new way for the residents of Woodinville to get out and explore the places that make the city and its surrounding neighbors such wonderful destinations. The opportunity to increase mobility in the community allows the joys and pleasures of all to be experienced. The community’s smile stretches widest due to all its involved members.