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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Private, Public Bus Stops On The Way 

The Seattle City Council’s transportation committee is hearing an update on efforts that will make a “Shuttle Zones” pilot program in place since 2017 a permanent part of the city’s transit strategy. Seattle is serious about the plan to permanently share its bus stops with corporate shuttles. The updated program would include a fee structure that would double the shuttle vehicle permit to $600 a year and require companies to pay $5,000 per location per year for each stop on their routes.

Seattle will permanently share its public transit stops with the fleet of corporate shuttles that serve companies around the city and the Eastside. Transit will also be establishing a new fee structure and application process. The city would also collect more data from employers about ridership and more.

The shuttles would continue to be able to use 3- and 30-minute load zones but a new administrative fee of $305 per hour would be required to establish the curbs as “Shuttle Zones.” According to the briefing to presented to the council committee on Tuesday, the permanent program would continue a pilot started in 2016 that opens many of the city’s bus stops used by King County Metro to be used as pickup and dropoff spaces by the corporate shuttles. 

The use of corporate shuttles serving single employers has grown significantly in the last decade as large employers like Microsoft and Amazon were boosted by state law and found the systems to be a useful benefit for their workers seeking to avoid driving to work but looking for an often more efficient, nicer ride than public transit. 

The council is now slated to take up legislation enabling the permanent program next month along with other changes in rules at the Seattle Department of Transportation. According to the presentation, the goal is to roll out the updated program in early 2023.

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