We acknowledge that Access customers are not consistently satisfied with our delivery of service, and we’re focused on taking action on your concerns. As a result, we now have new more comfortable and efficient vehicles, a mobile ticketing pilot project, and new 7-day advance reservations – just a handful of key improvements to King County Metro’s Access services that are underway and on the horizon.
The changes deliver on promises made to Access customers as we worked with the county auditor, reviewed customer needs and looked to establish a new contract and approach to providing Access services. We are in the process of forming an Access community group to help the agency prioritize and address areas of mutual customer concerns – while also developing a vision for ongoing improvements.
As King County celebrates Disability Awareness Month, we’re highlighting the efforts we’ve pioneered in the past and reaffirming our commitments to more improvements for riders. Stay tuned for more updates. In the meantime, here are the details on the changes we’re putting in place to make Access services better for riders.
Advance reservations: Customers can now book 7 days in advance!
In response to customer feedback and advisory recommendations, Access now is able to book trips further in advance – instead of three days ahead, reservations can now be made seven days in advance. This allows riders to book more trips – up to a week’s worth – with a single phone call. No more leaving work to make reservations; now you can set up your rides a week ahead.
34 new minivans: 50% less fuel, low-floor and more comfortable
Access has purchased 34 new minivans – able to better serve riders with low floors, ramps, greater comfort and more maneuverability. We’re rolling them into service in phases, with all 34 vehicles expected to be in service by mid-November. By providing these vehicles to better serve riders, we’re also responding to an audit finding that called for a better vehicle mix.
Vehicles cost $45,000 each, were vetted during a test run in 2015, and checked out with several peer agencies (which use 660 of these MV-1 vehicles.) They will be assigned only when appropriate to serve customers for their specific needs.
Test group for Mobile Ticketing
To make it easier to pay – instead of using cash – Access customers will soon have Transit Go Ticket mobile ticketing available via smart phones. More than a dozen Access customers are testing Metro’s mobile ticketing app, giving us feedback so we can fine tune the app before launching it to all Access customers. Once implemented, mobile tickets will allow Access customers to switch from paying cash and transfer their fare to other Metro transit service. This change responds to a county audit finding that called for more fare options for riders, especially those who don’t ride often enough to justify a monthly pass.
Interpreters expedited using language caller ID
When an Access customer who speaks a language other than English calls to make a reservation, our system now uses caller ID to expedite interpreter services. The caller ID also helps people who have hard to spell or hard to pronounce names. This change, in effect since September, responds to a county audit finding that called for Metro to address barriers to Access for people with limited English.
Regular (standing) rides: easier to revise
Access riders will soon be able to have more flexibility in reserving standing rides and changing existing standing rides, a policy change our advisory group recommended on behalf of customers. The policy change allows exceptions to the 28-day waiting period for making standing reservations for customers who’ve demonstrated stable ridership.