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Happy New Year from TransManage and Choose Your Way Bellevue!

Posted on January 15, 2019

From figuring out your fare and your route to supplying you with reflective gadgets and gizmos, our transportation team has everything you need to be a pro at bus commuting.

The New Year is a time for resolutions so, this year, why not resolve to make a change that’s a win-win for yourself, others and the planet? Make 2019 the year of transit!

With construction, closures, and perpetual traffic, there’s never been a better time to give driving a break and pursue other transportation options. We like the bus this time of year when the weather is unpredictable and it gets dark just after lunch, but we support and applaud our cyclists and walkers as well!

Our team of transportation experts will write you a custom commute plan–all you need to provide is your origin and destination addresses. You can also plan a commute yourself! There are some great tools such as Google Maps which allow you to route your commute; just choose the bus icon at the top left and change your time frame to “Arrive by” to enter the time you’d like to get to work. Sometimes, there isn’t a route, it takes too long, or it requires too many transfers. A great way to simplify is to enter your origin as a transit center or park-and-ride. Some park-and-rides fill up early, so depending on how early you leave and where from, your new commute may require a little bit of trial and error before you perfect your plan.

Did you know that traveling via the Eastgate Park-and-Ride has gotten easier? King County Metro will actually pick you up and connect you to your Eastgate/Factoria office, or from your home if nearby, the park-and-ride through the Ride2 program! Your office parking may be tight, but by taking this Metro shuttle, you have a worry-free ride to and from your ride!

Not ready to leave the comfort of the car yet? There’ve never been more carpool resources than right now, and for a limited time, King County Metro is helping make your carpool even cheaper by partnering with carpool apps Waze and Scoop.

Need an ORCA card? Sign up for King County Metro’s Just One Trip to get a new ORCA card pre-loaded with $25 fare mailed to you, or get $25 value added to your existing ORCA card when you take the survey. Traveling to or from Bellevue? Choose Your Way Bellevue will also help you try transit with a $25 pre-loaded ORCA card.  ORCA is a regional transit card which allows you to simply tap your card and ride. The card will automatically track your transfers and fares, so you never have to calculate or pay twice when switching buses or agencies. ORCA is accepted on Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and Washington State Ferries.

And you can use ORCA to pay vanpool fare for King County, Community Transit, Pierce Transit or Kitsap Transit.

Transit Survival Kit: What You Need

Posted on January 11, 2019

For decades, the car has been king throughout the United States, and our car-culture means that from age 16 we’re conditioned to consider “but where will I park” above nearly all else. It is  undeniable that driving allows for a personal, moveable space where you can sing loudly, drink a milkshake from the drive-thru and store multiple outfit options in the trunk, but with our transit survival kit you’ll be a pro on the bus no matter how car-attached you are.

  • Backpack: you need somewhere to store your stuff, and a backpack is practical for sitting, standing, and waiting. Learn how you can earn a free Choose Your Way Bellevue backpack!
  • Water bottle: you never know when you’ll feel parched, and with traffic as unpredictable as it is, best to have some thirst quenching water at the ready.
  • Hand sani: our local transit agencies do an amazing job keeping buses and shelters clean and tidy, but sometimes you encounter something sticky or you just want to clean your hands after holding onto the rails of the bus. Now you can!
  • Headphones, book, puzzle, entertainment! A major perk of taking the bus is having time to do, well, anything you want on the ride. Watch a film, listen to a podcast, or read a book.
  • Your ORCA card – and maybe a lanyard, although you can tap your ORCA card without taking it out of your wallet; just tap the side of your wallet on the scanner!
  • Tissues: this time of year people are sniffley; you’re a people, too.
  • Something reflective and a little flashlight: it gets dark early these days. Be safe and seen by attaching something to your backpack that reflects headlights for the walk to and from your stop. Also keep in mind that at night, bus drivers are sometimes willing to drop you off in-between stops as long as it’s a safe location to do so.
  • Walking shoes: yes you look great in those dress shoes or heels, but leave them under your desk or in your backpack on transit–It’s simply more comfortable and easy.
  • An extra layer: buses are heated and air-conditioned, and get warm when they’re packed with people, and cold when the windows are open. Be the perfect temp with an extra layer at hand.

Still have questions? Know of something we forgot on our list? Contact us!

Questionnaire: Zero traffic-related deaths and serious injures by 2030!

Posted on January 11, 2019

In 2015, the Bellevue City Council adopted a Vision Zero resolution, proclaiming that the life, safety and health of residents, employees and visitors to Bellevue is the Council’s highest priority. The City’s commitment to this priority is reflected in the Vision Zero goal: Zero traffic-related deaths and serious injures by 2030.

The City is currently creating a Vision Zero Action Plan to coordinate existing programs and identify opportunities where new efforts are needed to make Bellevue’s streets safe for everyone. Whatever someone’s age, physical ability, or how they choose to travel—walking, bicycling, transit, driving, or otherwise—they should get wherever they want to be safely in Bellevue.

An online questionnaire is now available through February 11: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VisionZeroBellevue.

Feedback from this questionnaire will help City staff better understand the public’s perceptions about street safety and what factors feel most threatening to people traveling in Bellevue. Responses will be used to develop strategies and take action.

Together, we will achieve zero!

Take the Survey!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

Your commute to Bellevue during the #SeattleSqueeze

Posted on January 8, 2019

(Editors note: This post originally appeared on the Bellevue Downtown Association website.)

The countdown is on.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct is slated to close on January 11 for three weeks, at which point the new two-mile-long SR 99 tunnel connecting Seattle Center to the stadiums will open. Then, on March 23 the buses that currently go through the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will be brought up to surface streets to allow for better light rail scheduling.

Map of SR 99 closure through downtown Seattle via WSDOT.

These changes, coupled with construction on both sides of the lake and our region’s usual traffic, will likely make for long commutes in the months ahead, and not just in Seattle. According to WSDOT, “drivers should expect up to six weeks of region-wide congestion.”

News agencies, transit agencies, SDOT and WSDOT all recommend making a plan and doing as much as you can to stay off the roads, especially during the three weeks (ish) when both the new tunnel and the viaduct will be closed.

So, what does making a plan mean? Some of us can’t change our work schedule, or the way we work, but for those of us that can, Seattle Councilmember Mike O’Brien suggests that we “think about…what can we do for the common good” such as:

  • Telework – The best way to avoid being part of traffic is to stay home!
  • Shift your work day – Can you travel outside peak travel times? Start later and catch a less crowded bus for your commute.
  • Carpool – Talk to your neighbors and coworkers or go to RideshareOnline to form a carpool; or let an app like Waze, iCarpool or Scoop do it for you! To help with congestion and encourage carpooling King County Metro is partnering with Waze and Scoop dynamic carpooling apps to offer discounts and incentives to those commuting to, from or within King County. Learn more here and check with your employer; some are offering additional incentives
  • Take transit – Your employer may provide you with an ORCA card (if not, click here), and transportation experts like us at Choose Your Way Bellevue will plan your commute for free! There are a few easy bus routes that go between Seattle and the Bellevue Transit Center including:

Coming from Eastgate or West Seattle? Try Ride2, the new on-demand shuttle service from King County Metro!

  • Take vacation – Saving up those time off days? Cash in during these three weeks and say goodbye to traffic and hello to a beach.

No matter what you choose or questions you have, our team is here to help you navigate.

Your Metro Commuter Van Options

Posted on December 20, 2018

With the Seattle Squeeze less than a month away, now is the time to start planning for your commute alternatives! Congestion is expected to impact travel beyond SR 99 and I-5 and even affecting travel on the Eastside. Have you ever thought about trying a vanpool? You’ve seen those dark-colored vans emblazoned with “King County Metro VANPOOL” on the side breezing through the HOV lanes on the freeways, or maybe you’ve seen one parked in your neighborhood. Maybe it’s time to look into how you can cut your commute costs, fast-track it through traffic, or just find a less stressful way to get to work!


Whizzing Past Other Traffic In The HOV Lane

 

In this blog post we connect with two vanpool experts to learn the ins and outs of sharing the ride to get to work! First up we have Kate Johnson, who is a Transportation Planner at the City of Bellevue and is the driver of vanpool from her home in Seattle to City Hall in downtown Bellevue.

CYWB: Hi Kate, how long have you been vanpooling? Where does your vanpool start, and where do you pick up your other riders?

KJ: Our origin is in Upper Fremont in Seattle. Most of us meet at the origin point, but we make one pickup along the way just before getting on the freeway.
 

CYWB:  How were you commuting beforehand, and what was the impetus to start vanpooling?

KJ: I have used just about every commute mode! Most recently I was biking about three miles to the bus, but the bus began to take longer than before. I have found that vanpooling provides me the fastest commute by taking advantage of the HOV lanes and providing a more direct route than the bus.


We’re Not the Only One!

 

CYWB: What’s it like being the driver? What are your responsibilities? Do you get to choose which radio station the van listens to?  ?

KJ: As the primary driver, I drive the van regularly four days per week (there are backup drivers for the days I don’t drive). I also get gas (using the gas card provided by the vanpool program) and take the van to the maintenance shop when needed. Even though driving isn’t my favorite activity, I find that I don’t mind it when I have friendly vanpool mates going along for the ride. Having others with me makes my commute more interesting. We’re a pretty easygoing group – sometimes we have interesting discussions, and other times we’ll just enjoy silence or listen to the radio – and, yes, it’s a perk of driving to be able to choose the station!

 

CYWB: Is there anything you don’t like about vanpooling? Are there challenges coordinating the vanpool regarding logistics?

KJ: There are some administrative tasks involved with vanpooling, and we need to coordinate with each other to decide on departure times and agree on policies. We have set strict departure times, so that only those who show up on time may ride. This streamlines our departures – we don’t need to keep track of who is supposed to be in or out on a given day. But we’re flexible as well – riders can send a text if they are running a few minutes late, and the group will wait!

 

CYWB:  Are there any surprise benefits that you weren’t expecting?

KJ: As a driver, the vanpool program allows me to use the van for occasional personal travel needs, which makes it easy for me to run errands and get to appointments during the workday.


Our Lovely Van Parked At Its Home In Seattle


CYWB: If you didn’t vanpool, what would you miss most about it?

KJ: I mainly like that my commute is faster than it would be any other way, and I have more time with my family at the end of the workday.
 


So after hearing about Kate’s experiences, now you’re interested? Curious how can you join or even start a vanpool of your own?  We’re glad you asked!  To help answer that question, we have Julie Paone who is a Transportation Planner with the King County Metro’s Vanpool program!

CYWB: Hi Julie, tell us about the King County Metro vanpool program?  Is it true that it’s the oldest and biggest program of its kind in the entire country?

 JP:  In 2019, our program will be celebrating its 40th year anniversary!  And a special thanks to all of our customers who contribute to the success of our program.  Currently, King County Metro operates the nation’s largest public commuter van program, with 1,600 groups commuting in the region. Over this time, we’ve seen many changes in the transportation environment including new mobile app technologies and employers offering more work schedule flexibility. King County Metro recognizes these changes and strives to create a sustainable commuter van program than improves the customer experience, helps the environment by reducing additional vehicles on the road and reduces the demand for parking at employer worksites.

 

 CYWB: How can someone join a vanpool?  Are there easy ways to find existing vanpools?

 JP: Anyone can join one of our vanpools, it’s part of the King County Metro public transportation system. The easiest way to find an existing vanpool is to register at www.RideshareOnline.com and search for matches which are displayed on the customized map. Then, contact the group to ask about seat availability and confirm their work hours and route. New riders can even ride for a few days to see if the van is a good fit for their commute.

 

CYWB: If someone wanted to start their own vanpool, what do they need to know, and what do they need to do?

JP: It’s easy to start a new group, it just takes five people who share a similar route.  The group identifies at least two drivers, the more the merrier, and a person to fill the bookkeeper role. All participants complete an application, then work with a Metro representative to complete the online driver and bookkeeper training. Everything is included in the monthly fare – gas, insurance, maintenance, 24 hour roadside assistance, plus a ride home in an emergency. Many employees receive a transportation benefit from their employer so the cost is minimal or free to ride in the van.

 

CYWB: With the Seattle Squeeze coming, are there any special incentives that King County Metro is offering to get more people into vans?

 JP: Yes, we are offering options to help reduce congestion by filling the empty seats in our Metro Vanpool and Vanshare groups. Through our enhanced Ticket-2-Ride program, new riders in a Metro van can ride for FREE during the SR 99 closure.  New riders can search for a Metro van at www.RideshareOnline.com and contact the group to see if they have a seat available. Metro vans that add a new rider during the SR 99 closure will get rewarded, so it’s a win-win situation!

Metro van groups will get a $50 gift card by adding a new rider during the SR 99 closure and sharing a picture of their new rider on our Facebook page – www.Facebook.com/KCMetroVans. This promotion is available to all Metro Vanpools and Vanshare groups, even if they don’t travel through the downtown corridor.  For all the details, visit kingcounty.gov/metrovans.

 

CYWB: Do you have any fun success stories that you’ve heard from vanpools that you can share?

JP: Many of our customers are thrilled about the time they saved by commuting in a van since they get home faster and can spend more personal time with their family and friends. The van also creates a community so we hear about the new friends they met by participating in the program. Many of the groups socialize outside of the commute and stay in touch through summer or holiday parties. We even had a couple meet and get married because they met each other while commuting in a vanpool. So, the vanpool program helps commuters save money, reduce time commuting and provides a social connection during the commute!


And with that, thanks so much to Kate and Julie for taking the time to share their experiences and expertise! If you want more information about vanpool incentives, check out our postfrom earlier this month. We’ll see you in the HOV lanes!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

December’s Mover of the Month: Gwen!

Posted on December 14, 2018

 

Did you know that you can have a chance to earn awesome rewards just by logging your commute? Just by signing up for Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards and logging eight non-drive alone commute trips a month you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $100 REI gift card!

Gwen is our November Mover of the Month and carpools regularly from her home in Kent to Downtown. By choosing to carpool, Gwen has been able to catch up on her favorite audio books, and it almost sounds like she enjoys sitting in traffic!

Here’s what Gwen shared with us:

For most of 2018, I have been working at the eBay Bellevue offices and carpooling with a partner that I met through RideshareOnline. It made the trip from home to work much quicker and cost effective. We started listing to podcasts, but soon shifted to books on audio and discovered a shared appreciation for the fantasy, mystery, and horror. We listened to The Haunting of Hill House and most of The Dresden Files. Instead of being stressful, when there’s a lot of traffic it became an opportunity to hear more of the book that we’d only listen to while commuting together–a nice compensation.

But why the cutesy picture of jewelry instead of a carpool photo?  Well Gwen told us that in her personal life, she enjoys making chainmail jewelry as a part-time business and that carpooling has been an “Important Link” in her life.  Too clever! We love it Gwen!

And remember, you can learn more about Choose Your Way Bellevue Rewards, including the Monthly Perks Program (earn a monthly coupon to a local restaurant or retailer) and 25 win $25 Drawing!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

SR 99 Closure – Your Metro Commuter Van Options

Posted on December 13, 2018

You’ve probably heard the news about the SR 99 closure and the significant impacts for commuters. King County Metro needs your help to reduce traffic and fill seats in our vans. On January 11, 2019 the closure begins and will last for at least three weeks–some ramps and roadways may be closed to traffic for up to six weeks. Rideshare Operations has three exciting solutions to assist you during the closure and beyond!

  1. Add a New Rider – Metro Vans Get Rewarded. Existing Metro Vanpool or Vanshare groups that add a new rider can get a $50 gift card.
  2. Join a Metro Van – New Riders are Free During the SR 99 Closure. New riders can join a Metro Vanpool or Vanshare and ride for FREE during the SR 99 closure period
  3. Connect to the King County Water Taxi with Vanshare. New Metro Vanshare groups that connect from their home to the Water Taxi in West Seattle or from the Seattle Water Taxi at Pier 52 to their worksite get three months for FREE ($555 value). Groups can get started will just three participants.

Learn more about these promotions on the King County Rideshare page.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

New carpooling app partnership – discounts for riders, bonuses for drivers!

Posted on December 13, 2018

Great news! For a limited time, King County Metro is sponsoring carpooling trips for all King County commuters! This means lower costs when you ride, and an even higher reimbursement when you drive, plus bonuses when you refer a friend.

With this special incentive and flexible, easy-to-use carpooling apps, upgrading your commute is easier than ever. Just follow these four steps:

  1. Download a participating free carpool app (Scoop or Waze Carpool).
  2. Enter your trip locations and times.
  3. Get matched with neighbors or co-workers going your way.
  4. Book a ride and enjoy the benefits.*

Learn more at kingcounty.gov/carpool

*Service areas, pricing, and features vary across apps.

Get ready for the upcoming State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct closure. Avoid the stress of driving alone and get in the carpool lane!

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

Magic Season: ‘Tis The Season For Transit

Posted on December 7, 2018

This post originally appeared on the Bellevue Downtown Association website.
-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

The real magic of Magic Season? Not worrying about parking.

Magic Season has officially begun in Downtown Bellevue, and with so many things to do, why spend any time bothering with parking? From a life-sized snow-globe and ice skating in the park, to a nightly parade of fairytale wonder, and a garden of lights to explore; you can do it all without circling, cursing, or praying to the parking gods.

Most of the holiday events are central to the downtown core, making the bus an especially easy option:

First things first, find your route. All buses traveling in and out of downtown will go through the Bellevue Transit Center, located on 6th between 108th and 110th. A short walk and you’ll think you’re at the North Pole!

  • The Sound Transit route 550 will go from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (Westlake) up Bellevue Way and to the Bellevue Transit Center. Jump off at 4th and walk across the street to the downtown park for ice skating at the Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink presented by Alaska Mileage Plan, or to check out Snowflake Lane presented by The Bellevue Collection; or jump off at the transit center and walk down the block to Meydenbauer Center Theatre for a show. This route runs every 15 minutes, Monday-Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays.
  • The King County Metro route 271 goes all the way from the University District in Seattle to Eastgate Park-and-Ride or the Issaquah Transit Center via the Bellevue Transit Center; the Issaquah buses are less frequent, so if this is the route you need, double check the time schedule. Jump off at 10th & 106th (holiday reroute) to head down to Snowflake Lane and the Bellevue Downtown Park for a skate. Exit at 116th & 1st to check out the Garden D’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Gardens.
  • Take King County Metro routes 234 or 235 from South Kirkland to the Bellevue Transit Center
  • Take the Rapid Ride B Line from Overlake Park-and-Ride, Overlake Transit Center, or Crossroads to the Bellevue Transit Center.

Second, you’ll need to pay your fare. The easiest way to do that is to have your ORCA card handy, just tap and go! It’ll track transfers and fares for you. If you don’t already have an ORCA card, or your e-purse is empty, head over to justonetrip.org and after taking a quick survey for King County Metro, you’ll be mailed an ORCA card pre-loaded with $25 in fare; or you’ll have $25 added to your existing ORCA card. If you pay in cash, be sure to have $2.75 in exact change, since the driver will not give change. If you’re taking a King County Metro route, hold onto your transfer to use on the way back (if within 2 hours). Sound Transit does not accept paper transfers.

Third, get ready to ride! There are a few apps that will allow you to track your bus in real time to your stop. Our favorite is OneBusAway–free to download and use, this app will tell you how early or late your bus is running to your favorite stops. Google Maps is a trusty go to for route planning as well. Be sure to select the bus as your mode and play with the Schedule Explorer to minimize your wait time.

If you’re still feeling a little hesitant about your ride, you can ask for expert help planning your route and get answers to all your questions from the Just One Trip team at King County Metro, or your local Bellevue travel options program, Choose Your Way Bellevue.

We think taking the bus may get you (back) onto Santa’s good list, but carpooling, biking, and walking will also keep you clear of coal.

Explore Magic Season Events

Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink

POSTPONED – Choose Your Way Bellevue and King County Metro WorkSmart Present a Free Workshop On Telecommute Programs – 12/4/18

Posted on November 15, 2018

EDITORS NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL 2019.

Telecommuting can help improve company productivity and enhance employee recruitment while decreasing overhead costs.

At this workshop, you’ll learn about how to implement an effective telecommute program that benefits your business’s bottom line and improves work/life balance.

This event will be hosted at the brand new Industrious coworking space and a complimentary lunch will be provided.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Complimentary Lunch: 11:30 a.m. – Noon
Program: Noon – 1 p.m.

Industrious Office: Coworking Space
500 108th Ave NE, Suite 1100
Bellevue, WA 98004

City Center Bellevue is adjacent to the Bellevue Transit Center. Paid visitor parking is available at City Center Bellevue and other downtown locations. For questions, please email info@cywb.org.

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL 2019.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

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