It should have predictable schedule with service frequency at least every 20 minutes. Hours should ensure that people who rely on overnight-only shelters can get to and from those locations without excessive waits or walks very late at night or very early in the morning. We request that the County and/or City provide lower priced or free monthly ORCA passes for people working under county or city contracts,, similar to arrangements with county employees or the employees of large corporations. While a Circulator Bus will assist, it will not fully address the likely reality that vulnerable homeless individuals will not access services as readily as they currently do. We anticipate a greater need for human service workers in downtown Seattle to do outreach to clients who cease coming to service sites when free access to transpcirtation decreases.
DESC’s service model already depends heavily on mental health and other service staff using the free ride area to conduct regular outreach to clients both on the streets and in supportive housing. In fact, our service model has been recognized numerous times for its flexibility and focus on "in-vivo" services that meet clients where they are -- often in a very literal sense. Doing this level of outreach without a free ride area will be costly. Add to that an anticipated increase in demand due to the decreased access homeless clients will have to free transportation. Combined, these factors will create a significant new financial burden to organizations like DESC, including the hidden expense of more inefficient client contact. We request free monthly ORCA passes that could be used by a variety of staff on an as needed basis. This could be done in addition to or instead of the above request. Providing flexible ORCA passes that staff could ’check out’ when needed would allow for efficient use across many staff. While it would be ideal to provide one ORCA card per staff person, the reality is that for many organizations, like our’s, it is financially prohibitive to do so. We encourage you to consider other creative options that mitigate against the impact of this change. It is clear that there is no silver bullet to replacing many benefits the Ride Free Area provides. For instance, could you consider having a lowered fare for local travel within the downtown area, perhaps through the tunnel stops?
You may contact me or Nicole Macri, Director of Administrative Services, at (206) 515-1514, or nmacri)desc.org , for more information. Thank you for considering DESC’s comments and recommendations as you finalize plans to address the impacts from this change. p81 erely,
Bill Hobson Executive Director