Access Transportation broadens services in response to pandemic
Access Transportation is a transit service for eligible people with disabilities, taking them anywhere a Metro bus, Seattle streetcar, or Sound Transit light rail goes. Last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread and services across King County adjusted to the new reality of taking extra public health measures for safety and creating additional services supporting the community, Access took on extra responsibilities providing urgent assistance outside its normal sphere of responsibility.
One of the first steps was to ensure the safety of the Access employees and those they service. On short notice, Access created a partnership with Public Health – Seattle & King County to help transport people who were exposed to the virus. Using vehicles outfitted with Plexiglas barriers, Access transported exposed people from isolation centers to medical appointments and shelters. None of the vehicles in the special fleet were used for regular Access trips.
When many were sheltering in place, even a trip to the grocery store was a risk. There were also many families who lost their jobs and were experiencing food insecurity. Access teamed up with food banks and hot meal programs throughout the region to deliver food directly to families. More than 158,000 meals have been delivered through August, and the food delivery program is expected to continue through the end of 2021.
Access continues to be part of a successful effort in getting people vaccinated. Working with Public Health – Seattle & King County, Access helps make sure that transportation isn’t a barrier to receiving the vaccine providing rides to people such as seniors with limited transportation choices. Access also coordinated with community partners in sharing information, even using our phone system to reach out to the homebound. This support has helped King County reach an impressive vaccination rate of well over 90% of those over 65 years of age, and more than 80% of those age 18-64.
Access Transportation provides an essential service to people with disabilities and is committed to ensuring every rider is offered safe and convenient transportation.