Transportation : King County Jobs Access Reverse Commute Transportation Program
Program/Practice Name: King County Jobs Access Reverse Commute Transportation Program
Agency Name: King County (Washington) Department of Transportation, Metro Transit Division
Type of Program/Practice: King County Metro Transit provides services throughout King County to support local non-profit agencies to improve access to transportation services, to employment, and to employment-related activities for welfare recipients and eligible low-income individuals throughout the country.
Program/Practice Description: King County Metro Transit helps individuals understand the range of transportation alternatives available to them. The overall objectives are to improve information about Metro services, increase and improve services for clients, enhance service affordability, increase job retention, and coordinate transportation funding of agencies. Through the Jobs Access Van Program, vans are supported or leased to Neighborhood House and other agencies, including SKCAC Industries, Worksource Solutions/Cliffside Vocational Institute, King County Work Training Program, Central Area Motivation Program, Youthcore, Center for Career Alternatives, Seattle Urban League, CASA Latina, Seattle School District, and Renton Technical College. The program also supports vanpools formed by entry-level employees from ABM Maintenance as well as VanShare vans. Metro Transit also developed the Transportation Resource Training program and Residential Transportation Coordinator (RTC) program. The Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) Flexcar program, begun in 2003 under a demonstration grant, is a partnership between King County Metro and Flexcar.
Background/Program History: Metro Transit initiated the Jobs Access Transportation Program in 1996 in response to welfare reform. With a grant from the Washington State Agency Council on Coordinated Transportation, demonstration van programs and commuter bonus programs were implemented. In 1999, a Federal Transit Administration Jobs Access Grant of $740,500 was awarded to implement the current program. During 2004-2005, the Federal Transit Administration awarded $2 million in JARC earmarks to King County Metro Transit and provided $2 million in matching funds.
Innovations and Results: The Jobs Access Van Program, funded by Metro Transit and the Employment Security Department, leases vans to any agency that provides trips for adults to training, job fairs, job search, commuting, shift work, childcare, and employment activities.
In partnership with Hopelink, Metro Transit has implemented the Residential Transportation Coordinator (RTC) program, which trains multilingual individuals to help their neighbors find transportation solutions and services. RTCs serve as the primary community resource for information about alternatives to driving and/or car ownership and transportation strategies to attend training and access employment. RTCs are located in Hope VI affordable housing homes and are fluent in languages other than English. These individuals offer peer-to-peer counseling to residents in their neighborhoods, helping them understand the transportation services available to them. RTCs help bridge language and cultural barriers for immigrants and refugees in the King County area. Because they are from the area, RTCs are motivated to contribute and are well connected within their communities. RTCs are hired as contractors to Hopelink and earn up to $599 annually.
The JARC Flexcar program deploys cars at various training, affordable housing, community college, and community agency sites. Department of Social and Human Services and Employment Security Department staff use the cars to send Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients on job searches, interviews, and training. At-risk youth in the U.S. Department of Labor funded Youthbuild Program also receive transportation to GED preparation and testing and on-the-job construction learning sites, including Seattle Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity. The program emphasizes the role that car sharing can play in helping low-income individuals who are seeking employment, education, training, or other services associated with gaining employment. In addition, Metro operates the Domestic Violence Transportation program, supported by Washington State Department of Transportation Paratransit funds, which uses taxis to transport victims to advocates.
Metro uses JARC funds to support training through its Transportation Resources program, including the 2.5-hour Transportation Resources Workshop that provides information about available transportation resources. Workshops are coordinated through public agencies, nonprofits, and social service organizations. Participants receive training using the Transportation Resources Index, Metro's Web-based customer information system. The Web site was created for use by social service agencies, One Stops, housing authorities, community service agencies, and individuals and averages 1,700 hits per month. A companion Transportation Resources Training Program was developed in 2004 to provide training for employment, human services, community service, and housing support agency staff on how to access transportation resources for their clients. The program provides information additionally through job fairs sponsored by agencies such as Port Jobs, Welcome Wagon kits provided through Neighborhood House in housing authority sites, and information about transportation alternatives provided through Solid Ground as part of the Working Wheels Program.
Funding: Funding for the Jobs Access Van Program generally includes coordination of the funding match from various partner agencies.
Partnerships: The Jobs Access Committee consists of senior staff from the Department of Social and Health Services Work First, Employment Security Department, Seattle Jobs Initiative, King County Jobs Initiative, Seattle Housing Authority, King County Housing Authority, Community and Technical Colleges, Seattle Public Schools, Port Jobs, WorkForce Development Council, King County Welfare to Work, Washington Works, Urban League, and Sound Transit.
Tips to Implementation: By coordinating transportation resources and services, as well as educating staff who work with low-income individuals, the Jobs Access Transportation Program has assisted many individuals.
Keys to Success:
- Coordination of services through partnerships among Metro, the Department of Social and Health Services, and the WorkForce Development Council.
- Coordination takes patience and time.
The following tools are associated with King County Jobs Access Transportation Program. Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about these tools.
Transportation Options Workshop Binder
A guide to transportation resources.
Program Documents and Forms
A variety of program documents and forms, including the RTC Client Assistance Form, Commuter Voucher Log, and Monthly Reimbursement Forms.
Transportation Resources Index, King County Metro Transit's Web-based customer information system: http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/tri/tri-main.html