Sponsor spotlight: Zip Alderwood Shuttle bridges transit gaps for older adults  

Many people rely on public transit for flexible, affordable, and accessible trip options. In Lynnwood, where people aged 65 and older make up more than 17% of the population, public transit serves as a vital means of transportation for older adults.

However, for some older adults, the biggest challenge in accessing transit is the first and last leg of their trips. Long distances to and from bus stops and paths that are hard to walk on or aren’t wheelchair- or walker-friendly are just some of the barriers people face.

In the Alderwood area, Zip Alderwood Shuttle from Community Transit addresses these transportation gaps. Launched in October 2022 as a one-year pilot project, significant community support has since helped to make Zip a regular service.

Zip is an on-demand shared ride service similar to popular rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, offering travel anywhere within the Alderwood service area. Unlike other rideshare services, Zip riders never pay more than the local bus fare ($2.50 or less). And with an ORCA pass, riders can enjoy even greater savings. Reduced fares are available for riders aged 65 and older, riders with disabilities, Medicare cardholders, and people from low-income households. People who qualify for reduced fares only pay $1.25 per trip with their ORCA pass and youth 18 and younger ride for free. Finally, there are no added service fees or tipping with Zip.

Zip has been a vital resource for Lynnwood resident Jackie Green. Green moved to the area about two years ago to live near her adult daughter, leaving her car with family members back in Texas.

“I haven’t missed having a car thanks to Zip. I take it to the Lynnwood Senior Center several times each week,” says Green. “On Mondays for Bingo, Tuesdays for coloring club, and Wednesday to play Mexican Train with my friends. I take Zip to get groceries, to get my prescriptions at the pharmacy, and to the theater. Zip connects me to all of the places I need to get to each week.”

Before discovering Zip, Green was using Uber to get around.

“It cost me around $10 per trip with Uber. With Zip, I only pay a dollar and a quarter with my Senior ORCA Card. Plus, I only pay once if I take more than one trip within two hours,” she says.

Booking a ride via phone or app is easy. Riders can book a ride via phone by calling 425-521-5600 or by downloading the “GOIN’ – Rides for All” app. Zip conveniently transports people to various popular destinations and community resources, including medical appointments, grocery stores, the Lynnwood Senior Center, and other retail and entertainment spots. Similar to other Community Transit and ride-sharing services, riders may share their trip with other passengers.

“When I say ‘Zip shuttle’ people sometimes picture a big passenger van with lots of riders” says Green. “I tell people it’s not like that. Sometimes it’s a car, sometimes it’s a van, but they’re always clean, nice and new. I have only shared a ride with other riders twice and it was a great experience each time.”

Zip offers ADA accessible vehicles for those who request them, and trained drivers assist in securing wheelchairs and other mobility devices when needed.

Zip also makes it easier for people to connect to other transit options beyond the Alderwood area, including bus routes at Lynnwood Transit Center and the Swift Orange and Blue lines. People will have access to even more destinations when the Lynnwood Link Extension opens at the Lynnwood Transit Center on Aug. 30.

“I recommend Zip to everyone,” says Green. “It’s easy and the drivers are so friendly. I know every driver by name since I ride so regularly,” she says. “They tell me I’m their favorite customer, but they probably say that to everyone,” she says with a laugh.

For older adults interested in learning more about local transit options, visit communitytransit.org/seniortravel. For in-person assistance, the Community Transit Ride Store is located across from the Ash Way Park & Ride in Lynnwood.

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