Community Transit to award surplus vans to non-profits

Aug 11, 2014
Courtesy of: Community Transit Kids Place Early Learning Center of Darrington was awarded a Van GO van in 2012.

Community Transit would like to help people in the community get around more easily, without waiting for a bus.

The agency is awarding up to 10 12-passenger vans to Snohomish County non-profit organizations as part of its Van GO program. The vehicles will help groups meet community transportation needs at a cost they can afford.

“Not everyone can rely on the bus to get them where they need to go, especially if they have a group of people they need to take to a specific destination,” said Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor, who started the program in 2000.

“Van GO helps fill that niche, and gives second life to vehicles that have already served a very useful purpose.”

The 12-passenger vans have been recently retired from Community Transit’s vanpool fleet. They are 2006 Ford Econoline vehicles with about 100,000 miles on them, and well maintained by the agency. These vans are not equipped with wheelchair lifts.

Under state law, surplus public agency vehicles are typically sent to auction to help recoup the public investment. These vans might net the agency a couple thousand dollars.

In 2000, Community Transit had to cut a third of its bus service after the state eliminated the motor vehicle excise tax, which provided about a third of the agency’s funding.

Eleanor asked the state Legislature for authority to grant surplus vehicles to community non-profits to make up for the transportation shortfall.

Since 2000, Community Transit has granted 106 vans and paratransit minibuses through the Van GO program. The program has since been replicated at other agencies in Washington and throughout the country.

There will be a pre-application workshop at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, in the Community Transit Board Room for groups interested in applying for one of the vans. Applications are due by Sept. 26. The vans will be awarded at the Nov. 6 Community Transit Board of Directors meeting.

Van GO eligibility

Vehicles are awarded to non-profit organizations and agencies with 501(c)3 status that primarily serve residents of the Community Transit service area. This includes all incorporated cities and towns in Snohomish County with the exception of Everett, as well as the Tulalip Reservation and portions of unincorporated Snohomish County.

Questions about eligibility should be directed to vango@commtrans.org or 425-438-6136.

Applications and more details about the Van GO program are available at www.communitytransit.org/vango.

Organizations that are awarded vehicles typically benefit many people from all over Snohomish County, including seniors, youth, families, the homeless and the disabled.

-Edited by Beacon staff

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