Archive for the ‘Commute Advantage’ Category

For those of you who may be interested in exploring your region or expanding your commute options, purchasing an ORCA (One Regional Card for All) card is a great place to start. For $5, you will receive a reloadable card that can be used to pay your fare when traveling by bus, ferry, rail, train or any combination of those. It is accepted on Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and even Washington State Ferries.

It’s easier than cash (just tap it on the ORCA reader and you’re good to go) and gives you added security, since you can keep the credit on your card, if you register it, even if it’s lost or stolen. Whether you’re exploring for a day or looking to simplify your daily commute year-round, ORCA is a good option for you.

Regional Day Pass

The regional Day Pass is a good choice for anyone who may be visiting the region, and using multiple modes of public transportation or planning to take several trips in a day. When you load your card with the $8 regional pass, you can use it all day for any fare costing less than $3.50. This is the best option for friends or family visiting from out of town to get around without having to worry about parking.

Monthly passes

The amount you pay for your Puget Pass depends on your daily commute. For example. If you live in King County and commute to Bellevue, a Puget Pass will cost $117 and cover all fares below $3.25. Rates start as low as $18 for those who may just want $.50 off each ride and go up to a $360 monthly pass that gives you unlimited use for even the highest fares of $10 each way. This option has the potential to save you A LOT. Check out a detailed price list of monthly Puget Pass and other fares here.

E-Purse Value

For those of you who want the convenience of tapping a card without the commitment of a daily or monthly pass, you can add value to an “E-Purse” that is stored on your card and used like cash to pay your fare. You can use it pay for your whole fare, or in combination with one of the other passes. The minimum value you can add at a time is $5, with a maximum stored value per card of $300. Your fare won’t be discounted, but you will have the ease and security of one card for all your transportation options. We recommend keeping your card loaded with at least $5, since you never know when it might come in handy to pay for a longer, more expensive trip.

Check out the product options to find out the best way for you to ORCA. Need to find out how to get a card, add value, or report yours lost or stolen? This is the best place to start. Want to learn more? Visit our ORCA page or send questions to the info@cywb.org.

Are you new to transit? Take your first rides on us! We’re offering new users free ORCA cards pre-loaded with $25. Simply fill out this request form and we’ll mail one to you!

Choose Your Way Bellevue Staff

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 10:20 AM | by admin | Add a Comment

Hi everyone, I’m that lazy cyclist who recently started with Choose Your Way Bellevue. Now that I have had a chance to get settled in my new “roll” here (get it, it’s a pun) on the west coast, I have learned that there are a bunch of pretty neat and innovative things that the City of Bellevue offers residents and local employees through the Choose Your Way Bellevue program.

Here is the rundown of my top five:

  1. If you are new to transit (have ridden more than 3 times in the past 3 months) we’ll give you a free ORCA card that’s pre-loaded with $25! Just fill out the online form and we’ll mail you a card for free! Did I mention it was free?
  2. This region has more transit related apps than you can shake a stick at. I’m still working my way through the list on our Apps & Technology page, but I’ve found that the OneBusAway app is really helpful!
  3. Want to stay in the loop, at home or on the go? We’ve got a pretty substantial social media presence that is more than just transit alerts and upcoming closures—it’s actually interesting! Check out Choose Your Way Bellevue on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  4. Win prizes, just for logging the commuter trips that you are already taking! We have drawings and monthly rewards that you can earn just by logging eight days of non-drive along travel.  Come on people, that’s only two days a week each month.
  5. Finally, if you’ve been thinking about changing up how you commute, let us know and we’ll actually plan out all your options for you with our custom Commute Plan service. It couldn’t be easier.

Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer, Tim

Tim recently relocated to Bellevue from the east coast where he was with local county government, encouraging people to try bicycling for transportation. Tim has enjoyed experiencing the Seattle region’s bike lanes and trails from his handlebars.

Monday, October 23rd, 2017 9:33 AM | by Tim Kelley | Add a Comment

A South Bellevue Park & Ride Alternative Story

The South Bellevue Park-and-Ride will be closing on May 30th, 2017. We would like to provide those who are affected by this closure some ideas for exploring a new commute, provided through our fictional commuter, “Caffeinated Carey.”.

Caffeinated Carey’s New Morning Commute

Current Route – 23 min from South Bellevue Park-and-Ride to King County Courthouse in Seattle

New Route – 44 minutes from Wilburton Park-and-Ride to King County Courthouse in Seattle

Every morning, I wake up, grab my cup of coffee and hop into my car to start my morning commute to the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. This park-and-ride is usually full, but I can normally find parking if I get there before 8:30 a.m. A few weeks ago, a sign was posted alerting bus commuters that it was going to close for at least five years due to construction of the new East Link light rail station. I was slightly comforted in knowing that the future South Bellevue Station will include bus and paratransit transfer facilities and a 1,500-stall parking garage (almost 1,000 more than current stalls). But all I could think about was what about how my current commute was going to change during those five years.

I figured now is as good a time as any to try my new commute so I could be prepared for the closure when it happens.

I started researching the new park-and-ride lots Sound Transit has secured, as well as those park-and-rides with existing capacity, to help with the displacement of cars from the lot.

Sound Transit’s resources include a web page about the closure and their East Link Replacement Parking Interactive Map.  I located the nearest park-and-ride to me on the interactive map, the Wilburton Park-and-Ride, which is only an additional five-minute drive from the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. This trip did require a transfer, but according to Google Maps, it looked like the best option.

The following morning, I packed everything a few minutes earlier and headed to the new station to catch the 8:04 a.m. King Country Metro 240. Parking was relatively easy, though I made a note to remember the parking lot is much smaller than the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride. I walked about 5 minutes to SE 8th St & 118th Ave SE. I wanted to make sure I head I got on the quickest route, so I used my One Bus Away app that showed me arrival times of neighboring stations and bus stops. This bus then dropped me off a few minutes later at the Eastgate Park-and-Ride where I walked I caught route King Country Metro 212 dropped me off about two blocks away from my destination, and in less than five minutes I was at the Courthouse. Heading back home I had a few options, but I found that taking the Sound Transit 550 gets me faster to Bellevue in the evenings. I exited at the Bellevue Transit Center, and caught the King County Metro 246, or King County Metro 240, whichever came first since both buses travel to the Wilburton Park-and-Ride.

For now, this is a good substitution while I wait for the light rail to come across to the Eastside; and I still have time to grab my morning triple shot latte on ice before jumping on the bus!

-Sincerely, Caffeinated Carey

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To those who can relate to Caffeinated Carey’s story due to the closure of South Bellevue and Park-and-Ride, Choose Your Way Bellevue is here to assist with making the transition to your new commute an easier one. The 550, 555, and 556, 241 and 249 will continue to serve Bellevue Way in front of the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride when it closes. There will not be a park-and-ride in that vicinity; however, I would encourage you to plan ahead and look for an alternative park-and-ride that may work for you. (Note that you may need to transfer buses from your alternative lot in order to get where you need to go.) Or, try sharing the ride!

In fact, your new route may turn out to be faster than your old one. Recently, a commuter discovered that parking at the Newport Hills Park-and-Ride and taking the King County Metro Route 111 was 15 minutes faster than her current commute parking at the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride and taking the Sound Transit 550!

Try checking for a new route from home, rather than the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride; you may be surprised what you find! Some other helpful resources for planning your route include:

If you are having trouble figuring out your new commute, we are here to help! You may request Choose Your Way Bellevue custom commute assistance at any time. Also check out our East Link and Travel Options page for resources and updates.

Stay tuned to our blog for more examples in the future of how people are adjusting their commutes regarding the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride closure.

-Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Sandee

Thursday, May 4th, 2017 4:23 PM | by Sandee Ditt | Add a Comment

Planning of Commute – Anxiety Level 6/10

I would consider myself an intermediate Seattle bus traveler. I used to ride the bus every day to get to work in South Lake Union, or to neighboring areas like Capitol Hill and Queen Anne, but never one to take me across multiple cities. So in regards to intercity public transportation, I’m a novice at best. So the night before my second day at my new job in Bellevue, I decided to map out my path of travel and outline any red flags such as road closures and “what if” scenarios if buses were late. Using this time resting my eyes, meditating, maybe actually having breakfast – sounded a lot more tempting than driving during rush hour to get back home in Seattle. I used every source I could think of: Google Maps, One Bus Away, Metro Trip Planner – anything that could give me a good sense of timing.

Morning of Commute – Anxiety Level 7/10

I found that I could take the bus right outside my door down to the University Street tunnel station and transfer easily to a bus that came about every 8-15 minutes to downtown Bellevue. As I waited, I noticed I didn’t have reception down in the tunnel station. I glanced across the way and saw a sign that said free Wi-Fi on the platform! PERFECT! I quickly logged in and checked my One Bus Away app and notice that my bus was running behind. If I had checked before I could have made it in time for the bus ahead of it, but after getting a little confused with which way to head off of the bus, I just barely missed it. A gentleman next to me mentioned that usually this bus is right on time, so I’ll count today as an anomaly. Once it arrived a few minutes later, the bus was a bit crowded, but I was able to get on. As we were cruising swiftly by traffic on I-90 I realized that we were quickly making up time for the late departure. I arrived at the Bellevue Transit Center and at work a few minutes late, but not bad for a first timer.

Week 2 of Commuting to Bellevue– Anxiety Level 1/10

Two weeks later – When I wake up, I quickly check my One Bus Away (an app a fellow bus rider suggested to me), to see when my bus is arriving, I keep it on hand as it updates regularly and I can easily walk out my door about 2 minutes beforehand. I now have a routine down and can sometimes catch an extra wink or two in the morning due to how consistent my travel time is now into work. The 550 has been on time (give or take 2-3 minutes) every day, and I’ve always scored an open seat.  I’m glad I didn’t let one hiccup deter me from trying the route again, but it comes by so often that even if you do miss a bus, you know the next one is just right around the corner.

Tips:

  • No “Cutsy’s”! –Unspoken protocol for commuters traveling to and from the Eastside, make sure to wait in whatever line is forming for the bus at your platform. When your bus arrives, some may get on, others won’t, just step forward and make sure not to jump ahead of anyone that is getting on the same bus! On day 1, this formal line was a foreign concept to me as it’s usually a free for all on Seattle downtown buses, but I quickly learned that you either get in line, or wait until the end of it to get on.

Overhead space for extra items

  • Have extra bags or books? The Sound Transit buses have overhead space compartments for just those things. Another plus was overhead extra lighting, so make sure to bring that book or set of notes to review!
  • Stand clear of the back doors or they won’t be able to close.
  • Have your fare ready!
  • Also, make sure to enjoy the view!

    View off the I-90 bridge

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Choose Your Way Bellevue Staffer Sandee

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 9:59 AM | by Sandee Ditt | Add a Comment

BIKE_BUS_DSC_0305_nSometimes it is overwhelming to think about all of the travel options available in Bellevue. Sure it might seem easier to just jump in your car and head to your destination stress free. But at Choose Your Way Bellevue, we’re here to help you find an even more stress-free approach! What if we told you that bus stop that sits right across from your house goes directly into Downtown Bellevue? That book you’ve been eyeing for the last month, well now you can pick it up, relax and enjoy it on your ride into the city. Not only that, you’ll be saving yourself some serious bucks and your sanity when you avoid the congestion on the roads.

Whatever your situation, we’re here as your one-stop-shop for all of your traveling resources. Need to figure out which bus stops in your area? Or looking to find someone to fill that last seat in your car? If you’re still not sold, read on for Choose Your Way by the numbers as we break it down for you!

  • 44 bus routes serve Bellevue, which means you have options, allowing you to save money and time!
  • What about the 281 operating vanpools with 2,166 seats traveling to and from Bellevue each day?
  • 48 miles of bike lanes run through Bellevue for your cycling trips. Plus, you can burn some  calories when riding a bike!
  • According to AAA, it costs an average of $8,946 a year in upkeep for your vehicle, while riding a bike is on average $308. Check out this post where we break down the cost of commuting.
  • There are more than 2,000 Bellevue workers and residents currently seeking a carpool partner in On The Move Bellevue. Sign up today to find yours. Looking to fill your car with a third passenger so you can jump on the new I-405 Express Toll Lanes? Create a ridematch trip in your On The Move Bellevue account!
  • 346 miles of sidewalks in and around Bellevue is accessible to those walking to work, the grocery store, the park or other local establishments. Enjoy fresh air and try to get some exercise while you’re out and about!
  • According to the National Safety Council data, it is 170 times safer to ride public transit than a car.
  • 80 miles of parks and trails are in Bellevue for you to explore on your commute or buzz around your neighborhood. Perhaps there is an errand you can run on that bike that is sitting in your garage. Are you in need of an ingredient from the grocery store for your favorite meal? Bike down to the store instead of driving and turn your errands into an opportunity for exercise!
  • 9 Zipcars are available around downtown Bellevue for those unexpected, mid-day meetings in Seattle. Relax on a bus into work and then reserve one of their vehicles for your mid-day client meeting. For Zipcar locations and information on how to join visit here.
  • In a study published by the British Medical Journal men were most likely to be seven pounds lighter than those who don’t take public transportation, while women weighed in at five pounds lighter. All that walking to and from each bus stop really pays off!

Bellevue workers and residents can— for the most part—  travel within city limits with ease. How do you find your way around the city? Are you willing to explore your options? Haven’t made a change to your travel patterns in a while? The possibilities are endless; and the numbers speak for themselves.

Fill out a commute inquiry and we will get back to you with a customized travel plan today.

We’re here to help you at Choose Your Way Bellevue!

-Choose your Way Bellevue Staffer, Jackie

 

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 9:00 PM | by admin | Add a Comment

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