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Community Connections Starts Route Service in Rural Pierce County

Pierce County has expanded transportation services in Sumner and Bonney Lake for seniors, disabled and low-income riders.

Noticed some new white shuttle vans in town with 'Local Motion' written in blue font along the side?

If you're a Sumner or Bonney Lake senior, low-income and/or disabled, you could possibly ride these vehicles for free to access out-of-area transportation, jobs, shopping, medical appointments and more seven days a week.

Sumner city leaders and Pierce County Community Connections had earlier this year discussed this pilot transportation system for city residents now that Pierce Transit is no longer an option, and on Friday, March 1, the program began in Sumner.

Sumner Councilmember Nancy Dumas, who introduced the idea during a study session with Randy Hynek in January, commented during Monday night's meeting that it was much like a business 'soft launch': operations are not yet smooth but she advocated patience as kinks are worked out.

Similarly, as users test the routes, if something doesn't work, "we have the flexibility to tweak and massage things as they go on," she said.

Currently, the service is available to connect qualified Sumner residents to Pierce Transit in Puyallup as well as the downtown shopping area and a Bonney Lake route up State Route 410 via a loop. Shuttles run on the hour Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Up on the Plateau, the Bonney Lake circular route connects riders from Walmart, around to Rhododendron Park and the Prairie Ridge Community Center and back to the commercial strip on State Route 410. The Bonney Lake route follows the same hours.

Dumas noted that while eligibility to use the service had in the past been more stringent, parameters have lightened up so residents in need of this service are asked to call 2-1-1 to learn more and complete an eligibility screening.

Dumas said she spent about two hours Friday riding the shuttles to test their usability and concluded, as an 'East Coast mass transit girl,' "it was a great experience for me."

For more information plus routes and schedules, visit Pierce County Community Connections online

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