A new bus service, connecting Duvall and Monroe via a 90-minute loop route begins operation on Wednesday Aug. 1. The service will begin with little fanfare, and represents an unprecedented collaboration between city and county governments, human service agencies and transportation providers.
The Duvall-Monroe Shuttle will bridge a longstanding political divide between the communities, less than 10 miles apart on S.R. 203, but separated by the King-Snohomish County line. The journey between the two communities can take more than four hours, three transfers and almost $10 by current public transportation options, but starting Aug. 1 the direct trip will take less than an hour, at a cost of a $1 suggested donation.
Amy Biggs, Executive Director of the North Bend-based Snoqualmie Valley Transportation (SVT) that will operate the shuttle for the new route, marveled at how short the distance was, but how long it had taken riders to get to their jobs, classes and medical appointments.
“It was like the old saying, ‘You can’t get there from here,’ such a short distance that just couldn’t be crossed, for no apparent reason,” Biggs said in a press release.
She also praised the cities and county on their collaboration to address the problem.
“That’s huge…the cities and counties working with each other on this collaborative effort,” she said.
Starting at 8 a.m. from Brown Avenue NE and Richardson in Duvall, the shuttle service will carry passengers to stops in Monroe at the S. Lewis Street Park, N. Kelsey Street and Galaxy Way, the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, YMCA, and Monroe Community Senior Center, before looping back to S. Lewis Street Park and then back to Duvall. The entire route takes approximately 90 minutes.
“People in Duvall will finally be able to get to the big box stores in Monroe as well as two hospitals, dialysis and some great parks that Monroe has. And the folks in Monroe will be able to get to the shopping and restaurants and parks in Duvall, and all without a car,” Biggs said in a press release.
The bus is ADA accessible and equipped with bike racks. Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult to ride the bus. Fares for the Duvall-Monroe Shuttle are a $1 suggested donation per rider. Riders arriving in Duvall can then use the Valley Shuttle, operated by SVT to get to other destinations in the valley, including Carnation, Fall City, Snoqualmie and North Bend.
A community event to celebrate the launch of the new service is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 17. Celebrations with speakers, prizes and games are scheduled at 10:30 a.m. at the Duvall stop, and 11:30 a.m. at the Monroe YMCA.
The Duvall-Monroe Shuttle is one of the first projects of the Snoqualmie Valley Transportation Coalition, a joint venture of Hopelink, Snoqualmie Valley Transportation, Easterseals, King County Metro Transit’s Community Access Transportation program, the Snoqualmie Tribe and the valley cities of Monroe, Duvall, Carnation, Snoqualmie and North Bend. The coalition, funded by an Easterseals grant, formed in the fall of 2017 to improve public transportation options in the Snoqualmie Valley.