Snoqualmie Valley Transportation
PO Box 806
1308 Boalch Ave NW
North Bend, WA 98045
June 1, 2022
Using public transportation isn’t always easy, even for regular riders who rely on it. There’s no one system that covers the state, or even the county, so getting from Address A in Carnation to Address B in Seattle, or even Address C in Bellingham means piecing together the scheduling information from several transportation companies to build a route you can use.
“It’s a patchwork of services,” says Snoqualmie Valley Transportation Executive Director Amy Biggs, “including buses, ferries, streetcars, vanpools, light rail, volunteer programs, special needs services, rural services, and services just for seniors, all operating in different areas with different rules. And there’s no unified or easy way for riders to find all the routing information they need.”
“To make matters more complicated, we each use different kinds of routing software, and our routing programs don’t even talk to each other,” Biggs added.
Not yet, they don’t, but Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is working on a project to encode route information from Snoqualmie Valley Transportation (SVT) and other transit services, into General Transit Feed Specification, or GTFS, for use by routing programs and apps such as Google Maps.
“GTFS, as I understand it, is the language spoken by all of the transit apps that are available on people’s computers, tablets and cell phones,” said Biggs. She noted that, of all the local services offered by SVT, only the Valley Shuttle and Duvall-Monroe Shuttle routes are currently shown in Google Maps.
WSDOT sought and received funding for the work and has contracted Trillium to work with the transit services throughout the state on the project.
“We are thrilled to help and have already been contacted by Trillium. The first phase of this project is to get our demand responsive, or door-to-door, service areas created,” said Biggs. “That’s where Trillium is using something called ‘GTFS Flex,’ to define areas that have service and provide a brief description of that service. After that we will be able to get all the local circulator routes translated as well.”
Once the data is collected, combined and encoded, in a process that will take a year or more, it will be available to riders looking for the best way to get between two points on the map.
Happening at the same time is another project. Hopelink’s Find a Ride program made a great start at putting information in one place. The popular website, www.findaride.org, is a place where King County riders can find options for taking a trip. So, while WSDOT is getting providers’ services into the same language, Hopelink has received funding to create a “one-call/one-click” program to make it easier for riders to create a trip plan.
Biggs, who sits on the advisory committee of the new Hopelink project, said, “It will be like a search engine for transportation; a one-stop-shop for getting from here to there. The important part is that there will be a human component so people can call a person to help them with their trip plan.” She explained that this is important because many people may need help with translation services, visual or audio assistance or have limited access to technology.
Biggs is looking forward to the results of both the WSDOT and the Hopelink projects. “Connecting people to information in this way will make it easier for people to get around and we are proud to be a part of these efforts on behalf of the riders of Snoqualmie Valley,” she said.
About Snoqualmie Valley Transportation: Snoqualmie Valley Transportation (SVT), is the primary bus system serving Snoqualmie Valley. Funded by King County Metro Transit, Snoqualmie Tribe, WSDOT, and donations, SVT provides a variety of local-only bus services, in North Bend, Snoqualmie, Fall City, Carnation, Duvall and Monroe. More information about Snoqualmie Valley Transportation can be found on at: http://svtbus.org or by calling 425-888-7001.