Community Transit is auctioning off some old DART and paratransit vans on March 20th:

The auction will include 13 El Dorado 14-passenger mini-buses, as well as three 15-passenger vans and one eight-passenger van. The El Dorados are equipped with wheelchair lifts. Two of the El Dorados are not in running condition. All the vehicles are retired from Community Transit’s DART paratransit and vanpool fleet.

With Sen. Haugen apparently hellbent on granting private operators full access to public transit facilities, you could set up a service!

In a coincidence, longtime readers may recognize this as the same place I sold my car, and where (full disclosure) my mother-in-law works part-time and I know the owner a bit.

*No, not really.

20 Replies to “A New Business Opportunity for You*”

  1. I wonder how much it would cost to set up a dial-a-ride system to operate out of Aurora Village, Lynnwood and Everett?

  2. Insuring a small van probally not much, a full coach with liability is about 9k/yr though. Also 4 ex PT Orion 1s are going up for sale too, 3 of which were on the LINK-AIRPORT shuttle. Own your own piece of history, and enjoy all the benfits of bus ownership too!

  3. Or start your own Bellevue Airporter service. Serve downtown Bellevue Hotels with door to door service! Go for the El Dorado, and you’ll have the wheelchair lift. Charge lower than the taxis, get a couple people to drive and man a desk at the airport and you’ll be in business

    1. Just have them use the airport phones and you won’t have to staff someone at a desk. Then your dispatcher could sit in their bedroom.

  4. I think I’m going to help Adam get his CDL and operate a Aurora-Lynnwood-Everett via SR 99 service

    :::giggle::: (yeah I wish I could afford one of those buses)

    1. I don’t know if that is such a bad idea. Get one of the paratransit vans and charge $5 a ride…

    2. That makes me wish Swift served Lynnwood TC, or that a BRT line ran between Lynnwood and downtown Edmonds with a station near an existing Swift station.

      1. A new Swift line between the ferry/Sounder along 196th to Lynnwood TC makes so much sense it’s not even funny. You’d place the stations on 196th in front of Safeway and Trader Joes – it’d be fantastic. Even just a normal bus route, anything.

      2. The closest we have to that is the 115/116 which runs along 200th instead of 196th. The routes are identical between Edmonds and Lynnwood TC, and are fairly direct.

  5. People transporting wheelchair and scooter users in wheelchair lift equipped vans without any training or certification happens more often than you think. And is VERY dangerous.

    1. I’d also venture a guess that most van operators (being hotels, airport car parks, medicare/medicaid transportation vendors, etc.) also operate vans (small cutaway buses on van chassis) that seat under 15 to avoid having to have drivers hold a CDL while operating the vehicle.

      I know a lot of them have to register with the state, however i dont know what safety and maintance standards they are held to beyond state law and contractural ones. I dont know if the cutaway vans are eligible for CVSA inspections becuase they are under 26,000 lbs.

      Being a CDL holder, it’s kinda bothersome when you see people skirt the CDL laws like that for vehicles that are in revenue service.

      1. CDL laws are designed to assure people driving large trucks (buses) are capable of handling these heavy vehicles with long stopping distances, large turn radius and huge overhangs. It doesn’t matter if you’re hauling people or 50,000 pounds of bananas. But, you still have to have a chauffeurs license to drive a limo or airport shuttle. Somehow, Metro van pools seem to have skirted this issue.

      2. Yes, but regular people can buy the same models of vans Metro’s van pools use and drive them around as their vehicle, loaded with people or otherwise.

      3. the Chaffeurs License only covers limousine services, and is more of a background/insurance/business license type chek than an actual driving skills exaimination.

      4. And your point is? A chauffeurs license won’t let you drive a bus. My standard drivers license allows me to drive a van or hay truck which could potentially endanger the public. Yet I have to pay extra to maintain my unlimited motorcycle endorsement which primarily only endangers me.

  6. Your main problem with private transit will probably be maintenance- which will include upkeep on a heavily-used vehicle, and also backup vehicles to maintain service in case of a breakdown.

    As mentioned above, unless you plan to be your own sole driver, you’ll have to pay and train people well enough to ensure quality.

    There’s a reason transit usually ends up public: subsidies and fares can cover costs- but not profits. With very hard work at all hours, and huge liabilities.

    One thing I’d like to see tried: employee-owned non-profit transit cooperatives. Works in many countries. Still, over time, like fire departments and sewer districts, transit works best being public.

    Mark Dublin

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