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STA FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

General

Spokane Transit Authority (STA) is a municipal corporation formed in 1981 when the region’s voters approved the establishment of a Public Transportation Benefit Area (PTBA). The regional board of Directors is primarily composed of elected officials from the jurisdictions within the PTBA, including Spokane County. Specifically, there are nine voting elected officials, two ex-officio elected officials from area small cities, and one non-voting labor representative.

The Chief Executive Officer, E. Susan Meyer, oversees the day-to-day operations of STA’s Fixed Route bus service, Paratransit demand/response van service and the Vanpool program.

STA employs approximately 560 individuals, working out of four STA-owned locations in the Spokane region. The majority of these employees are vehicle operators and maintenance personnel.

The 2017 fleet:

      Fixed Route Bus
      Diesel Buses (99)
      60 and 61-Foot Articulated Diesel Buses (20)
      Hybrid Buses (28)

      Paratransit
      Lift-Equipped Vans (112 – includes vans contracted through MV)

      Vanpool
      Vans (105)

The Board of Directors provides legislative direction for STA and its administrators and approves its policies, budgets and long-term plans. The Board has the authority to levy sales taxes with voter approval up to 0.9%. In 2016, after more than 35 years at the effective rate of 0.6%, voters approved a phased-in 0.2% increase to bring STA’s funding rate to 0.8% by 2019.

Each city’s governing body and the Spokane County Commissioners appoint elected officials to serve on the STA Board.

STA employs approximately 560 individuals. The fixed route bus division accounts for 71% of the employees. Sixteen percent work in Paratransit and Vanpool and 13% of STA’s employees are in administrative positions.

E. Susan Meyer has been the Chief Executive Officer of Spokane Transit since June 2005.

Approximately 84% of Spokane Transit’s employees are represented by unions. Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1015, is the largest union and represents fixed route bus drivers, mechanics, facility workers, customer service and some clerical positions.

AFSCME, Local 3939, represents all Paratransit operating positions.

Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1598, represents fixed route and Paratransit supervisors.

Click here to view STA’s estimated operating budget.

Yes, service to the airport is available on Route #60. To view the full schedule click here.

Customer Service

509-328-RIDE (7433), TTY WA Relay 711

The Plaza, First Floor
701 West Riverside Avenue
Spokane, WA 99201

 

Ombudsman and Accessibility Officer

ombudsman@spokanetransit.com
(509) 325-6094 – voice
TTY WA Relay 711

 

Paratransit Service

509-328-1552, TTY 327-6055

 

Vanpool Program

509-326-POOL (7665), TTY WA Relay 711

 

Administration

West 1230 Boone Avenue
Spokane, WA 99201
509-325-6000

COVID-19

Follow the guidance from Spokane Regional Health District to help prevent the spread of coronavirus at their website covid.srhd.org and follow the directives of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at tsa.gov/coronavirus.

STA provides Personal Protection Equipment to employees, safety barriers on buses, and provides safety information from the Spokane Regional Health District about ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

STA Employees can all the COVID-19 Employee Message Line to ask questions, share concerns or make suggestions.

STA Employee Message Line: 509-343-1679

Human Resources Email: HR@spokanetransit.com

Fares & Passes

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Routes

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Buses

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Paratransit

Paratransit is a wheelchair-accessible shared ride transportation service for individuals whose disability prevents them from using the regular fixed route buses. This means that a person must be unable, because of a disability, to get to or from the bus stop, get on or off a lift or ramp equipped bus, or successfully travel by bus to or from the destination. To find out more, download the Paratransit Eligibility Brochure.

Eligibility is based on limitations to an individual’s abilities, not just the presence of a disability. Age or the inability to drive are not qualifying factors in and of themselves. All of Spokane Transit’s regular buses are fully accessible and equipped with ramps in order to board passengers who use wheelchairs.

If your trip begins early in the morning or ends late at night, ask the Paratransit Reservationists to help you identify the corresponding pick-up/drop-off times that will most closely meet your travel needs. Call 509-328-1552 for trip reservations.

Please note that your reservation times also will depend on the length of your trip. Paratransit hours of service are comparable to the bus routes hours of service, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Holiday service is the same as Sunday service. Learn more here.

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Use your smart phone to receive real time arrival and departure times for Paratransit rides. Get signed up with Pass Web.

Spokane Transit provides a Paratransit Rider Handbook with all the information our paratransit passengers need. View the handbook online or request a hard copy from us at 509-328-1552 or by sending us a message here.

Paratransit users may now cancel a trip up to ONE (1) hour before your scheduled pick-up time. Please continue to make trip cancellations as far in advance as possible by calling 509-328-1552.

An application for service is required. The application includes a section for verification of your disability from a licensed medical or mental health professional.

It is necessary to complete an application form if you wish to use the paratransit vans. You may obtain an application here, by calling 509-328-1552 or by writing to:

Paratransit Applications
Spokane Transit
Paratransit
1230 W Boone Avenue
Spokane, WA 99201

An applicant will receive an eligibility determination within 21 days of completing the eligibility process. Recertification of eligibility will occur periodically.

Single-ride fare for paratransit is $2.00 each way. Paratransit customers are welcome to schedule a guest (or guests if space is available) to bring on a trip. Each guest also pays $2.00 each way. Paratransit customers may register to bring a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) on a trip. PCAs ride free. A Monthly Pass for Paratransit may be purchased for $60.00.

Riders can pay the fare using cash, a Monthly Pass, a PT Oneride card or a Smart Card (STA’s Reduced Fare 31-Day Passes are not valid as Partransit fare). Passes can be purchased in person, at the STA online store or by mail. For information about the different fare options currently available, visit here or call the customer service department at 456-7277 or TTY: Relay 711.

Click the link to view a map of the current Paratransit Service Area. Spokane Transit Paratransit service is only provided inside the Paratransit Service Area. If you are unsure if your current address is inside the Service Area, call 509-325-6052 for information. Paratransit eligibility is not based on your address. Even if your current residence is outside the Service Area, you may still meet the eligibility requirements for Paratransit. You would be able to use Paratransit for all eligible trips that begin and end within the Service Area.

All Paratransit trips must begin and end within the Paratransit Service Area. At present, this includes most of the areas in the cities of Cheney, Medical Lake, Airway Heights, Liberty Lake, Millwood, Spokane, and Spokane Valley. Fairchild Air Force Base and Spokane International Airport also are served.

The Paratransit service area is comparable to the area served by the regular, fixed-route bus system and conforms to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The service area is a corridor whose width extends ¾ of a mile on each side of and around each fixed route. However, the Paratransit service area never extends beyond Spokane Transit’s official boundary – the Public Transportation Benefit Area.

Each year, Spokane Transit evaluates the regular fixed-route service and makes changes. Changes that increase or decrease the areas served by the fixed-route buses will be mirrored by changes to the Paratransit service area. Hours of service may change only when the hours of fixed route service increase or decrease.

Vanpool

What is a Vanpool? It’s Your Commute. Only Better.

Vanpool is just like carpooling, but with a few more people. Using a Spokane Transit 7, 12 or 15-passenger van, a group of people who live and work in approximately the same area are able to commute together to save money. STA vans are assigned to commuter groups and driven by volunteers who share the commute. The volunteer drivers are trained by Spokane Transit on defensive driving and safety. All services and costs are wrapped up into one low monthly fare.

Did you know Spokane Transit Vanpools cater to longer distance commutes; 20, 40 mile, even 100 plus miles daily? Vanpool serves eastern Washington and northern Idaho, as long as the van starts or ends in Spokane Transit boundaries.

Now you’ve made your commute on a Vanpool and you need to run an errand. No worries; upon request, Spokane Transit provides each vanpool participant a bus pass.

Benefits of Vanpool:

  • You travel direct to and from work.
  • You sit in a comfortable seat and forget about other drivers and traffic.
  • You are free to read, work, text, even sleep.
  • You may obtain a smart card bus pass for use on any bus route.
  • Registration for a smart card is available here.
  • Your employer may pay all or part of the cost.
  • There is no long-term commitment.

Call Spokane Transit Vanpool at 509-326-POOL or complete the [Contact Form]

Welcome to Vanpool!

We are excited to hear you are interested in riding with Vanpool. A Vanpool is a group of 3 or more people that commute to work together in our vehicle. It’s a great way to relax and save big!

Joining is Simple:

Find a Vanpool Group to Join

The best way to find a group is to use www.CommuteFinderNW.com to enter your commute information and search for Vanpools. If we have existing groups that match your commute, you will see a list with their route, schedule, and contact information.

If a Vanpool match is not currently available for your commute, you can start your own Vanpool! You’ll need 3 people total to start, and you can try using the carpool search to generate leads and gauge interest.

Contact the Driver

Contact the group through www.CommuteFinderNW.com to confirm they have space on their van and are able to accommodate an extra passenger. Inform them of where you work and if you’ll require an extra stop to be made.

The driver will let you know where the van meets and what time you’ll need to arrive by to meet the van.

Submit a Rider Agreement to STA

Complete and submit the rider agreement online, or download the Rider Agreement Form and email to STAVanpool@SpokaneTransit.com.

If you have questions or need assistance in this process, please call us at (509) 326-POOL or by email at STAVanpool@SpokaneTransit.com.

Many essential workers in our community rely on public transportation to get to work. Spokane Transit Vanpool is continuing to offer commuter services while maintaining temporary emergency practices to promote rider safety.

Face Coverings Required by Federal Mandate:

  • Face coverings are required at all times while riding in an STA Vanpool vehicle.
  • Face coverings must completely cover your nose and mouth, must have two or more layers of breathable fabric, and must fit snugly against the sides of your face without gaps.
  • The Vanpool Office has complimentary face coverings available to registered participants upon request.
  • For full CDC guidelines visit here.

Vanpool has enacted the following protocols to fight the spread of COVID-19:

  • The minimum rider requirement has been lowered from five participants per van to two participants in order to provide additional space for social distancing.
  • Vanpool groups may split into multiple vans to reduce the number of riders per vehicle.
  • Disinfectant wipes are available upon request to help riders can keep van surfaces clean.
  • Deep cleaning and full vehicle sanitization are available upon request.

For the latest information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov. Spokane Regional Health District has posted answers to frequently asked questions about face coverings here, and you can find more information about Spokane Transit’s COVID-19 response here.

The monthly fare is determined based on where your vanpool starts and ends:

  • $60 a month if your commute is within Spokane County
  • $80 a month if your commute includes Kootenai or Stevens County
  • $100 a month if your commute is in any other county

Fares cover all costs, including fuel, maintenance, 24-hour roadside assistance, insurance, and snow tires. Ask your human resources department or Employee Transportation Coordinator if your employer provides a fare subsidy for public transit!

Vanpool fares are due on the first of the month and can be paid online at www.commutefindernw.com or by check mailed to STA at 1230 W. Boone Ave. Upon request, active vanpool participants are entitled to a complimentary smart card bus pass for use on any STA bus, anytime!

Forming or joining a Vanpool can be accomplished in three easy steps:

  • Find at least two and up to 14 other people who share a similar commute.
  • Choose a primary driver and at least one back-up. You’ll also need a bookkeeper to submit monthly ridership and payment reports. Any rider, including drivers, can be the group bookkeeper or the group contact.
  • Decide on a proposed route, pick-up points and schedule.

Complete a Vanpool Request Form

We hear you want to drive a Vanpool, how Vantastic!

Vanpool drivers are volunteers from the Vanpool group. We wouldn’t be able to operate without you! Each group requires a minimum of two drivers, one primary, and at least one backup. Ideally, multiple drivers can share the duty so the group can have a great, stress-free commute.

Becoming a driver is fairly simple. You will submit a driver’s application, a copy of your driver’s license, and your driving record. We will then review your application, if your record is clean and you meet our driver guidelines, we will assign you an online defensive driving course that takes about an hour and a half to complete. Finally, you’ll agree to our policies and procedures, then be approved to drive off in your cool Vanpool van!

To get started, follow these steps:

1. Complete and submit the following forms:

2. Request a copy of your driving record:

  • For Washington residents, you’ll need to request a copy through the Department of Licensing. For instructions, please download this PDF.
  • If you have an Idaho license, we can obtain your driving record for you, please contact STA and move to the next step.

3. Scan or snap a photo of your driver’s license

4. Once you’ve completed these steps, send the documents to STAVanpool@SpokaneTransit.com and let us know you’d like to be a driver. We will work through the rest of the process with you by email.

Below is a list of available documents and links for vanpool riders, drivers and bookkeepers.

All Participants

  • Vanpool Program Manual [PDF]

Bookkeeper

Riders

Drivers

  • How to request your Washington State driving record [PDF]
    Idaho drivers should contact STA Vanpool
  • Driver Guidelines [PDF]
  • Driver Application [PDF version for download]

If more pre-paid envelopes are needed, please email STAVanpool@spokanetransit.com and include the mailing address you wish to have us mail the envelopes to.

Q. How much do riders pay?
A. Monthly fares are $60, $80, or $100 per person depending on where the vanpool starts and end its commute. Vanpool fares are paid in advance on a monthly basis and are due to Spokane Transit on the first of the month. Vanpool fares are paid on-line or by check to the van group bookkeeper for submission to STA.

Q. Do vanpools pick up riders at their front door?
A. The route and schedule for each vanpool are decided by the group. Some vans go door-to-door, but most vanpools establish one or two convenient pick-up points.

Q. What happens to the vanpool group when the driver is sick, on vacation or has to work late?
A. Each vanpool group should have at least two approved back-up drivers who can take over in the event that the primary driver is unavailable.

Q. What happens when a rider is sick or on vacation?
A. Payment of the monthly fare reserves your seat whether you ride or not. Riders do not receive a refund for missed days. If a rider is planning a vacation, the rider can sublet the seat to a temporary rider from the vanpool waiting list.

Q. What about insurance coverage?
A. Spokane Transit purchases its insurance coverage through the Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP).

Q. If I work a compressed schedule, can I still join a vanpool?
A. Yes. Many of our vanpool groups operate on a 4/10 or 9/80 compressed work-week schedule.

Q. Who is responsible for routine maintenance of the van?
A. Maintenance is a joint effort between the vanpool group and Spokane Transit. The primary driver completes daily, weekly and monthly inspections and all riders should report anything unusual. Spokane Transit’s Maintenance Department performs the van’s routine preventive service every 4,000 miles and handles emergencies as they arise.

Q. Where can a vanpool travel?
A. Vanpool is specifically designed to accommodate commuters who are coming from or going to a destination outside of the Spokane Transit bus routes. This is not to say that vanpool cannot operate if buses are available. Sometimes a vanpool group needs to commute at times or in a route that is incompatible with the current bus schedule. Vanpool groups must either start in the Spokane Transit bus boundaries, or terminate in it.

Q. I am a member of a vanpool and I have an emergency, what do I do?
A. Vanpool participants who use vanpool as their primary commute option are eligible to receive a free Smart Card Bus Pass that can be used on all STA buses. Vanpoolers may use this card for emergency trips from work, run errands during the workday, get to a vanpool pickup point, or complete a commute when the vanpool drops them off.  Many employers offer a guaranteed rider home for vanpoolers.

Contact Spokane Transit Vanpool

OFFICE ADDRESS:
Spokane Transit
1212 W. Sharp Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201

MAILING ADDRESS: (for payments or form submitting)
Ride Share
Spokane Transit
1230 W Boone Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201-9901

PHONE NUMBER:
(509) 326-POOL (7665)

FAX NUMBER:
(509) 232-6784

CONTACT US ONLINE

In 1993, Spokane County implemented the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Law (RCW 70.94.521-5 5 1) to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and petroleum consumption through employer-based programs that encourage the use of alternatives to driving alone.

The Spokane County CTR program, Commute Smart NW, works with employers throughout Spokane County to reduce trips by encouraging employees to use commute alternatives to work. If you do not work for a company that has a Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program, you can still be part of the movement to help reduce air pollution, traffic congestion and fuel consumption… all benefiting our environment and community.

CommuteSmartNW.org has a lot of great information about the benefits of using commute alternatives including carpooling, bicycling, walking, riding the bus, vanpooling, working from home and compressing your work schedule. If you register at www.CommuteSmartNW.org and fill out your commute calendar, you will be eligible for prizes each month! The calendar will also give you stats on how you are making a difference including miles not driven, air pollution not emitted and cost savings.

Thank you in advance for making the choice to travel green by using a commute alternative and for helping the Commute Smart NW Office track how many trips are saved every day. Your efforts make a difference!

OFFICE ADDRESS:
Spokane Transit
1212 W. Sharp Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201

MAILING ADDRESS: (for payments or form submitting)
Ride Share
Spokane Transit
1230 W Boone Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201-9901

PHONE NUMBER:
(509) 326-POOL (7665)

FAX NUMBER:
(509) 232-6784

EMAIL ADDRESS:
STAVanpool@spokanetransit.com

Vanpool participants who use vanpool as their primary commute option are eligible to receive a free Smart Card Bus Pass that can be used on all STA buses. Vanpoolers may use this card for emergency trips from work, run errands during the workday, get to a vanpool pickup point, or complete a commute when the vanpool drops them off.  Many employers offer a guaranteed rider home for vanpoolers.

Yes. Many of our vanpool groups operate on a 4/10 or 9/80 compressed work-week schedule.

Spokane Transit purchases its insurance coverage through the Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP).

Payment of the monthly fare reserves your seat whether you ride or not. Riders do not receive a refund for missed days. If a rider is planning a vacation, the rider can sublet the seat to a temporary rider from the vanpool waiting list.

Each vanpool group should have at least two approved back-up drivers who can take over in the event that the primary driver is unavailable.

The route and schedule for each vanpool are decided by the group. Some vans go door-to-door, but most vanpools establish one or two convenient pick-up points.

Monthly fares are $60, $80, or $100 per person depending on where the vanpool starts and end its commute. Vanpool fares are paid in advance on a monthly basis and are due to Spokane Transit on the first of the month. Vanpool fares are paid on-line or by check to the van group bookkeeper for submission to STA.

Agency Information

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