Beginning in the summer of 2021, a new type of transportation service is coming to Lynden, Washington. Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) will introduce the Lynden Hop, an “on-demand” transit van. Using a mobile app, a website, or their phones, Lynden residents will be able to hail a ride on a Lynden Hop van. After requesting their ride, they’ll be picked up by a WTA driver in a WTA van, to be dropped off at their local destination.
The service is open to all Lynden residents, and riders can request a ride anywhere within Lynden, including grocery stores, medical appointments, work or volunteer positions, shopping, recreation, visiting friends, worship services and more.
FTA’s Integrated Mobility Innovations Grant Program
The Lynden Hop is made possible by a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Grant. In 2019, WTA submitted an application for FTA’s Integrated Mobility Innovations Grant Program. The goal of the program is to help transit agencies test innovative solutions to transportation challenges. The funding will allow WTA to test whether on-demand vans can improve access to public transportation in town like Lynden.
Like many agencies that serve both urban areas and small cities, WTA finds the standard offerings of fixed route and paratransit service—which meet people’s needs extremely well in densely populated areas—to be less effective for residents of small cities. If the Lynden Hop is successful, other agencies around the country can replicate it to provide convenient service to their smaller towns.
Lynden Hop and Seniors
Though it will be open to everyone, WTA will reach out especially to seniors, people with disabilities, and people with limited incomes. The cost will be one dollar per ride, and the vans will be wheelchair accessible.
Name Suggestions for New Service
In December, WTA heard from Lynden residents in response to a survey, which helped define the service area boundaries and the hours of operation. Lynden residents were also asked to suggest a name. From creative suggestions like “Vansterdam” and “VanGo,” survey respondents ultimately chose the Lynden Hop.
The Lynden Hop: Where and When?
WTA looks forward to working with senior residences, churches, libraries, schools, the senior center, shopping areas, medical facilities and others to spread the word about this exciting new service.
Though originally scheduled to begin in March, the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has WTA now planning to roll out the Lynden Hop this summer. Community members with questions about the Lynden Hop can call WTA at 360-676-7433.
Maureen McCarthy | Community Relations and Marketing Manager
Whatcom Transportation Authority
4011 Bakerview Spur | Bellingham, WA 98226
p: 360-788-9303 | f: 360-738-7302
See original article at WTA website.