Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) is set to launch the second of three new services with early 2019 start dates with the introduction of Tri-Cities General Demand service on Feb. 4. The service, for which customers can make reservations beginning Monday, Jan. 28, is similar to that launched in Finley earlier this month and already in place in Benton City and Prosser.
Formerly provided under a contracted service called “Taxi Feeder,” the new Tri-Cities General Demand service will provide customers in areas of Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, and West Richland with pre-scheduled pickups at designated stop locations in each city. From one of these designated BFT General Demand stops, customers will be picked up within a scheduled window of time and taken to one of several connection points to access the BFT bus system (list of pickup and drop-off points available at www.bft.org/NewPlaces).
Return trips work the same way, with scheduled pickups from one of the designated connection points and drop-offs at a Tri-Cities General Demand stop. All General Demand trips will require advance scheduling. Customers can start making reservations for Tri-Cities General Demand service at 8 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 28 for rides beginning Monday, Feb. 4.
How to Make Reservations
Reservations must be made at least one day, or up to seven days, before the ride is needed by calling (toll-free) 877.646.4287 Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday rides must be scheduled by 5 p.m. the prior Friday.
Monday thru Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last pickups scheduled for 7:30 p.m.)
Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last pickups scheduled for 6:30 p.m.)
These hours will be extended to 10 p.m. Monday thru Saturday, with last pickups scheduled for 9:30 p.m., when the BFT bus network and Dial-A-Ride hours are extended on Mar. 11.
The cost to use the Tri-Cities General Demand Service will be $1 or $3 (for premium distance) each way plus any applicable bus fare when transferring to a BFT bus route. Alternatively, a BFT Freedom pass, which costs $50 per month, may also be used as it covers unlimited use of all BFT services.
The new Tri-Cities General Demand service is the second of three measures approved by the BFT Board of Directors on Nov. 26, 2018 on an interim basis, following the closure of longtime contracted taxi service provider, Tri-City Taxi (TCT), which announced its immediate closure on Oct. 30, 2018.
Discontinued following the announcement were BFT’s Taxi Feeder Service, Night Service, and Sunday Taxi Service. The Nov. 26 vote approved the introduction of new BFT-operated services on an interim basis while BFT conducts a search for a third-party contractor that could provide one or more of the services in the longer term.
The first of the approved services, Finley General Demand, launched Jan. 2. Both new General Demand services—in Finley and Tri-Cities—will be provided by BFT’s ADA-accessible Dial-A-Ride vehicles and drivers. The third approved service will come Mar. 11 in the form of later operating hours for most BFT bus routes and for Dial-A-Ride services, which will begin operating until 10 p.m. Monday thru Saturday.
For more information about the new service or to purchase a pass, customers may visit www.bft.org/NewPlaces or contact Customer Service at 509.735.5100.
More information about Ben Franklin Transit and its services can be found at www.bft.org.
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