In 2022, ECOSS and King County Metro partnered to support people who have been disproportionately affected and severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by rebuilding engagement in public transportation. We developed a plan to raise awareness of and incentivize public transportation options to communities throughout the King Country Metro service area. ECOSS worked with Villa Comunitaria and Cham Refugees Community to prioritize outreach to multilingual and immigrant communities, people in low-income households, and cash-paying riders. By spring of 2023, we distributed over 450 ORCA cards, collaborated with 14 community partners, and supported community members with public transportation resources.

This project allowed us to provide education about ORCA cards and encourage use of public transportation to immigrant and refugee communities, particularly Vietnamese, Cham, East African, and Spanish-speaking communities. By showing up and bringing support directly to these communities at ethnic grocery stores, religious centers, food banks, and community centers, this work demonstrated the importance of providing information in-language and building relationship with key community stakeholders. We also learned a lot from hearing these communities’ feedback regarding barriers and challenges to using public transit.