By Julie Muhlstein Herald Writer
EVERETT — They’re 15 years old, but still on the road. Three Everett Transit paratransit vans will soon be donated to local organizations that give rides to people in Snohomish County.
Churches, day-care centers, public agencies, senior centers and other groups have until April 8 to submit applications to get a van through a new Everett Transit program called Vantastic!
The ElDorado National brand vans, built on a Ford chassis, are accessible in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. They each carry 11 seat-belted passengers and can accommodate two more people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices. Each is equipped with a heavy-duty wheelchair lift.
Everett Transit Director Tom Hingson said the agency is retiring the vans, “the oldest vehicles in our fleet,” and will buy five new ones. The agency has four other minivans, “but we’re finding we need the larger vehicles more often,” he said.
Normally, Hingson said, retired vehicles are sold at auction. “We get a very nominal amount of money for auction vehicles,” he said. Although they are too old with mileage too high for Everett Transit’s daily schedules, he said the three vans will work for lighter use with proper maintenance. “We’ll use them up to the day we get rid of them,” he said.
According to the application form, the vans are each valued at less than $5,000 each, fit within requirements of Everett’s City Surplus Ordinance, and will be donated “as is.” Recipients will see all maintenance records.
Criteria in the competitive application process include showing a demonstrated need, explaining how rides are currently handled, and estimating the number of annual trips a van would provide.
“We’ve already gotten dozens of calls of interest,” said Kate Reardon, spokeswoman for the city. She expects “pretty heavy competition” for the vans.
Applications for the Vantastic! program, due by 4 p.m. April 8, are available at www.EverettTransit.org or by calling 425-257-7777.