Education Series focuses on Innovative thought in transit on Nov. 8

Innovative thought in transit beyond just the smart phone was the focus of discussion at the latest installment of the MPTA Educational Series on Nov. 8 at the OATS headquarters in Columbia, MO.   MPTA’s Thinking Outside the Ridership Box: Building Ridership for Missouri’s Transit System hosted a panel of experts in Missouri working to build new partnerships, incorporate new technologies and expand services to build ridership on transit systems.

MPTA Executive Director Kim Cella welcoming participants to Nov. 8 MPTA event.

OATS Executive Director Dorothy Yeager kicked off the event, “The landscape of transportation is changing and we ne

OATS Executive Director talks about role of transit in rural areas and collaborations happening across MO.
OATS Executive Director talks about role of transit in rural areas and collaborations happening across MO.

ed to change with  it.”  OATS is continuing to tweak its service to meet the needs in the communities across MO including the formation of the Tri County Transit in the Camdenton area.  “We are not proud, we will work with any community and brand our vehicles with their logos. We want Missouri Communities to take ownership in the transit in their areas,” said Yeager.

The panel featured the following participants:

  • Jameson Auten, Chief of Regional Service Delivery and Innovations, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA)
  • Dorothy Yeager, Executive Director, OATS
  • Josh Lambert, Business Retail Sales Executive, and Matt Madura, Sr. Business Rental Sales Executive with Enterprise.

Other programs discussed included KCATA’s new Ride KC Freedom on-demand taxi-transit collaboration, the KCATA VEterans Ride Free Program, Enterprise’s new products including Zimride and Carshare. The KCATA Veterans Ride Free Program is a collaboration between the AFL-CIO and KCATA.   Since its inception in July, more than 500,000 rides have been given to Veterans in the Kansas City area for free.

KCATA has a continuous open door policy for companies to submit ideas to improve service. These ideas are vetted inhouse, and if determined that they could potentially improve service, a pilot study is potentially undertaken.  Auten stressed that many of the system improvements have been through collaboration including the private sector.  “Innovative thought in the transit industry does not require a smart phone,” said Auten