The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) and three area school districts have announced a new Student Pass Program that will give thousands of ninth through 12th graders free, unlimited access to public transportation throughout the region.
The partnership between KCATA, Kansas City Public Schools, Hickman Mills C-1 School District and Center Public School District is a one-year pilot, designed to enhance current school bus transportation and allow students to connect to opportunities for jobs, internships and extra-curricular activities outside of regular school hours.
“The KCATA is committed to breaking down barriers to learning and accessing jobs for our kids,” said Robbie Makinen, KCATA President and CEO. “Students will be able to attend school sporting events and get to jobs or tutoring without the expense of a car or relying on a parent for a ride.”
Missouri State Senator, Shalonn “KiKi” Curls, said the program will help students connect with academic and after-school programs they may not otherwise get to experience.
“We know there are students who want to get involved in after-school activities that will help them to be successful in their goal to graduate,” said Senator Curls. “This unique program knocks down one of the barriers that has kept many scholars from participating because now they will have easier access to transportation to get to those school activities and educational opportunities.”
Dr. Mark Bedell, Superintendent Kansas City Public Schools, believes the initiative will provide students with greater academic and professional opportunities.
“This is a terrific partnership between the schools and the KCATA,” said Dr. Bedell. “We are hoping more students can participate in tutoring, internships, accessing libraries and more.”
The Student Pass Program will enhance the transportation service currently offered to students to get to and from school for classes.
“I have lived in Janesville, Wisconsin where partnerships like this enhanced the school system transportation options. This one is definitely a good thing!” said Dr. Yolanda Cargile, Superintendent Hickman Mills C-1 School District. “I am excited about this opportunity, as it is one that is extremely beneficial for our students.”
Center School District is proud to be a part of the pilot and has already seen how the program can help students.
“We are beyond thrilled that the partnership with KCATA will serve our students by removing barriers and providing new transportation alternatives,” said Dr. Sharon Nibbelink, Superintendent of Center School District. “This will not only teach our students important life skills, but also provides access to internships and employment opportunities.”
Cheerleaders, a mascot and a drum line from the participating schools will bring a pep rally flair to the news conference and help get students “fired-up” to get on board with RideKC to access the entire region.
For more information regarding RideKC service, please visit RideKC.org.