Johnson County looking to Expand MicroTransit as Demand Grows

Johnson County leaders are looking to reduce bus routes with low ridership and expand other parts of the public transportation system — including the Uber-like microtransit system, which officials say has been growing in popularity each month. Fixed route service could be cut by 10 percent, with those dollars being reallocated to higher traffic routes.  The expansion of the microtranist system is seen as a possible part of the future solution by encouraging more young workers and families to turn to public transportation, which some argue could help reduce traffic congestion.

“The reason I’ve advocated more for the microtransit … is to find out where people are and where they want to get to, and then start shifting back into a way where fixed routes would be more appropriate,” Commissioner Steven Klika said last month. “Is using microtransit the best way to do it? I don’t know. But we’ve tried so many different things, I think we have to keep looking at what our citizens in Johnson County want.”

Here are the proposed changes:

▪ 401 Metcalf-Plaza: The route, with around 244 daily riders, would be modified. Service to Prairiefire, at 137th Street and Nall Avenue, would be discontinued. Instead, the route would alternate between Johnson County Community College and Rosana Square. Officials said the change allows for the addition of midday and evening service to the college. Plus, trips will be added to extend the peak travel times in the morning and evening.

▪ 402 Johnson-Quivira: The route, with fewer than 70 riders each day, would be eliminated.

▪ 403 Antioch-Olathe: The number of trips operating on the route would be reduced. The portion of the route in downtown Kansas City would be modified to serve the new East Village Transit Center at 12th and Charlotte streets. Direct service to Crown Center and Union Station would be discontinued.

▪ 475 Quivira-75th Street: The route would be extended to 75th Street and Prospect Avenue, to serve the new Alphapointe Transit Center in Kansas City and connect to Prospect MAX. Trips would be added to the route to achieve a consistent schedule of 30-minute intervals during peak hours. Service to the University of Kansas Edwards Campus would be discontinued.

▪ 495 95th Street: The route would be eliminated due to lower ridership and redundancies with other services.

▪ 595 Gardner-OP Express: Service to Edgerton and Logistics Park Kansas City would be discontinued due to low ridership.

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