Proposed RideKC changes would reduce service on certain Johnson County routes

Part of the rationale behind the changes is to improve connections at the Mission transit center.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is making changes to RideKC bus schedules in Johnson County.

Shawn Strate, planning manager for KCATA, said the public transit agency has proposed a series of concepts to “adjust and improve routes throughout the Johnson County system.”

“This is a comprehensive service analysis, so we’ve taken a look at the entire system within Johnson County,” Strate said, adding that the changes will be cost neutral. “Some routes will see less service; some routes will see more service.”

Strate said some of these schedule changes will reduce the bus route frequency from every half hour to every hour. Others will increase route frequencies throughout the day.

One of KCATA’s goals, for instance, was to improve connections of Mission Transit Center, a hub for many routes in Johnson County, he said, adding that KCATA is also focusing service more on Johnson County Community College, an area of “high ridership and area of growth opportunity.”

“We’re finding out that the timing of the routes that go there aren’t working out as well as they could,” Strate said, “so we’re looking to kind of streamline the schedules at that location and make those transfers work better.”

A full list of changes can be found on its website, but here are some of the major changes that will affect bus riders in northeast Johnson County:

  • Bus 475, which runs along 75th Street and Quivira Road, would be changed to run hourly during peak periods and midday, instead of every 35 minutes during peak periods and every 70 minutes during midday. Bus 475 would also extend east to Prospect Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., to connect with the future Prospect MAX, which begins service in late 2019.
  • Bus 403, which runs from Walmart near K-7 Highway to downtown Kansas City, Mo., via Antioch Road, would no longer offer service between Johnson County Community College and downtown Olathe. The new Olathe Connector would instead connect the college and Santa Fe Walmart via Strang Line Road and downtown Olathe. All 403 trips would run between JCCC and downtown KCMO. The route would operate hourly all day, instead of every half hour during peak times only.
  • Bus 405, which runs from West 107th Street and Nall Avenue in Overland Park to downtown Kansas City, Mo., would be eliminated “due to low ridership.”

Strate said these proposed changes are based on ridership data collected from daily operations by route and trip.

“What we don’t have on a daily basis is the exact stops that people are getting on and off the bus, and we don’t really have the technical capacity on our vehicles, currently, to do that within the Johnson County service,” he said.

As a result, KCATA staff manually collected bus stop data by traveling each bus route one time during a few weeks in September 2017.

Strate said changes are posted online and on flyers on buses. KCATA is accepting public input until the end of October. The agency also accepted public comments at five meetings throughout the county, the last of which took place Oct. 17.

After Oct. 31, KCATA staff will go through public input on the concepts and then make adjustments to the actual bus schedules. Strate said KCATA anticipates posting those detailed schedule changes sometime in January “so that everyone can see the exact time and how they might be impacted.”

Submit comments online at surveymonkey.com/r/ridekcjoco, by email at planning@kcata.org or by phone at 816-346-0300 until Oct. 31.

Actual changes to the bus route schedules will take place in April 2019.