(Kansas City, Mo. – January 15, 2012) The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) has announced that 2012 Metro ridership exceeded 16.1 million trips, the second highest annual ridership in nearly two decades. Ridership last year was up 3.6% over 2011, representing a 9.5% increase over the last two years.
“Kansas City is seeing a growing tide of transit ridership,” said KCATA General Manager Mark Huffer. “The community’s appetite for more transportation options is helping to drive dialogue about how transit should evolve and grow in the region.”
In 2012, KCATA began implementing a comprehensive package of budget-neutral changes to make the system more user-friendly and efficient.
Main St. MAX, Troost MAX and most Metro routes south of the Missouri River in Kansas City, Mo., were changed in 2012. KCATA will make the final changes, affecting routes in the Northland, in the spring and summer of 2013. The changes are the result of a Comprehensive Service Analysis, or CSA, which examined all bus routes in Kansas City, Mo.
In addition to service improvements, other factors have boosted ridership. As the economy recovers, more people in Kansas City were riding transit to get to work. The number of people riding The Metro to seek jobs has gone down, while the number of people riding The Metro to work has risen.
Spring 2012 marked the end of the first full academic year that students could use their valid UMKC student ID to ride Metro service. UMKC students were making more than 1,000 trips every weekday. The majority of these were on the Troost MAX Green Line and the Main St. MAX Orange Line.
Another factor raising ridership levels was the volatile gas prices throughout the year. While gas prices have dropped for now, they peaked at $3.93/gallon in April and averaged $3.60 for the year. (Source: AAA)
The Metro hosted several How-To-Ride Clinics during the spring to educate new riders. Prospective customers learned how to plan a trip, how to pay a fare or use a pass, and how to get on and off a bus. People also learned about online tools, such as Google Trip Planner and WebWatch, a real-time bus tracker.
People who want to join the growing ranks of Metro riders can visit http://www.kcata.org, or call the Regional Call Center at (816) 221-0660. The center’s hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays.