Regional Transit Gains Momentum With Proposal to Manage Independence Transit Service
(Kansas City, Mo. – June 2, 2015) A regional initiative to build a seamless transit network is gaining steam as the Independence City Council considers a proposal to let the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) manage its bus and paratransit system.
The plan, which received first-round approval from the City Council Monday night, would give the KCATA management oversight of the Independence transit service.
The new plan would make it easier for paratransit riders to access public transportation, consolidate call center operations so it will be easier to learn bus schedule details and improve efficiency of service management. The City Council will consider the plan for final approval on June 15. The KCATA Board of Commissioners will consider the proposal June 24.
“We are very grateful to Independence Mayor Ellen Weir and the Independence City Council in banding together with us to build a regional transit service that will provide economic opportunity for everyone from all walks of life,” said KCATA President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Reardon.
“This agreement is just one more way that we can make transit across our region more inviting and simple to use,” Reardon said. “Streamlining operations will not only save taxpayer money, but will help many people who depend on paratransit services for getting around the community.”
Key aspects of the new Independence contract include:
- Independence riders with disabilities who depend on paratransit services would only need to call one number to arrange transportation. Making 1,900 monthly trips, paratransit riders in Independence currently have to keep track of two numbers, one for transit services within Independence, and another for the same services offered elsewhere across the Kansas City region.
- Gaining eligibility for paratransit services will be simpler because Independence riders will now only need to be certified once, regardless of where they’re traveling.
- It will save Independence about $100,000 a year and free up city staff to devote more time to planning and development activities such as zoning, historic preservation, code enforcement and permitting.
- Call centers will now be centralized. Under this proposal, IndeBus riders would call the KCATA’s Regional Call Center to get route, schedule and fare information. The Regional Call Center already provides this type of information for Johnson County Transit, Unified Government Transit, and The Metro. No jobs would be eliminated as the services are streamlined.
- Independence will pay the KCATA $685,000 to manage the city’s transit services and ensure that they are well operated, as well as to provide the city with regional bus connections on Route 24, Independence and Route 15X, Truman Road Express, and paratransit services.
The KCATA last contracted with the city of Independence in 2012 before taking over management of their own transit services. Independence now joins Johnson County in a regional effort to build an interconnected transit network connecting people to economic opportunity. Last December, the KCATA entered into a similar agreement with Johnson County to manage its transit contract. It was the first time in 30 years since Johnson County had been part of the KCATA’s system.