Thursday, Jan. 17 2013 12:30PM
LS bus route ridership grows
City Council to review contract renewals
By Russ Pulley
Ridership continues to grow for bus service between Lee’s Summit and downtown Kansas City.
The route had an average of 242 riders a day in 2012 (through November), compared to 234 in 2011 and 210 in 2010, according to the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.
Lee’s Summit contracts with KCATA for the Lee’s Summit MetroFlex Circulator (which provides two buses for on-demand curb service in the central part of town) and the Metro Route 152 which provides round-trip buses to Kansas City. The Lee’s Summit City Council’s Public Works Committee reviewed contract renewals for the services at its Jan. 15 and recommended approval. The contracts are to be considered by the full council Jan. 24.
About 80 percent of the service costs are covered by federal funds, state grants and fares, but there is match required from the city which is funded through the city’s transportation sales tax, said Michael Park, city traffic engineer.
The MetroFlex route costs nearly $250,000 and the downtown route slightly more than $400,000.
The city match will cost $76,012, an increase of about 5 percent ($3,948) over last year and the match for the downtown route will be $82,785 (an increase of $745).
Councilmember Bob Johnson said he liked the service, and moved that the committee recommend approval of the program to the full council.
The KCATA announced Jan. 15 that 2012 Metro ridership exceeded 16.1 million trips, the second highest in two decades. Ridership was up 3.6 percent over 2011, a 9.5 percent increase over the last two years.
“Kansas City is seeing a growing tide of transit ridership,” said KCATA General Manager Mark Huffer in a written statement. “The community’s appetite for more transportation options is helping drive dialogue about how transit should evolve and grow in the region.”
The agency said in 2012 it began a package of budget-neutral changes to make the system more user-friendly and efficient, affecting the Main ST. MAX , Troost MAX and most Metro routes south of the Missouri River in Kansas City. Changes for the Northland will come in 2013.
Lee’s Summit’s routes weren’t included in those changes.
KCATA said that along with service improvements other factors boosted ridership, including volatile gas prices and more riders going to work as the economy improves. Also Spring 2012 was the end of the first full academic year students using UMKC student identification to ride metro service, making more than 1,000 trips every week day.
People who’d like to use the Metro can call 816-221-0660, call center hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. week days, or go to: www.kcata.org.