Improved bus service begins in April

rpulley@lsjournal.comJanuary 13, 2017 

In the spring, Lee’s Summit residents who need a ride to Truman Medical Center-Lakewood can use an improved on-demand bus service to reach the hospital.

The addition of the hospital as an allowed destination was included in contracts approved Jan. 5 last week by the City Council with the Kansas City Area Transit Authority and the OATS Inc. transportation service.

Councilman Rob Binney noted the mission to improve the bus service began several years ago by former Councilman Brian Whitley. The service within the city now involves OATS Inc., and also bringing a bus from Kansas City that serves a limited area.

The contracts the council approved with the Transit Authority and OATS total about $950,000,with about $675,000 coming from grants, federal and state funds.

The new plan, following recommendations of a study by the Transit Authority, expands OATS and drops the Metroflex program, but that regional agency will continue commuter bus service to downtown Kansas City.

“We’re actually reducing the cost to the city and provides more transportation,” Binney said. “It’s available to anyone who calls it and it’s a lot more flexible than the old system.”

Currently the Metroflex service of the Kansas City Area Transit Authority operates in the Lee’s Summit downtown area, with OATS servicing clients in the outer ring of the city.

Michael Park, city engineer, said the target date to being expanded service is April 1.

In April, residents citywide will be able to call OATS Inc. to get pickups scheduled from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to a destination of their choice within Lee’s Summit, with a one-way fee of $1.50, said Michael Park, city traffic engineer.

For more information on OATS Inc. go to: http://www.oatstransit.org

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