Transit Action Network (TAN)

Advocates for Improved and Expanded Transit in the Kansas City Region.

Transit Talk May 14 Transit Equity Issues In Our KC Region – 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 13, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMLou Austin, Chairman of 3 Trails Village CID, and Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network discuss Transit Equity issues in the Kansas City region.

When: Thursday, May 14 from 9 am -10 am

Where: ”Tell Somebody” on 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

Listen to the Podcast. Transit Talk is the last 15 minutes. Starts at 44:54

RadioActive Magazine hosts are filling in for Tom Klammer this week with a magazine show. TAN’s Transit Talk is one of the segments.

We discuss areas of concern over Mid-America Regional Council’s Long-Term Transportation Plan, Transportation Outlook 2040, which covers equity, transit access to jobs, and Environmental Justice issues.

Posted in Local Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Transit Updates – Day Pass, RideKC and Real-Time Information

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 30, 2015


KCATA

  1. Starting May 1, a Regional Transit Day Pass will take effect. For $3 you can ride local buses on all four transit systems. This pass includes all the non-Commuter Express buses in the region. All UGT and IndeBus routes, Max, non-commuter express routes on the METRO and 3 routes on the JO, which includes #575/#875 75th St-Quivira, #556/#856 Metcalf Plaza CONNEX and #672 Downtown Midday.  In addition, the 3 day visitor pass will be available on the same routes. More info: KCATA Bulletin 
  2. The regional transit website RIDEKC.org is operating although it is still in development. Bookmark this site, because it will become the go to site for regional trip planning in the near future.
  3. KCATA partnered with Google to provide real-time transit information to its riders. Metro and MAX real-time departures on Google Maps (maps.google.com) and Google Maps for Mobile. More info: KCATA Bulletin

Posted in Local Transit Issues | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Transit Talk April 28 – Transit Vision and Safety With KCATA CEO Joe Reardon and VP Sam Desue

Posted by Transit Action Network on April 27, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMJoe Reardon has been on the job as the new CEO of KCATA for one month. What is his vision for our regional transit system? What direction will he take KCATA?

Also, just how safe is riding the METRO? Joe and Sam Desue, VP of Bus Operations, will talk about the safety precautions KCATA takes to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable ride, as well as what riders can do in case there is a problem.

Some large transit agencies experience 3 to 4 incidents a day. Of the 16 million transit trips last year on KCATA buses, there were only 95 incidents, so problems are rare.

Listen to podcast

Join host Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network to find our more.

When: Tuesday, April 28 at 6 pm

Where: RadioActive Magazine on 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

Link to KKFI.org for live streaming

Posted in Events, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Transit Talk Mar 31 – Prospect MAX, RideKC and Re-Designing Downtown Transit on 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 30, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMWhat happened to Prospect MAX after the streetcar extension vote failed? What is RideKC? Why are we re-designing the flow of transit downtown?MAX brt

Host Janet Rogers speaks with Cindy Baker, KCATA Vice-President of Communications and Dick Jarrold, KCATA Vice President of Regional Planning and Development about these important regional transit issues.

LISTEN TO PODCAST

  • When: Tuesday March 31 at 6 pm
  • Where: KKFI 90.1 FM Community Radio, Radio Active Magazine

    Downtown Streetcar is using the RideKC brand and the streetcar icon

    Downtown Streetcar is using the RideKC brand and the streetcar icon

  1. Get the latest update on Prospect MAX. Funding for this project was linked with the streetcar extension last year. This project is very important to the east side of Kansas City and needs to go forward without the streetcar. The Prospect BRT Advisory Committee has been reformed and planning continues, but are we getting closer to a Prospect MAX as a stand-alone project? Prospect MAX visuals
  2. RideKC is the new regional logo for all things transit in the whole region. TAN has advocated for a regional brand for years. This new brand is the first major step in creating a regional transit system. Find out about the new regional transit brand. KCATA Board Approves RideKC brand
  3. Downtown is getting a transit make-over. What are the proposed changes and how they will affect you? Downtown Service Improvement Concept

DT_Transit_021115Join us Tuesday at 6pm on 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio.

Posted in Events, Local Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Lots of Changes Needed To The KCMO Transit Budget!

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 25, 2015


Kansas_City_STARMike Hendricks’ article in the KC STAR last Saturday about the city’s new “Rumor” page, shows that the city is so desperate to divert the bus money that it will mis-represent a city ordinance to spin its position. The city does not want to re-calculate the bus payment from the ½ percent sales tax on the proceeds for the year. Hendricks, like anyone else, can read the ordinance and see the bus funding is not based on a year old estimate, which is wrong by $4M, but on the proceeds for the year. http://bit.ly/1CGgEe6

We want to clarify that this issue is not about KCATA, but the city’s integrity and honesty in how it deals with voters, taxpayer’s money and obeying city law.  We should not need an ordinance for the city to honor its promise to voters to build a bigger better bus system. The city’s promise provided the bus system with 7/8 percent sales tax, if voters agreed to pay an additional 3/8 percent to supplement the 1/2 percent sales tax. However, we got the city to pass the ordinance when it was caught diverting large sums of money away from the bus system. It seems the city is struggling to break that habit, even with a city law. Taxpayers don’t like bait and switch especially when it concerns their hard-earned cash. If KCATA doesn’t get the money, then we don’t get the bus service we were promised. We are paying the 7/8 percent in sales taxes but the city isn’t giving all the money to the bus system.

KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundSince the city council is voting March 26th on the new budget, let’s look at all the problems we are aware of in both this year’s actual expenditures and the Submitted Budget. Get the Submitted Budget FY15-16

Public Mass Transportation Fund (1/2 percent sales tax) PAGE 382

Fiscal year 2014-2015 actual expenditures

1. We want the budget department to calculate the final payments for the bus system for this fiscal year based on the formula in Ordinance 130796 for the actual PROCEEDS for this year. The payments are not based on the budget, which was estimated a year ago and ended up being significantly underestimated. Revenue going up an unexpected 13% is great, and if the budget department had budgeted correctly last year, KCATA would already be receiving the correct amount. Based on the year-end estimated figures and the ordinance formula for net receipts, KCATA should receive over $29 million this year but the report shows they are only going to receive $25 million. KCATA is only receiving 81% of the net receipts and 68% of the gross receipts. That is a long way from the 95% of net receipts stated in the ordinance. The city should not disobey the law or change it to avoid paying the bus system the appropriate amount of money.

We are concerned about facts, and this is not a rumor. The city has not dealt with why they aren’t re-calculating the payment to the bus system for FY14-15.  They talk about doing the adopted budget right last year, which is irrelevant now, or they talk about the Submitted Budget for next year, or they talk about the 3/8 percent sales tax when this problem is with the 1/2 percent sales tax. So far there is total avoidance of the real issue.

This fiscal year isn’t over until April 30th and it takes the city about 2 months to close the books. During that time it is easy and a normal accounting procedure to make these types of adjustments for the payment to KCATA based the net sales tax proceeds generated for this year.

2. The ordinance says the downtown streetcar subsidy “shall not exceed $2,039,000” The city is transferring $2,068,000 to the streetcar. This amount is wrong and should be corrected.

At this point Kansas City is not honoring its promise to voters, distributing the sales tax as taxpayers believe their taxes are being spent, or obeying the law as passed in Ordinance 130796.

Fiscal year 2015-2016 Submitted Budget

1. Obviously there will be significant changes to the amounts budgeted for Public Works and the transfer to the General Fund for Street Maintenance if corrections are made to Fiscal Year 2014-2015. Nevertheless, we have to deal with what is currently on the report.

  • We have several concerns about the $2 million transfer to the General Fund.
    • According to state law this money can only be used on transportation projects. When money is transferred to the General Fund it loses its audit trail as transportation money.
    • The budget director says this money is transferred to the Street Maintenance Fund. There is a transfer from General Fund to Street Maintenance for $15.7 million, so the state mandated requirement appears lost for the $2 million. This transfer should have been made directly from the Public Mass Transportation Fund to Street Maintenance Fund page 387. The budget shouldn’t be a scavenger hunt for the money. This two-step transaction looks like the city is trying to hide the fact that additional money from the bus funding is going to street maintenance. Of course, this money probably shouldn’t come out of the bus funding to start with.
  • The budget director said this $2 million for Street Maintenance is for street re-paving, including re-paving the streets for the streetcar work. Obviously the streets need to be re-paved along the streetcar construction line, but this re-paving should be charged to the Streetcar Fund, page 387 in the budget, and not the Public Mass Transportation Fund, which funds the buses. Basic Accounting 101 requires billing to the correct account for the work done. The correct account should be charged.

2. Using the ordinance formula for net receipts, the amount budgeted for KCATA is too low by $350,000 in the Submitted Budget.  The formula should be calculated correctly, with transparency, each year. Any attempts to do otherwise will only be seen as an attempt to subvert the ordinance. KCATA can receive at least 95% of the adjusted receipts, but not less. If the proceeds are more next year, then the payment needs to be adjusted upwards. This amount needs to be corrected.

The City Manager has said that the budgeted amount will be the minimum KCATA will receive. That is why he has a reserve in the account. We agree with that process but the reserve should only be about $1.5 million.

3. The ordinance says the streetcar shall receive no more than $2,039,000, but the budget has $2,069,000. The ordinance clearly states a fixed maximum amount, so this line item needs to be corrected.

KCATA Sales Tax Fund (3/8 percent sales tax) PAGE 368

Fiscal year 2015-2016

This Fund handles the 3/8 percent sales tax and the receipts are dedicated 100% to KCATA by voters. We appreciate that the city is going to transfer the excess money that has accumulated in this account to KCATA. It is about $3 million.

We will know the outcome of the budget deliberations tomorrow, Thursday March 26.

Previous posts on this topic:

KSHB41 TV Reporter Lexi Sutter Understands The Bus Funding Problem includes a list of the amounts of money diverted from the bus system since 2003.

Speak Up! Why is Kansas City Giving Transit Money To Public Works, AGAIN? includes calculations of bus payments based on the ordinance

Posted in Local Transit Issues | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Attend Transit Stakeholder Forum March 19

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 17, 2015


KCATAMARC and KCATA are holding the next Transit Stakeholder Forum on March 19.

When: Thursday, March 19 @ 5–6:30 p.m.
Where: Mid-America Regional Councilmarclogo
600 Broadway, Suite 200, Kansas City, MO 64105

Agenda items:

Review feedback received at the last meeting and online for “the future of SmartMoves”

Goals of the long-range transit vision update and RideKC Workforce Connex, the TIGER VI planning project that proposes to increase the access to employment by transit over the next ten years, will be presented. Forum participants will provide feedback on the direction of this work. Your feedback will be used to develop the final scope of work to be carried out by qualified consultants.

Open dialogue with transit providers about current transit issues that participants would like to address

Please join the conversation!Transit_Stakeholder_Fourm-2

Metro Routes: www.kcata.org
The JO Routes: http://www.jocogov.org/dept/transit/home
“The Transit Stakeholder Forum is a public meeting where you can provide input for the Regional Transit Coordinating Council — a committee that advises MARC, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and local transit partners and jurisdictions on issues such as regional transit planning, priorities, coordination and implementation.”

Posted in Events, Local Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

KSHB41 TV Reporter Lexi Sutter Understands The Bus Funding Problem

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 14, 2015


 

KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundKSHB41 TV Lexi Sutter’s investigative reporting on the bus funding for the current fiscal year makes the right points, but the city keeps talking about the next budget instead of this year.  http://m.kshb.com/1KU607o

Why won’t Kansas City give the buses 95% of the proceeds from the 1/2 percent transportation sales tax for 2014-2015? The city says it used the Ordinance 130796 formula correctly in last year’s budget. But the buses get 95% of the proceeds from the sales tax, not the estimated budget! The estimated budget, which projected revenue a year ago, ended up being 13% too low and amounts to over a $4.2 million difference. The city isn’t explaining why they haven’t re-calculated the bus money using the correct number. Assuming the city calculates the correct amount for this year, then KCATA will receive sufficient payment to fully cover the cost of the bus service and it won’t have to use its reserve account to maintain the bus system this year. In the submitted budget, KCATA won’t have to use its reserves next year either.

Read Ordinance 130796  http://cityclerk.kcmo.org/LiveWeb/Documents/Document.aspx?q=zT%2b9oP6Cj23recZFOqoSsx7Who34WMwvQMLTybnkidgfyTXyiaO8cwN9vsqsA1HT

Please contact the City Council and the Mayor and tell them that you voted to pay higher sales taxes for a bigger and better bus system. You want your sales taxes spent as they promised.

The final Finance Committee meeting on the budget is at 8:30 am next Wednesday, the 18th, 10th floor, City Hall. You can also send an email or call the City Council and Mayor

Here are the basic points to be made.
1 This current fiscal year, 2014-2015, the city needs to honor its commitment to voters and taxpayers and obey ordinance 130796, and give the buses 95% of the actual proceeds from the Public Mass Transportation Sales Tax, as calculated in the ordinance.
2 The ordinance does NOT limit the bus money to the estimated budget amount from last year, that is WRONG and everyone knows it. Calculate the right amount based on the actual tax receipts.
3 Not adjusting to the actual dollars is a violation of the law.
4 The budgeted revenue for 2014-2015 was 13% too low. The buses shouldn’t suffer because the budget was terribly wrong. If the budget department had estimated the correct amount last year, then the buses would be getting the right amount of money to start with. So they should get the additional money NOW. It is normal to adjust to the actual dollars
5 Stop trying to ignore this violation of the law by changing the subject to the submitted budget for next year, 2015-2016.

Ask any official you talk to or email if they will commit to making sure the bus system gets the correct amount of money this year based on the ordinance. You can find the email addresses and phone numbers for the city officials at KCMO.gov

These numbers do not include the 2% Administrative fee or TIF

These numbers do not include the 2% Administrative fee or TIF

We wish the city would stop playing games with taxpayers money. People desperately need a bigger and better bus system and a large majority of people voted for extra taxes to get just that. The first vote for the additional 3/8 percent sales tax was in 2003.  Here is a chart of how much money has been used for purposes other than the buses from the 1/2 percent transportation sales tax since that first vote, despite promises from the city. The bus system is not receiving 7/8 percent in sales taxes.

It is a very sad comment on city government that we felt an ordinance was needed to get the city to honor its commitments to voters. It shouldn’t be needed but you can see for yourself what they have been doing. This was the first year the full 95% of the sales tax was supposed to kick in and the city is still trying to get out of it by keeping $6 million to give away next year.

See our previous post with more detail.  Speak Up! Why is Kansas City Giving Transit Money To Public Works, AGAIN?

 

Posted in Action, Local Transit Issues | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Speak Up! Why is Kansas City Giving Transit Money To Public Works, AGAIN?

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 20, 2015


KCdesignsipadkcbackgroundGood and bad transit news exists in the KCMO budget submitted for 2015-2016, but the bottom line is that over $4.2 million in sales tax revenue that should go to KCATA in the current fiscal year, 2014-2015, is being diverted to Public Works in the Submitted Budget for 2015-2016. Public Mass Transportation Fund_2015-2016

Since 2010 Kansas City ordinances say starting in 2014 the city would give KCATA at least 95% of the proceeds from the ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax (Public Mass Transportation Fund) less 2% Administrative fee, TIF and, more recently, $2,039,000 for the downtown streetcar. To us, if KCATA gets a minimum of 95% that means Public Works can only get a maximum of 5%. Any additional money has to go to KCATA. Current ordinance 130796  (KCATA has instituted cost savings)KCATA

Our request to the city council as it deliberates the budget is, “Please enforce transit ordinance 130796 this year, 2014-2015. When sales tax revenue increases over the budgeted amount, then KCATA’s pass thorough payment should be adjusted using the actual proceeds. KCATA should be receiving the windfall from the increase in sales tax revenue. If the original budget number for sales tax revenue had been closer to the actual amount, then KCATA would be getting this money. So why not now? Instead the city manager thinks that Public Works should get the difference. That doesn’t even make sense. Please, don’t let more than $4 million be diverted from transit.”

Transit Action Network plans to testify at both public hearings. Please consider letting the council know what you think about this diversion of transit money to Public Works.

Public Meetings:

  •  Saturday, Feb. 21 | 9:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m., Regional Police Academy, 6885 N.E. Pleasant Valley Road
  •  Saturday, Feb. 28 | 9:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m., Southeast Community Center, 4201 E. 63rd Street

This time last year, the 2014-2015 Budget looked fine, no problem. KCATA was being allocated an appropriate amount of money based on the calculation in the ordinance.

This week we got a look at how the City Manager is actually using the sales tax receipts. In the Submitted Budget there is another column – the Estimated actual revenue and expenditures for 2014-2015.1_2_cent_PMT_2014-2016

This Estimated column shows Kansas City ½ cent sales tax Public Mass Transportation Fund, on page 382 of the Submitted Budget, has finally made a good recovery from the recession. Instead of the budgeted amount of $32.8 million in receipts, the city is now estimating it will receive $36.5 million this year. That is great. Kansas City hasn’t been able to collect enough sales tax since 2009 to pay for the current level of transit service.

However, we don’t see any increase in KCATA funding to reflect the windfall. In fact, the estimated final amount is $808,000 less than originally budgeted. This is so unfair and wrong!

Re-calculating the KCATA funding using the new sales tax revenue amount, KCATA should get $29.1 million, but it is only estimated to get $24.9, which is $4.2 million less than it should receive based on the ordinance.

So while KCATA funding is slashed, the city is giving Public Works $1.36 million more than its 5% this year and $4.7 million over its 5% next year.PMT_2015_2016_xlsx

The city is currently expecting to finish 2014-2015 with a revenue increase of $3.7 million over budget in this fund.

In 2014-2015, after the re-calculation for the ordinance, the city is:

  1. giving Public Works an additional $1.4 million over its calculated maximum
  2. giving KCATA $4.2 million less than it should receive
  3. ending the year with $6 million in the ending balance. There should never be a big remainder in this account. That is evidence the money is not being distributed to KCATA at 95% of the receipts. An appropriate ending balance for this account is closer to $1.5 million

In 2015-2016 the city is:

  1. budgeting the same sales tax revenue as estimated for 2014-2015.
  2. giving Public Works an additional $4.7 million over the 5% calculation (this is the money they diverted from KCATA by hoarding it in 2014-2015)
  3. Public Works is getting $6.2 million out of this fund, when it calculates a maximum of $1.5 million.
  4. KCATA is getting $350,000 less than required by the formula.

So how does this happen? The city manager and TAN read this ordinance very differently.

TAN – KCATA receiving 95% of the proceeds from the sales tax means just that. Budgets are estimates of what the city thinks is going to happen. When it gets actual numbers the amount gets adjusted based on the ordinance. That is normal.

City Manager reply to TAN on Wednesday: The amount calculated for the budget is a fixed number and he won’t re-calculate it. Any additional money that comes in allows him to direct it to Public Works.

We find that position almost unbelievable. His position is if the city does a really bad guess on the budget revenue number, like this year, then KCATA has to suffer and all the additional sales tax generated by the people is available for Public Works. Is he really going to stand by that?

We think the city manager’s contorted reading of this ordinance fundamentally wrong. Even his reasoning implies that if the budget projection for sales tax revenue was close to being right, then KCATA would have gotten all this money. So why shouldn’t KCATA receive it now? If the budget department is way off on the sales tax revenue estimate, KCATA shouldn’t suffer and Public Works shouldn’t get the windfall.

The city council made it clear by the ordinance that this money is meant to support transit. The 5% for Public Works is traditional because Public Works does services that are beneficial to the transit such as snow removal.

This money is not meant to be a slush fund for Public Works. Repeated diversions of transit funds by blatantly ignoring ordinances makes us wonder if that isn’t the best term to describe what goes on in this constant battle to maintain transit funding. Transit advocates shouldn’t have to keep having this same fight.

When the media and other people complain that transit isn’t as good as they think it should be, maybe they should look at the city for diverting so many millions of dollars since 2003 from the of ½ cent Public Mass Transportation Fund and giving it to Public Works instead of using it to provide transit service.

Why does this matter?

  1. We need to establish the correct use of the calculation in the ordinance because otherwise when there is more revenue than budgeted, the city manager will continue to divert the money to Public Works instead of using it to improve transit.
  2.  Improve the state of our transit system:
  • 2014-2015- KCMO is finally raising enough sales tax to cover the current service level, but it is not paying its bill. Every year since 2009 KCATA dipped into its reserve account (city money held for an emergency, like we had in 2009) to pay the difference between what the City gives them and what the transit service actually costs. Why wouldn’t the $4.2 million automatically go to fully pay the city’s bill and stop KCATA from depleting its reserve account?
  •  2015-2016- KCMO funding will barely cover the cost of the transit service, but that is still great since that is the first time it happened since 2009.
  •  In 2009, transit service was cut 9.5% due to the recession. That service level has never been restored. We are limping along with far less service.
  •  Prospect Max – We need about $9 million for the local match (20% of $43 million) to build this line, then we need an additional $500,000 per year to run a MAX line instead of the current route which costs $5 million. (Prospect MAX will be $5,500,000 yearly to operate) If the current local service continues at some level, even more money is needed.
  •  Since Independence Ave and 31st St/Linwood are such great transit corridors that the city believes they deserve a streetcar, they should at least be upgraded to MAX lines.
  • We need to increase frequency on routes to increase ridership and make this a functional transit service. Routes with 1 hour or 30 minute frequencies will never be well used.

There is more, but you get the picture.

We have a second issue with the Submitted Budget but on another account: the 3/8-cent KCATA Sales Tax on page 368 of the budget. The city manager is holding over $3 million in that account at year-end. Since this sales tax is 100% dedicated to KCATA for transit, we can’t see any reason why the ending balance should be more than $500,000. Why is the city keeping so much money? KCATA_Sales_Tax_Fund_2015-2106

Supplement:

The City Manager and TAN agree on what happens if the budget amount is too high and the actual sales tax revenue is less. Under that situation, the city should use the money it held in reserve to maintain the budgeted amount as a minimum payment. Since KCATA can receive at least 95% of the sales tax, it can get a higher percentage, so the budgeted amount should be the minimum KCATA receives, Once those funds are exhausted, that would constitute a funding emergency, like the recession in 2009, and KCATA could use its reserve account to maintain service levels.

 

 

Posted in Action, Local Transit Issues | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Big Expectations For KCATA New CEO

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 18, 2015


KCATAJoe Reardon, a lawyer with McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips and former Mayor of Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, was named the new CEO and President of the Kansas City Transportation Authority (KCATA) this afternoon. This position is new and reflects KCATA’s restructuring efforts and its goal to function as the transit authority for the whole region, as it was originally intended. Reardon will have a big impact on the future of KC regional transit.

Special KCATA Board of :Commissioners meeting at Union Station to officially chose new CEO

Special KCATA Board of :Commissioners meeting at Union Station to officially chose new CEO

Reardon has extensive governmental experience and a reputation for getting things done, as noted in the bulletin released by KCATA. Several of his significant achievements revolve around transit, such as introducing Sunday service in KCK and getting a federal TIGER grant to help build the first major transit center in KCK.

He feels he can truly make KCATA a regional entity. He wants to start by listening. He wants to understand the system as it exits today, and listen to the region as a whole and people’s vision to enhance transit, including integrating transit and trails.

A strong supporter for much-needed regional cooperation, Reardon actually teaches an MBA class at Rockhurst University on regionalism. Sounds like he is on the right track.

Robbie Makinen (Chair of KCATA BOC) Joe Reardon (New CEO/President of KCATA), Sam Desue (Acting General Manager)

Robbie Makinen (Chair of KCATA BOC) Joe Reardon (New CEO/President of KCATA), Sam Desue (Acting General Manager)

The previous top KCATA position, General Manager, focused on internal operations, but this new position is focused externally. KCATA has very good people in place internally to handle the everyday workings of the agency, so the CEO can engage the community and public leaders to move transit forward.

Reardon said that safety of both rides and drivers is his first concern and KCATA is continuing to take steps to improve safety.

For KCATA to fully realize its goal we see two items that need to be achieved by Reardon.

1. All public transit services need to come under the KCATA management/operation umbrella. Reardon said he would be working on this initiative. Efforts to achieve this goal already started when Johnson County recently returned to KCATA for transit management services. We want to see all Unified Government/KCK and Independence public transit and special transportation services return to KCATA. Reardon feels that further integrating the region is critical and one of his key missions.

2. Increase funding to expand and improve transit service. Reardon said he knows this is a critical issue and something not easily addressed but something we need to spend time and effort on. He feels it speaks to forming the right partnerships and relationships to ensure that revenue sources that are there today continue to be there, find the opportunities where we all agree the system could be better and then look to ways to enhance that.

Transit Action Network believes that succeeding in these two categories is necessary to create a KC regional transit system that is capable of getting people to significantly more than 18% of the jobs in the region in under 90 minutes, which is our current situation.

Ridership is increasing and KCATA had $15.9 million trips in 2014.  Reardon wants to hear from riders about how KCATA can improve the system, what is good about the system, and if KCATA is answering their needs.

We look forward to working with Mr. Reardon.

Additional coverage:

http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article10595201.html

http://m.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2015/02/18/kcata-names-new.html

 

Posted in Events, Local Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

KCATA Announces New CEO Feb 18

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 17, 2015


The new CEO/President of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) will be announced at a special news conference tomorrow. KCATA
  • Where: Chamber Board Room, Union Station, 30 W. Pershing, KCMO 64108
  • When: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 @ 12 p.m.
The new CEO will be available to the media directly following the news conference.

Posted in Events | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Public Meetings Feb 11 Re-Designing Downtown Transit

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 10, 2015


DT_Transit_021115KCATA is hosting two public meetings on the plan for re-designing downtown transit.  Please attend and comment on the vision and proposed changes.

What: Public Community Meetings (Presentation followed by open house format) See flyer here.

When: Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Where: Kansas City Design Center, 1018 Baltimore, Kansas City, Mo.

Time: 11:30am-1pm & 6:30pm

Map of Downtown Concept

Map of Downtown Concept

This proposed service improvement would significantly change how transit flows downtown. The changes are being proposed because the 10th and Main Transit Center is too small to handle the bus and streetcar traffic. Additionally, new developments downtown are impacting travel demands.

KCATA’s Proposed Improvements 

The proposed downtown service improvement concept includes the following interrelated elements:

  • The reconfiguration of downtown routes based on an intersecting trunk route service design, forming Transit Emphasis Corridors (TEC) along Grand Boulevard and 11th and 12th Streets to simplify, accelerate, and improve downtown transit service.
  • Facilitate connections between bus routes and streetcar service.
  • Bus lanes on Grand Boulevard and on 11th and 12th Streets to make service faster and more reliable.
  • The consolidation of regular bus stops into Transit Emphasis Corridor (TEC) Stations to make waiting more comfortable and service faster. TEC Stations would provide facilities and amenities similar to MAX stops.
  • The development of a new East Village transit hub to improve connections and elimination of 10th & Main Transit Center.

More information about this project can be found here including maps of proposed route changes. The proposal includes changing The JO routes downtown and additional changes to Route 51-Ward Parkway.

 

Posted in Events, Local Transit Issues | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Changes to Special Transportation – Meetings This Week

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 10, 2015


KCATALast year the Regional Transit Coordinating Council initiated a process to improve Special Transportation in the region for seniors and people with disabilities. The current service is fractured in many ways, including requiring riders to fill out numerous eligibility requirement forms and make numerous calls to get across the region.

This week starts a series of public meetings to discuss some of the proposed changes. If you use Special Transportation services, such as Share-A-Fare, Dial a Ride, Special Edition or IndeAcess, or you are a stakeholder for another reason, then try to attend a meeting to find out what is happening and provide your input.Mobility_AC

Mobility Advisory Committee (MAC)

Where: Mid-America Regional Council MARC, 6th and Broadway, KCMO

When: Wednesday, Feb 11 @9:00 am

The agenda is tight so please read the full task five memorandum prepared by TranSystems. The analysis is very comprehensive and the report explains how service levels may be increased through coordination of services. Task 5 Memo, Coordination Options 12-24-14

If you have any questions or comments contact:

Tyler Means, MARC tmeans@marc.org

Jameson Auten, KCATA jauten@kcata.org

******

In addition, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) is hosting several public meetings this week to discuss proposed changes to the application process for Share-A-Fare paratransit service.

Customers and stakeholders are invited to attend one of the following meetings to learn more about the new process:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 10, 12-2 p.m., UGT State Ave. MetroCenter, 47th and State Ave., Kansas City, Kan.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 10, 4-6 p.m., The Whole Person, 3710 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 11, 1-2:30 p.m., KCATA Breen Building (SAF Advisory Committee Mtg.), 1200 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo. (One presentation during the meeting.)
  • Thursday, Feb. 12, 3-5 p.m., St. Luke’s Barry Medical Park Building, 5844 N.W. Barry Rd., Ground Floor – South Conf. Room, Kansas City, Mo.

For more information read the KCATA bulletin http://www.kcata.org/news/safapplication

 

Posted in Events, Local Transit Issues | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Transit Talk Feb 10 – Car Free By Choice in KC on 90.1FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on February 9, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMWhat would happen if you decided to get rid of your car? Could you get around town on public transit? Why are people choosing a lifestyle without a car? How effective is public transit for getting around the region?

Find out what it is like to be “Car Free by Choice in Kansas City” as Sarah Madrid, David Johnson and Mike Lewyn discuss their reasoning for being car free and their experiences on Transit Talk with host Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network.

Where: RadioActive Magazine, 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

When: Tuesday Feb 10 @ 6 PM

Listen to the podcast

Many people don’t have a car because they lack the money to support a car or they have a physical impairment which keeps them from driving. Being without a car can be difficult. However, more and more people are deciding to turn in their keys and say goodbye to the costs and hassles of having a car.

Join us on Tuesday to hear from three people who made the decision to go without a car. Find out how they manage.

Sarah Madrid, grew up in KC and returned after a career in the US Foreign Service where she lived car free for many years in foreign countries.

Mike Lewyn recently moved to KC and brings a fresh evaluation of our city’s public transit network. He teaches law at UMKC.

David Johnson, a local transit advocate and member of the Streetcar Authority has been car free in KC for many years.

If you aren’t very familiar with the transit system but want to try it, there is a trip planner on the KCATA website that will tell you what you need to know to get from your current location (or a beginning location) to your destination. http://www.kcata.org/maps_schedules/trip_planner or call (816) 221-0660 for help. Wyandotte County, Johnson County and Independence buses all use this same trip planner.

Google maps allows you to plan your trip, you just have to click on the bus icon.

You can look up additional information for The JO  (As of February 1, 2015 KCATA manages The JO) http://www.jocogov.org/dept/transit/home

The Independence IndeBus http://indebusmo.com

Information on all of the Unified Government Transit (UGT) buses is available at www.KCATA.org. Some additional information is available at http://www.wycokck.org/dept.aspx?id=224&menu_id=1030

If you know your KCATA bus route then this website helps by showing you the current location of your bus. http://itsab.us/tracker/ Just click on your route and all the locations for the buses on that route will be displayed. This information is available on a regular phone with internet capability. A smart phone is not necessary.

You can try out all of the apps suggested on the KCATA app center to find out which one you like best. http://www.kcata.org/maps_schedules/app_center

Rider guides for new riders

KCATA http://www.kcata.org/rider_guide

The JO http://www.jocogov.org/dept/transit/jo/rider-guide

IndeBus http://indebusmo.com/travel-training/

If you have additional questions contact the transit agencies

KCATA, The JO and UGT call center (816) 221-0660

IndeBus 816-461-4287 (IBUS)

You can contact Transit Action Network at TransactionKC@gmail.com

Our next Transit Talk on Radio Active Magazine is MARCH 31.

Posted in Local Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Transit Talk Jan 6 – Your Civil Rights and Transit on 90.1 FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on January 5, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMWhat are your Civil Rights related to Transit and how do you protect them? What is Environmental Justice? How do you recognize when your Transit Civil Rights are violated and what can you do to remedy the situation?

Find out on RadioActive Magazine on Transit Talk as we discuss the major Civil Rights issues related to transit.

When: Tuesday, January 6 at 6 PM

Where: 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio on Radio Active Magazine

Listen to Podcast  Transit, Civil Rights & Environmental Justice

Host Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network speaks by phone with Marc Brenman, a retired senior policy advisor for Civil Rights in the office of the U. S. Secretary of Transportation about how Civil Rights and Environmental Justice relate to transit. Marc currently writes, teaches and consults on human rights issues.

The issues in Ferguson and New York City the last few months reminded us how important it is to understand our Civil Rights, including those related to transit and transportation. In 2012 TAN filed a Title VI Civil Rights claim against Johnson County Transit*. Marc Brenman provided guidance and taught us a lot about this law.

FTA guidelines:

FTA guidelines on Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and how it affects transit. Title_VI_of_the_Civil_RIghts_Act_of_1964

 “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal Financial assistance.”   –42 U.S.C. Section 2000d

FTA guidelines on Environmental Justice from Presidential Executive Order 12898

FTA_EJ_Circular_7.14-12_FINAL

The guiding EJ principles followed by DOT and FTA are briefly summarized as follows:

 Guiding Environmental Justice Principles

• To avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on minority populations and low-income populations.

• To ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision-making process.

• To prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority and low-income populations.

You should consider these goals of environmental justice throughout transportation planning and project development, and through all public outreach and participation efforts conducted by FTA, its grantees and sub grantees. 

We will discuss numerous examples of transit civil rights violations, explain how the FTA works to remedy the situation, and what to do if you think there is a local violation.

Background:

*Title VI Claim Filed Against Johnson County Transit  Transit Action Network filed this claim in 2012 due to our view of JCT’s inadequate public outreach to minority and low-income communities related to service cuts in January 2013. We included additional informational in the claim to make the FTA aware of numerous concerns we had, since severe service cuts were projected for 2014 or 2015 due to financial shortfalls. Luckily, those additional service cuts haven’t happened. Chuck Ferguson, who was Deputy Transportation Director for JCT,  said the cuts weren’t needed since the transit agency made efficiency improvements. In addition, KCATA allocated significantly more federal formula funds to JCT than they previously received and Johnson County expects large cost savings by changing management from JCT to KCATA.

Please contact Transit Action Network at TransActionKC@gmail.com if you have questions about this issue.

 

Posted in Local Transit Issues, National Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

2014: Transit in the Kansas City Region – What happened?

Posted by Transit Action Network on January 2, 2015


2014 was a busy transit year and it is fun to look back to see some of the main stories and think about the future. Links to some of our related posts are included. If you want to get actively involved in on-going transit issues, contact us at TransActionKC@gmail.com or attend our first meeting of 2015 at Noon on January 9th at the KC Central Library at 10th and Baltimore.

1. The Downtown Streetcar

The Downtown Streetcar construction got underway in May and is about one-third complete at year end. Check out KCStreetcar.com for updates. streetcar

Tom Gerend, previously the Assistant Director of Transportation at MARC, was named the Executive Director for the Streetcar Authority.

Please support the businesses along the route. Lunch Mobs are being organized to help these businesses. Check out @kcstreetcar @tacticalurbankc

2. The Streetcar expansion

Kansas City’s August election for three streetcar expansion routes (Independence Avenue, Linwood and Main Street) would have added an additional 7.6 miles to the Downtown Streetcar for a total of 9.8 miles. The Prospect MAX recommendation was 9.1 miles long. Streetcar Steering Committee Releases Recommendations and Draft Report   The proposal lost 60%-40%.  Video – KC Streetcar Expansion Election Watch and Mayor’s Speech

Next_RailRead the final Next Rail report if you aren’t familiar with the Main Street expansion to the Plaza. If the city comes up with a good funding plan, the expansion to the Plaza may be seen again in a couple of years. Next Rail final expansion recommendation

3. KCMO continues to withhold $2.5 million from KCATAKCATA_2014-2015_KCMO_budget

Although the Kansas City budgeted 95% of the revenue from the ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax to KCATA based on an ordinance TAN initiated in 2010 (it was updated in 2013), the city is withholding $2.5 million from KCATA and causing KCATA’s reserve account to deplete even faster, which is ironic since the city says it is concerned that the KCATA reserve account will deplete itself before 2022; currently estimated to run out in 2018. The city is over $5 million short in its payments to KCAT̄A this year caused by the combination of insufficient sales tax revenue and the additional amount being withheld. KCATA expects the city to short them $5.4 million in 2015.

TAN hopes KCMO pays its bills to the best of its ability by the end of this fiscal year, April 30, 2015. The city administrator is holding the money in case he decides to start out-sourcing part of the bus system to save money. More in 2015.

4. KCATAKCATA

KCATA is working on a comprehensive service analysis to re-design transit downtown.  Attend Public Meetings – Redesigning Downtown KC Transit – July 17 and Downtown Service Improvement Concept 

Map Of Downtown Concept

Map Of Downtown Concept

KCATA continued it re-organization A New Vision for KCATA  and KCATA General Manager Mark E. Huffer Resigns   KCATA is currently looking to fill a new CEO position.

The year ended with KCATA Board of Commissioners re-electing Robbie Makinen for another year as Chair since the reorganization for KCATA isn’t finished and Makinen is doing such a great job pushing the agenda forward. Congratulations! Robbie Makinen Elected KCATA Chair Again 

5. TAN RADIO

Transit Action Network started a semi-regular “Transit Talk” show on 90.1 FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio on the Radio Active Magazine show. This magazine show has numerous activist groups taking turns to inform the community on various issues. TAN Radio archive of previous shows  Interviews covered conversion to CNG buses, a MAX line for Prospect Ave, the KC Streetcar/MAX election ballot, the MO Amendment 7 election, Special Transportation issues, our inability to pay for most rail projects (like rail to the airport), and a talk with Robbie Makinen about changes at KCATA.

KKFI operates a 100,000-watt transmitter, the most powerful allowed by FCC regulations.

KKFI operates a 100,000-watt transmitter, the most powerful allowed by FCC regulations.

The next show is Jan 6 at 6pm on 90.1 FM KKFI – Your Civil Rights Related To Transit – What are they and how to protect them!

6. Sense or Nonsense –New TAN series

Sense or Nonsense? Streetcars and Increased Property Values Sense or Nonsense? Does rail increase property values? MAKES SENSE

 Sense or Nonsense? Streetcars and Development  Only light rail systems generate development. NOT SO.

 7. New TAXI style services in KCMO

The KCMO city council started the year by changing the taxi ordinance to allow Independent Transportation Network® (ITN), a non-profit charitable organization to operate a vehicle for hire to transport persons who are 65 years of age or older or visually impaired. Action Alert: KCMO – Please Allow A New Transit Service For The Elderly and Visually Impaired 

Uber and Lyft, App driven ride-sharing services, arrived in KC. Uber received a license to operate, but Lfyt is having legal problems.

REGIONAL TRANSIT ISSUES

It is important to remember that we need better transit throughout the whole region.

A. Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC)Transit_Coordinating_Council-2

  1. The RTCC decided to tackle tough issues: RTCC Tackles Big Transit Issues – Funding and Paratransit 

RTCC requested and received more money for transit projects from allocations of federal money (STP and CMAQ) than has ever been granted, including $10 million allocated for Jackson County purchasing the old Rock Island line and two additional railway spurs from Union Pacific.

  1. There are two groups to advise RTCC: Transit Stakeholder Forum (TSF) and the Mobility Advisory Committee (MAC).Transit_Stakeholder_Fourm-2

The TSF is totally open to the public, vague, and doesn’t have members or regular meetings.

We understand that allowing everyone to participate is a new concept at MARC and KCATA, but we think this one needs more work. The forum is very top down and is doesn’t meet regularly like MAC, which meets every other month.

  • Why wasn’t TSF asked for input on the RTCC 2015 workplan? It got to comment on the 2014 plan.
  • When transit projects were developed and prioritized by RTCC for STP and CMAQ funding, the TSF didn’t even get to look at them. (MAC got to prioritize $6 million in funding requests and actually function like an advisory committee-see below)
  • Why isn’t there time for riders to address their issues with the transit agencies?
  • When will TSF function more like a substantive advisory committee?Mobility_AC

MAC, on the other hand, has had only had two meetings, but they are developing a very large membership with voting rights, and they have already recommended a multi-million dollar list of projects to RTCC for allocating 5310 federal funds for paratransit/senior capital and operating money. True, MAC is basically reconvened from the old Special Transportation/JARC Committee at MARC, so they are bringing in the same people as before and expanding.

Mobility Advisory Committee Meets Dec 10

  1. RTCC is leading a regional branding effort that will be rolled out in 2015: RideKC.

B. Seamless Transit Advocacy

Transit Action Network believes the transit system should function in a seamless fashion so that it appears to be run by one agency. We are pleased that the seamless transit concept continues to gain steam. Besides our list of specific seamless transit suggestions Seamless Transit In the Kansas City Region, we advocate for the election of transit friendly public officials and encourage municipalities to return to KCATA for management or management/ operations, which provides the best opportunity for eliminating barriers between the transit systems (The barriers aren’t due to the jurisdictional BORDERS; the problems are caused by operational and infrastructure differences between the transit agencies)

  1. Johnson County

JoCo was in the spotlight at the end of the year with a big county election and a decision to return transit management of The JO and Special Edition to KCATA after 30 years.Johnson County

Online Transit Forum – Candidates for Johnson County Commission 

Big Win for Seamless Transit – The JO Returns to KCATA 

  1. Wyandotte County and Independence

UG logoDuring the year TAN met with Mayor Weir of Independence, Mayor Holland of Unified Government of Wyandotte County and several UG commissioners. Although we advocated for a wide range of transit issues, including better seamless transit, our main thrust was to encourage both entities to bring the rest of their transit service under the management or management/operations of the re-organized KCATA, like Johnson County recently decided. We hear rumblings that this process might start.inde log

  1. Jackson County

Jackson County reached an agreement with Union Pacific for an “option to purchase” the Rock Island right of way plus two spurs for $59.9 million. Jackson County Option to Purchase press release. The agreement has been extended to Sept 2015. Although the County has received $10 million from a federal grant (see RTCC), the County still needs another $50 million for the purchase and that money isn’t easy to come by.

Jackson_County_seal-2This corridor will make a great addition to the Katy Trail, but it showed extremely low ridership for commuter rail in the Jackson County Alternatives Analysis. Ridership between 500 and 1000 trips per day were projected and the line would not qualify for FTA New Starts money at this point. (The Prospect bus has over 6,000 trips daily and it isn’t even a MAX line.)

During 2014 TAN made presentations on financing alternatives for commuter rail and the purchase of the Rock Island property to Jackson County officials. Discussions are continuing.

  1. Unified Government New Transit Route #105 and Bigger Buses to #101

Mayor Holland promised TAN to provide bigger buses to alleviate crowding once the #101 became the new CONNEX service. The improved service went into effect in January 2014. State Ave. CONNEX Gets Big Buses Jan 5

Erin, Carol, Carroll and Rachel conducting the Rosedale Transit Survey

Erin, Carol, Carroll and Rachel conducting the Rosedale Transit Survey

The Rosedale Development Association and the KCK community, along with TAN, secured the new Rosedale Route #105. Event: Opening of 105-Rosedale Route June 30 

  1. C. Environmental Justice Analysis and Tiger Grant

TAN has been in discussions with MARC staff about changes to their Environmental Justice Analysis, which studies how federal transportation money is spent in the region relative to minorities and low-income populations.

The Brookings Institution found that only 18 percent of jobs in the KC region are reachable via transit in 90 minutes or less — ranking the Kansas City region 90th of the 100 largest metros. From a civil rights perspective, we may not be meeting the needs of minorities and low-income populations to get to work by transit. With such a low rate, we  probably aren’t meeting the transit needs of the whole community. Meeting the needs of minorities and low-income populations should be included upfront in any assessment for transportation planning.

MARC received a $1.2 million TIGER planning grant to STUDY the situation. The goal of KC Workforce Connex is doubling transit access to jobs over the next 10 years. A major study area will be along the I-435 corridor between the new Cerner campus and I-35 in Johnson County, which includes the busiest commuter corridor in the region, yet doesn’t have any transit.

D. MO Sales Tax For Transportation Failed

Transit Action Network believes Missouri shouldn’t pass a constitutional amendment to radically change the way we pay for roads and bridgesVotenoon 7 billboard

We spent several months working against this ballot initiative of a 3/4-cent sales tax for transportation, so we were pleased when it failed in August.

Video, Podcasts, Cartoon – VOTE NO On MO Amendment 7 

However, the funding issue for roads isn’t resolved. Raising the gas/diesel taxes is the easiest and cheapest method to administer and probably the smartest option, but Governor Nixon has asked for a study to investigate tolling on I-70. That starts 2015.

Happy New Year and join us in advocating for better transit in our region.

 

Posted in Local Transit Issues, Rail, Regional Transit Issue, Seamless Transit | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Congratulations! Robbie Makinen Elected KCATA Chair Again

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 18, 2014


KCATAAt the end of the KCATA Board of Commissioners meeting yesterday, the Board elected Robbie Makinen as Chair for another year. It is really unprecedented to have so many consecutive terms but it shows the Board’s support for Makinen to finish leading the organization through its biggest changes ever.

MakinenC - Version 2

The agency made huge progress re-organizing this year and already completed a deal to manage the Johnson County transit services again after a 30-year break. That deal was sealed yesterday at the beginning of the Board meeting.

The re-structuring of KCATA isn’t complete though. For instance, the agency is still in the process of hiring a new CEO and Makinen is actively engaged in getting the right person. We wonder if he will throw his hat into the ring.

Radio Interview: Transit Talk Nov 18 – Interview with Robbie Makinen on KKFI 90.1FM

Related articles: Big Win for Seamless Transit – The JO Returns to KCATA 

A New Vision for KCATA

 

Posted in Events, Local Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Big Win for Seamless Transit – The JO Returns to KCATA

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 17, 2014


The Chair of KCATA Board of Commissioners,  Robbie Makinen, and Ed Eilert, Chair of the Johnson County Commission, took part in a signing ceremony transferring management of Johnson County’s transit to the KCATA.

Johnson County Commissioner Ed Eilert and KCATA Chair Robbie Makinen

Johnson County Commissioner Ed Eilert and KCATA Chair Robbie Makinen

After 30 years KCATA will manage the transit operations for Johnson County Transit again, which includes both The JO and the Special Edition (Johnson County service for seniors and people with disabilities). The signing of the inter-local Cooperative Agreement took place at the beginning of the KCATA monthly board meeting today. KCATA will take full responsibility for management on February 1, 2015, so this is a transition period.

To make this historic change happen Makinen said the “ATA needed to establish confidence and credibility within this region and with the re-structure that is the message they wanted to send.” Makinen lead the effort to re-organize the KCATA with the purpose of REALLY being the area transportation authority and managing (or both managing and operating) all of the public transit in the region as intended when the two states signed the bi-state compact creating the agency.

Commissioner Steve Klika

Commissioner Steve Klika

Steve Klika, Johnson County Commissioner, the County’s appointee to the KCATA Board and a major player in getting this agreement accomplished in record speed of six months, talked about his commitment to this goal for a long time. He joked that his personal effort toward Johnson County Transit was to figure out how to “turn the lights out, close the doors and turn the keys over to a regional entity”, which happened today. Klika said, “We have to understand that this is a big deal. It is starting to lead a path to the regionalization of transit.” He also acknowledged that there are funding issues to deal with going forward.

When asked about the benefit to riders, Commissioner Eilert felt the benefits are going to be “the ability to offer additional connections for transit services across the metro area and a major benefit is the ability of ATA to coordinate those efforts”. He said that Johnson County ‘s struggle has been to create ridership and they hope that ATA’s abilities will lead to an increase in riders.

Signing ceremony at the KCATA Board of Commissioners Dec 17, 2014

Signing ceremony at the KCATA Board of Commissioners Dec 17, 2014

Highlights of the agreement:

  • 2-year term with an annual base cost of $475,000 with a 3% annual cost escalator
  • Johnson County retains all final decisions relating to service policy and budget
  • KCATA staff will coordinate through the County’s Transit Liaison on management and administrative activities

In addition, KCATA has agreed to implement priority placement for Johnson County Transit staff affected by this agreement through March. 2015.

The KCATA Board of Commissioners authorized staff to enter into the inter-local agreement with Johnson County to provide transit management and administrative services for $430,000 in 2015 and $489,250 in 2016.

This agreement is the first major action to utilize the functions of the recently re-organized KCATA. Earlier in the year KCATA created separate departments for the KCATA relating to transit service

  1. KCATA Managed AND Operated bus service,
    1. the METRO,
    2. The METRO buses are driven by full and part-time KCATA employees; public transit bus drivers who belong to the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).
  2. KCATA Managed but NOT Operated transit service
    1. Manage existing Share-A-Fare service for seniors and people with disabilities, for the areas served by the METRO
      1. Operated by a private contractor
    2. New function: Manage (not operate) transit service for Johnson County.
      1. The JO and the Special Edition buses will continue to be operated by a private operator.
      2. In Johnson County, the operator doesn’t own the buses or set the routes or the schedules. They provide part-time drivers to operate The JO and Special Edition buses. The JO currently runs 42 commuter buses during peak service hours, which is considered a small service. Riders will not see any difference in the operations to start.

KCATA management will replace management functions previously performed by Johnson County Transit (JCT), a department of Johnson County. The personnel changes will result in approximately $455,000 savings for Johnson County.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAdditional savings are expected in the future since KCATA’s size provides greater purchasing power in capital acquisitions, such as buses, and operation costs, such as fuel. We also expect to see cost savings due to improvements to connections.

Users of the Johnson County services will still see familiar JCT faces at KCATA. Chuck Ferguson is now the KCATA Director of Planning. Shawn Strate is currently splitting his time between the two organizations, but he is now a Transit Planner at KCATA. There are several back office people from JCT that have moved to KCATA. Alice Amrein and Chris Lowe are staying at Johnson County. Amrein will be the liaison between the County and KCATA.

Riders shouldn’t expect immediate benefits or changes. There will be a transition period where KCATA learns all about The JO and Special Edition. KCATA has to evaluate the best way to integrate the services. Eliminating duplications or inefficiencies in service will take some time, but we hope the improvements are sooner rather than later and we will monitor the progress.

 In the short-term we hope to see better communications such as more schedules posted at bus stops for the JO and hopefully the electronic information boards working properly at the Mission Transit Center.

Once the full extent of the cost savings is evident KCATA should recommend more service. The Johnson County commissioners have committed to using the cost savings to improve and expand transit and not to divert the money for other purposes.

There are independent activities led by the Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) that will have an impact in 2015. A regional fare study is already being conducted as well as a study to create a single eligibility procedure in the region to use special transportation.

Transit Action Network sees this agreement as a big leap forward toward the seamless transit system we want to function in the region and we want to thank everyone involved in making this agreement happen.

Posted in Events, Local Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Are Autonomous Vehicles in the LRTP?

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 10, 2014


ENOThis week Mark McDowell, Kansas City financial consultant and Transit Action Network advocate, published an article in Eno Institute for Transportation Policy: Time for Autonomous Vehicles to Disrupt Transportation Planning 

McDowell’s paper considers the impact Autonomous Vehicles (AV) will have on the demand for infrastructure and the effects on suburban sprawl, urban parking needs, inter-city transportation, public transit and paratrasnit in the near future.

He makes the case that Autonomous Vehicles should be included in local transportation planning since these driverless vehicles will create a huge change to our transportation system in the current timeframe of the Long Range Transportation Plans (LRTP) prepared by Metropolitan Planning Organizations, like Mid-America Regional Council (MARC).marclogo

MARC is currently updating Transportation Outlook 2040, our LRTP. The plan deals with our regional transportation plans for the next 25 years. AV’s already exist and are being used in some places. Is MARC sticking with the status quo or including the affects of Autonomous Vehicles? If AV’s don’t get included in the LRTP then McDowell says “ we are designing infrastructure for yesterday instead of tomorrow.”

Transit Action Network doesn’t have a crystal ball to see the full impact of AV’s over the next 25 years, but 25 years ago very few people had a personal computer, and smartphones weren’t designed yet.  It may be unwise to bury our heads in the sand and continue to make transportation and funding decisions for the next 25 years without considering the impact of disruptive technologies like Autonomous Vehicles.

Posted in Local Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Mobility Advisory Committee Meets Dec 10

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 9, 2014


The Mobility Advisory Committee (MAC) works to improve mobility for individuals with disabilities and seniors. It is a sub-committee of the Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC). Mobility_AC

Next meeting:

  • When: Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 9:30 am
  • Where: KCATA, Breen Board Room, 1200 E. 18th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108

This meeting will evaluate and prioritize projects requesting funding (FTA Section 5310). The committee’s priorities will help the Regional Transit Coordinating Council form a funding recommendation.

The agenda, list of projects to be prioritized, and project summaries are available on the MAC website. Projects totally more than $6 million  have been requested, so prioritizing them is very important for determining which projects are actually funded.  The meeting is open to the public.

 

 

Posted in Events, Local Transit Issues | Leave a Comment »

Be Prepared: Snow Removal for Walkers and Rollers

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 5, 2014


Picture from the Easter Seals report

Picture from the Easter Seals report

It is time again to start singing that old familiar refrain, “What about snow removal?” To get everyone tuned up and ready to go, here is a great resource from Easter Seals Project Action (ESPA). It is chock full of best practices from around the country and pertinent regulations to remind us of our responsibilities to those not driving. ES_Snow_Removal_Brief

Easter_Seals

The ability of to conduct your business and your life is as important to walkers and rollers as it is drivers.

“Including pedestrian facilities in snow and ice management policies reflects a community’s commitment to equal access, safety, economic vitality and quality of life.” Roger Millar, Vice President, Smart Growth America

 

 

Posted in Action, Local Transit Issues, Regional Transit Issue | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers