Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Independence Transit Committee Recommends First Transit

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 22, 2011

In a move characterized as a “new integrated transit system,” the Independence City Council Transit Committee recommended First Transit to operate their intra-city (local) routes beginning Monday, July 2, 2012.  KCATA would continue to operate inter-city routes.  Final action by the full City Council is anticipated in January 2012.

The committee’s recommendation is to:

(1) contract with KCATA to continue certain current services including inter-city and commuter bus routes (Routes 24 and 24x), paratransit service (Share-A-Fare) for inter-city and eligible intra-city trips, grant filings and FTA reporting, and regional transit information center operations

(2) contract with First Transit to provide local fixed route and deviated fixed route service, paratransit service for intra-city trips, and senior transportation service (Dial-A-Ride). First Transit is the contract operator for Johnson County Transit.

Independence says its revised transit plan will provide a 40% increase in service area, 32 additional miles of routes, and a 30 percent increase in hours of operation. Local service will be provided using specially designed new buses, tentatively branded “IndeBus.” Waiting times between buses will increase on some routes due to extending the length of the route without adding additional buses.

Independence expects coordinated scheduling between the two systems to minimize waiting times. Fares will be the same for both systems and Independence expects to work out an agreement with KCATA so there will not be a fare impact on the riders using passes or transfers.

Still unresolved are some funding issues, including how much federal “formula” money Independence will receive as pass-through from the KCATA allocation. Independence will presumably qualify for federal funds related to routes operated by KCATA, but regulations related to employee protections under Section 13(c) of Federal Transit Law could make it difficult or even illegal to use federal formula funds for the Independence local routes (see previous article). This issue — how much federal money will be passed through to Independence – could significantly change the transit funding situation in Independence. Discussions and legal research are ongoing between and among Independence, KCATA, the FTA, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and MARC.

A publicity campaign is planned to start in April, including public meetings, route maps, publication in the Independence newsletter CityScene and information on City 7, the public access cable channel. Bus stop and schedule signs will be replaced and First Transit will work with the businesses in the new service areas for locating stops.

Although its total cost of transit service will rise slightly, Independence expects ridership to increase at least 15% with the increased route coverage. In addition, the City plans to seek grants to supplement money from its General Fund.

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One Response to “Independence Transit Committee Recommends First Transit”

  1. Mike said

    See the unfortunate part about this is that 30% increase in service hours isn’t really an increase, so why that’s being said who knows. An increase in service hours would mean it would extend past 6PM. However this “increase” is just putting back all the hours during the daytime that’s been cut (the 9 – 11AM break and the Yellow/Red mess). Infact the only true increase is the Silver Route which is going all week long as opposed to two days a week.

    What the city should have said is: “with this new system, we will be able to take out the cutbacks that are currently in place”. They really should choose their words carefully. Besides what is so bad about buses running after 6PM?

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