Speak Out Against Proposed JO Service Cuts
Posted by Transit Action Network on June 19, 2012
“The proposed cuts would eliminate my ability to use the bus and without a car, I’d be entirely reliant on car pooling (to get to work). It’s very disheartening.” — TAN advocate and JO rider when she saw the proposed cuts.
Johnson County Transit (JCT) has announced proposed service changes for 2013 (2013Change0614DRAFT). They plan to eliminate 8 routes and reduce or modify 9 other routes. There is time to save The JO. This is an “opportunity” and “challenge” for riders to organize to both save and promote their routes, but be clear that these cuts are real and potentially permanent if they aren’t stopped. There are public meetings with the Commissioners and Johnson County Transit but if you want to have an impact ACT NOW. Even if you don’t ride The JO but you care about transit in our region, please get involved.
1. Contact the County Commissioners
- Although there are public hearings later in July, the Final Fiscal Year 2013 Budget discussions for the Commissioners are July 2-3, so contact them before that (continue to contact them after July 3rd)
- Tell them why The JO is important to you
- Ask them to make a long-term commitment to improving and expanding public transit in Johnson County
- Ask them to maintain, not cut, The JO service in 2013, since they are not cutting the funding in 2013
- Contact them at the phone numbers shown below or visit their website at http://bocc.jocogov.org/ and send an email.
- If you can, contact them again for a status report
2. Use Social Media to contact both Johnson County Commissioners and JCT
- Let them know what you think about the proposed transit cuts
- Ask them to improve and expand public transit, not shrink it!
3. Comments to JCT on proposed changes can be made via e-mail, phone, mail
- E-mail: Comments@thejo.com
- Mail: Johnson County Transit, 1701 West 56 Highway, Olathe, Kansas 66061
- Phone: 913-715-8255 – record your message
4. Contact your mayor or councilperson in Johnson County
- Tell your local officials how important The JO is to you.
- Ask your city officials to contact the County Commissioners and JCT to maintain, improve and expand The JO
5. Organize your bus
- Sign a petition to save your bus and deliver it to Johnson County Commissioners and a copy to JCT
- Attend the public meetings as a group with signs and an organized presentation
6. Write letters to the Editor of the KC Star
- Mail to The Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO. 64108.
- Letters can be up to 200 words
7. Attend Public Hearings to be held by Johnson County Transit
a. DATES and TIMES:
- Monday July 9, 2012, 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
- Wednesday July 11, 2012, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
b. LOCATION: Sylvester Powell Community Center at 6200 Martway in Mission, Kansas. (both hearings)
- Ask them not to make service cuts this year, since the budget doesn’t require it. These are “voluntary” cuts at this point. Don’t make major service cuts that aren’t absolutely necessary.
- Ask them to do a better job advertising the service. Several routes have poor ridership because no one knows they exist. Example: Route 667 is underused. Except for the new map/schedule poster at 6000 Lamar, the only visible evidence of this route is when one of the buses goes past.
8. EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: Attend the Final FY 2013 Budget public meeting with the Board of County Commissioners
a. DATE and TIME: Monday July 23, 2012 at 7:00 p.m
b. LOCATION: BoCC meeting room, Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry, Olathe, KS 66061
- Ask them to maintain The JO service level
- Ask them to expand and improve transit
- Tell them how important The JO is to people. (Without this public input, County budget cuts will be enacted for 2014 and beyond to match the reduced service levels.)
We previously described The JO’s budget problems (Save The JO – Contact JOCO Commissioners ). The 2013 budget being proposed has enough money for JCT to basically keep current service levels. Johnson County Transit (JCT) is cutting The JO service in 2013 because they’ve been told that the money won’t be there in future years. At this point, these service reductions are mainly “voluntary”. Once the service is cut it will be much harder to get it back. We need to convince the Commissioners that one of the richest counties in the country needs to adequately fund public transit.
It will take public outcry to budge the County Commissioners and get them to reassure JCT that they will have ongoing funding to maintain service levels. The JO cuts are in response to direction from the Commissioners about the future.
A better solution involves the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners making a commitment to transit which improves and expands The JO. At present, The JO is primarily a commuter service into downtown Kansas City, but that service needs to expand to serve jobs, shopping, entertainment, education, medical and other activities within the county. Johnson County has been highly successful at attracting jobs, but it is almost impossible to get to most of those jobs by public transit. Johnson County’s lack of transit service is the main reason our region came out 90th of 100 cities in our ability to get to jobs using public transit in a 2011 Brookings Institution Report (How Our Region Should Respond to the Brookings Report). In addition to people who currently use The JO to get to work in Downtown Kansas City, more and more of the workers in Johnson County need this service to get to work.
Routes Proposed for Elimination
- Route 546/D – Johnson-Quivira
- Route 667/E – Nall-Downtown
- Route 669/I – KCK-Lenexa-Olathe
- Route 672/M – JoCo-Downtown Midday
- Route 676/P – Paola-Spring Hill-Olathe
- Route 677/R – Downtown-Olathe
- Route 810 – De Soto FlexRide
- Route 816 – Spring Hill Shuttle
Routes Proposed for Service Modification and/or Reduction
- Route 556 – Metcalf-Plaza: Modify route timing due to Transit Signal Priority; modify the 95th & Metcalf bus stop; modify service south of 119th Street.
- Route 575 – 75th Street-Quivira: Eliminate five trips, reduce service frequency to 60 minutes during peak hours.
- Route 660 – Antioch-Downtown: Eliminate earliest p.m. southbound trip; extend all trips to K-7 & Santa Fe.
- Route 661 – Olathe Xpress: Adjust 5:55 a.m. northbound trip to start at 6:00 a.m.
- Route 664 – Metcalf-Downtown: Eliminate two trips and adjust service to operate every 30 minutes, with “reverse commute” service every 60 minutes.
- Route 670/L – Gardner-OP Xpress: Reduce “reverse commute” service and eliminate one southbound p.m. trip.
- Route 673/N – South OP Xpress: Eliminate last southbound p.m. trip; add early southbound p.m. trip to reduce overcrowding.
- Route 856 – Metcalf-Plaza Flex: Eliminate midday service south of 119th Street.
- Route 875 – 75th Street-Quivira Flex: Consolidate the schedule to reduce travel time and allow less slack time for flex trips; adjust service frequency.
Additional information from the Johnson County Transportation Council meeting packet:
- The Connex routes are being reduced with a goal to reduce service by $400,000 to ‘stretch’ the CMAQ funds through 2013. With the relocation of Wright Business College at 103rd and Metcalf, JCT had a 13% increase in ridership on the Connex routes during the first few weeks of the school term.
- While not listed at this time, staff is also reviewing the impact of service reductions and/or elimination of the Route 812 – JO FLEX (operating within the City of Overland Park). At this point, staff’s primary concern is that Special Edition will be severely impacted by JO FLEX riders displaced by a potential reduction or elimination of the service.
Additional important JCT dates
- July 30 – Deadline for submitting public input
- July 30 – August 3 – JCT staff evaluate public input and prepare final service recommendations based on the estimated/proposed FY 2013 transit budget
- August 9 – BOCC adopts FY 2013 Budget
- August 14 – JCT staff presents final recommendations to JCTC at Council Meeting
Please contact your commissioners!!!