Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Posts Tagged ‘KCATA’

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

Posted by Transit Action Network on November 17, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FMWhy is the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) re-organizing? Why has Johnson County chosen KCATA to manage their buses again after 30 years? What is the new Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) and how is it getting more money for transit and streamlining the regional paratransit services for people with disabilities? How will all these changes affect the community and transit riders?  KCATA

Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network interviews Robbie Makinen, the main architect of these transit changes, on RadioActive Magazine.

When: Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 @ 6 PM
Where: Transit Talk on RadioActive Magazine, 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio

makinenRobbie Makinen is Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for KCATA and co-chair of the Regional Transit Coordinating Council, (RTCC) a new transit council lead by KCATA and Mid America Regional Council. (His paying job is Director of Governmental Affairs at Jackson County).

Robbie shares his passion for a better transit system and his personal experiences using paratransit. He discusses the importance of re-organizing KCATA to transform it into the transportation authority it was originally meant to be, and the accomplishments of the year old RTCC.Transit_Coordinating_Council-2

Major RTCC accomplishments in first year

  • Coordinated Funding Requests and Allocations (STP, CMAQ) – A Big Win! This allocation of federal money includes the largest share of federal Surface Transportation Program dollars that transit has ever received in this region – The $10 million allocated to Jackson County toward the purchase of the Rock Island corridor came out of this process. (The county still needs another $50 million for that purchase.)
  • Regular dialogue between the transit agencies at both the staff and policy level about transit issues –seamless transit issues are a major focus of these discussions. Read TAN’s seamless transit document from 2011. Seamless Transit In the Kansas City Region We are pleased the coordinating council is working on these items and we expect to see many of these issues resolved in the short to mid-term.
  • Regional Trip Planner – A Big Win! Riders can now use Google’s trip planner for trips on any of the transit systems.
  • Interim regional pass program – A landmark agreement between the four transit agencies; the JCT 31 day pass is functioning as an interim regional pass. We don’t believe this interim solution will attract many additional users due to the high cost of the JCT monthly pass (Standard JO 31 day pass $75.60, Metro 31 day regular and express pass $50), but it is a significant cooperation agreement between the transit agencies.
  • Regional Branding and Website (In Progress) “RIDEKC” will be rolled out to the region soon. The Downtown Streetcar has already released its version of the logo.
  • Regional Map (In Progress) – the map will tie into the regional branding and website work Interactive Regional Transit Map
  • Regional Travel Training (Paratransit related)
  • Regional Paratransit Eligibility Process (In Progress as part of Mobility Management Strategies)
  • Project to coordinate paratransit services between the transit agencies (In Progress)
  • Fare Elasticity Model (complete) This model will help the transit agencies understand the impact on ridership caused by raising fares.
  • Regional Fare Study (In Progress) Identify an appropriate (we hope fair) fare structure for the region.

Recent article about Robbie Makinen by Mike Hendricks of the KC Star.

KCATA information: The KCATA Board of Commissioners meets monthly, on Wednesdays, in the Breen Administration Building, 1200 E. 18th Street, Kansas City, Mo., 64108. Meetings begin at 12:00 p.m. The next meeting is Nov 19.

KCATA board meetings are open to the public and public comments are welcome. Sign up before the meeting starts for a 3 minute comment slot.

Board of Commissioners, meeting dates, agendas and actions http://www.kcata.org/about_kcata/entries/board_of_commissioners

RTCC information: Their meeting locations alternate between KCATA and MARC. They are usually the first  Tuesday of the month, but check the website. Next meeting: January 6, 2014  at  9:00 a.m, KCATA, Breen Building.

RTCC meetings are open to the public and public comments are welcome. Sign up before the meeting starts for a 3 minute comment slot. http://www.marc.org/Transportation/Committees/Transportation-Committees/Transit-Coordinating-Council

Previous TAN article RTCC Tackles Big Transit Issues – Funding and Paratransit

Link to previous Transit Talk radio shows

The next Transit Talk on RadioActive magazine is January 6, 2015 at 6 pm.

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KKFI Transit Talk Aug 19 Special Transportation in the KC Region

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 18, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FMJameson Auten, KCATA Vice President of Regional Service Delivery, Sheila Styron, Public Policy Specialist at The Whole Person, and Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network discuss Special Transportation issues in the Kansas City region, including upcoming coordination improvements between the four transit agencies and why, no matter how disabled you are, you can only use the Johnson County Special Edition bus if you live in Johnson County.

Where: Radio Active Magazine on KKFI 90.1FM Kansas City Community Radio (KKFI.org)

When: Tuesday August 19 @ 6PM 

Listen to PODCAST:   http://content.blubrry.com/kkfi901fm/RadioActive_Magazine_2014-08-19.mp3

Auten will discuss the special transportation services available through the transit agencies and Styron will discuss the reasons for ADA transit services as well as her personal experience as a user and why she prefers to use the regular bus service as much as possible.

The American With Disabilities Act (ADA) establishes paratransit (meaning “along side” transit) eligibility rules for people with disabilities. Systems falling under the ADA guidelines are considered ADA complementary services. The services are provided for eligible individuals within ¾ of a mile from a fixed route bus service. Commuter Express services are not required to provide special transportation service for people with disabilities.

Our four transit agencies provide special transportation for people with disabilities as well as seniors, even if they don’t have disabilities. Johnson County’s service is not an ADA complementary service.

RTCC_Paratransit_service_information

The current services have various eligibility requirements, costs, hours of operations and contact numbers, and trying to use them can get quite complicated.

Earlier this year Auten made a presentation to the Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) about the fractured nature of the current services.  Auten’s presentation: RTCC Paratransit Coordination

This council has adopted the task of improving and streamlining the paratransit services in our region. TAN covered RTCC’s commitment to improve regional paratransit services  earlier this year.

RTCC Tackles Big Transit Issues – Funding and Paratransit

If a transit agency provides special transportation for Non-ADA clients, then they can set their own eligibility rules and costs for Non-ADA trips. All of the transit agencies provide Non-ADA services for seniors starting at either 60 or 65 years of age.

One of the biggest upcoming transit issues is how the aging baby boomers will impact the cost and availability of both ADA and Non-ADA services as this large segment of the population needs more transportation. Auten told us that Share-A-Fare currently has 600 people a month signing up as either renewals or new customers. Since approximately 10,000 Americans are turning 65 everyday, this sign-up number is not surprising, but it is daunting when you consider the future impact on special transportation services.

Who to contact: One of the goals of the RTCC is to have one call center to schedule all paratransit trips. Until that happens, KCTA will forward your call to the appropriate agency if you call them. Here are all the numbers and websites for the paratransit services provided by our transit agencies.

ADA and Non-ADA service

KCATA Share-A-Fare  website  816-842-9070

Unified Government Transit Dial -A-Ride  website  913-573-8351

Independence (IndeBus)  IndeAccess  website  816-461-IBUS  (816-461-4287)

Non-ADA service ONLY

This service is ONLY available to people who live in Johnson County (includes seniors and people with disabilities).

Johnson County Special Edition  website  913-782-2210

The next Transit Talk is scheduled for October 14.

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KCATA General Manager Mark E. Huffer Resigns

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 15, 2014


KCATA

KCATA press release

(Kansas City, Mo. – Aug. 15, 2014) The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority announced today that Mark E. Huffer, general manager, will leave his post effective August 22, 2014.
Huffer has served as general manager since 2000 and has positioned the agency to begin the implementation of an organization-wide restructuring designed to emphasize its capabilities and technical expertise to plan and manage regional projects.
Huffer said that with the reorganization complete, the timing was right for him to pass the mantle to new leadership at the Authority.
“This is the right time for both me and the Authority,” said Huffer. “KCATA is well positioned for the future and I have no doubt that it will continue to thrive. It is rare for a transit CEO to stay at the same agency for 14 years. One of the highlights for me has been the genuine honor of working with the great employees at KCATA.”
Under Huffer’s leadership, KCATA has seen many innovations including MAX Bus Rapid Transit on Troost Ave. and Main Street, construction of a child care/transit center at 39th & Troost, real-time passenger information at over 150 stop locations, passage of an additional 3/8-cent sales tax to support KCATA operations, and conversion of the diesel fleet to compressed natural gas.
“Mark has been a driving force for better transit at KCATA and this region for 14 years,” said Robbie Makinen, chairman of the KCATA Board of Commissioners. “He is a quiet leader who doesn’t seek credit for himself, but has guided KCATA to many improvements and innovations over the years. He has been a great asset to KCATA and he will be missed. The entire Board of Commissioners thanks Mark for his service and wishes him success in his future endeavors.”
Sam Desue, the current Vice President of Operations/COO, will serve as interim general manager.
****
The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is the largest of the four public transportation providers serving the Greater Kansas City metropolitan region. Created in 1965 through special state legislative action in both Missouri and Kansas, the KCATA today operates a fleet of more than 270 Metro buses providing more than 54,000 customer trips per weekday.

Transit Action Network enjoyed working alongside Mark Huffer to improve transit in this region. We always found Mark to be professional, helpful and informative. We wish him well in his future endeavors.

The KCATA Board of Commissioners will conduct a nationwide search for the new CEO position recently created under the agency’s re-organization plan. Huffer, along with Chairman Makinen and Vice Chairman Klika, have laid the groundwork for the Authority to take a stronger leadership role in the region.

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

Hearing: KCMO Proposed Ordinance Links TIF With Free Bus Passes

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 12, 2014


kcmo_big_logoThis Wednesday the Kansas City Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee will hear testimony on a proposed ordinance sponsored by Councilman Russ Johnson.

ORDINANCE NO. 140518   Full Text KCMO_Legislation_140518

Amending Chapter 74, the Kansas City Redevelopment Ordinance, by adding a new Article VII, Public Mass Transportation Benefit Plan, for the purpose of requiring that certain public mass transportation benefits be provided to employees as a requirement of any economic development project utilizing tax increment financing, receiving tax abatements or financed with tax-exempt instruments.

When: Wednesday August 13 at 1:30 pm
Where: Planning, Zoning & Economic Development Committee
26th floor, Council Chamber
City Hall, KCMO

The basic idea is large companies, with more than 100 full-time employees, that receive a tax incentive from the city would implement a Group Transit Plan through KCATA providing free bus passes to eligible employees for the length of the public incentive.

A Group Transit Plan is a relatively new concept in our region started by KCATA several years ago with UMKC. All students pay a small student fee per semester and their UMKC ID badge functions as a bus pass on KCATA buses. This program was recently extended to Rockhurst University. Kansas City used the same concept to work with KCATA and develop a bus pass for all employees as part of their City ID badge. Regular KCATA METRO bus passes cost $50 per month. KCMO is paying $30 per year per person for employees to have a bus pass this year. The cost may be adjusted next year as the city and KCATA evaluate the program. This new benefit for City employees went into effect in July.KCATA

This ordinance would require companies receiving a tax incentive to purchase a similar bus pass for their employees, IF KCATA works out a group plan for them at “Ordinary and Customary Charges.” The final draft of the ordinance will probably have a cap on the amount of money a company would have to pay for this employee benefit. Right now they are talking about a cap of 0.1% of the employer’s total gross payroll for the eligible employees.

This new ordinance would not affect any current tax-incentive plans. If the Kansas City Streetcar Authority has monthly passes in the future, they would come under this ordinance. Tax Incentives are programs like TIF, but the city has a lot of additional tax-incentive programs. Small companies are not affected by this ordinance.

As transit advocates we hear a lot of lip service given to public/private partnerships as a way to pay for transit, but rarely does this talk turn in to anything as tangible as improvements for service or riders. We don’t know how many companies or employees this ordinance will affect in the future, maybe not many. Maybe a lot. We don’t see this ordinance harming large corporations like CERNER, which would be one of the first companies to fall under this new ordinance as it finalizes its large tax incentives for developing the old Bannister Mall site into a new CERNER campus.

The potential benefit to employees (riders) is great and the cost is relatively small per person per year for the companies that would be subject to the ordinance.

Many large employers in Kansas City already provide either free or subsidized monthly bus passes to employees who use transit. Today a company can purchase a METRO $50 monthly pass for $45. Companies that provide these passes free to employees are paying $540 per year to provide an employee that transit benefit. Whatever a Group Transit Plan costs a company per employee, that company will receive a huge discount for a yearly pass. The difference with this plan is that everyone in the company, at that location, would receive a bus pass. This is a great way to encourage transit.

Considering the subsidies to parking that these tax-incentives usually provide, the Group Transit Plan is a small way to be more mode neutral.

Programs with potential to increase transit ridership by giving employees an incentive to use public transit in a cost-effective manner should be implemented.

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Attend Public Meetings – Redesigning Downtown KC Transit – July 17

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 14, 2014


redesign_downtown_transitKCATA is working on a comprehensive long-term downtown transit plan and they want your input. Brief presentations will introduce the downtown service concept to simplify and enhance transit options for downtown transit customers.KCATA

KCATA is proposing new/improved transit centers at 3rd and Grand, Crown Center/Union Station, West Center Loop and East Village, as well as changes to 35 different routes.

Map of Downtown Concept

Map of Downtown Concept

They want to create a more intuitive, faster, and integrated system including:

  • Transit emphasis corridors along Grand Blvd. (north and south) and 11th and 12th streets (east and west)
  • Dedicated bus lanes and improved transit stations
  • Two new transit hubs

Learn more, ask questions and tell them what do you think.

Attend: Public Community Meetings — Two meetings are being held

When: July 17, 2014

Meeting 1:

Time: 11:30am – 1pm

Where:Kansas City Central Library
Multipurpose Room, Vault Level
14 W. 10th Street, Kansas City, MO

Brief presentation at 11:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. followed by open house format. Parking garage at 10th & Baltimore

Meeting 2:

Time: 5 – 6:30pm

 Where: Kansas City Design Center
1018 Baltimore, Kansas City, MO

Brief presentation at 5:15 p.m. followed by open house format. On-street parking available

Fro more information and suggested transit routes to the meetings:  KCATA Downtown Service Improvement Concept

Print and post the invitation: invitation KC downtown transit

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Event: Opening of 105-Rosedale Route June 30

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 29, 2014


Join us at the opening event for the #105-Rosedale Route, which connects Argentine and Rosedale areas in Kansas City, Kansas.KCATA

 When: June 30th, at 11:48 am

Where: Emerson Park@ Strong Ave and S29th ST in KCK  

UG logoKCATA: Weekday ScheduleSaturday ScheduleMap

Transit advocates should rejoice since the implementation of this route is a great example of what grassroots advocacy is all about. Rosedale residents felt the need for better transit and they worked with the community residents, churches, and businesses, as well as, Transit Action Network, KCATA, Unified Government Transit and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Ks., to make this route a reality.

Help spread the word about this new route to make it a success.Rosedale_Development_Association

Beginning Monday, June 30, The Metro’s 105-Rosedale route will provide service Monday through Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The route will run every 60 minutes. On weekdays, the 105 will use a 23-seat vehicle; on Saturdays, it will use a 12-seat vehicle.

The route connects to the 104-Argentine and the 107-7th Street.

The route’s destinations include: Argentine Community Center, Argentine District, Argentine School, Cambridge Apartments, Continental Apartments, Emerson Park, Frank Rushton School, JC Harmon School, Kansas City Transitional Care Center, Mission Road Studios, Rainbow Ridge Apartments, Rosedale District, Save-A-Lot, University of Kansas Medical Center, Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, and Westwood City Hall.

For route and schedule information, contact the Regional Call Center at (816) 221-0660, weekdays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Background: Rosedale and Argentine Neighborhoods Get New Transit Service May 2014

 

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Transit Stakeholder Forum June 26

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 24, 2014


marclogoJoin MARC, KCATA and the region’s transit operators for the next Transit Stakeholder Forum on June 26.KCATA

Willoughby Design is having a followup meeting with Stakeholders to discuss branding for our regional transit system. They have crafted a branding direction based on regional feedback. Will their guidance truly be regional or will it be city-centric?

When: Thursday, June 26
5–6:30 p.m.
Where: UMKC campus, The new Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Room 414
5110 Cherry St, Kansas City, MO 64110
Metro Routes: Main St. MAX, 155, Troost MAX, 25
www.kcata.org
The JO Routes: The JO Connex/556
http://www.jocogov.org/dept/transit/home

   Parking:  Metered parking is available in the Cherry Street parking garage (Level 5), a three minute walk from the Bloch Executive Hall. Parking costs $1/hour and is cash only.For a copy of the UMKC campus map, visit http://www.umkc.edu/maps/documents/volker_maps/UMKC_Volker_campus.pdfTransit_Coordinating_Council-2

The Transit Stakeholder Forum is a public meeting where you can provide input for the Regional Transit Coordinating Council

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Summertime Transit Tag for Youths – Tranz It

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 28, 2014


METRO ogoOne of our favorite KCATA programs is Tranz It. This youth tag program only runs for three months a year, June, July and August, so a lot of people aren’t aware of it, especially in the suburbs.Tranz_It

Youths sign up for the program with KCATA and for $12 a month, 12- to 18-year-olds can get unlimited rides using Tranz It and take The Metro and MAX to work, school or anywhere The Metro goes. Considering that a regular KCATA monthly pass costs $50, this is a huge bargain. Youths 12- to 18-year-olds can always get half price tickets if they have a Youth Reduced Farecard, but for the summer, you can’t beat the convenience and cost of Tranz It and young people don’t have to carry cash to use the bus.

The summer tag program provides young people an opportunity for independence and freedom in the summer they may lack without a car. Of course there are all the KCATA fixed bus routes that cover much of the metro area, but the local MetroFlex routes are often unknown to young riders. During the school year the more limited MetroFlex service hours make it unavailable to most students. In the summer though, young people need to include these buses when considering a trip. These routes are for anyone, not just older riders or commuters. For instance, if you live in Lee’s Summit and would like a summer job at your local fast food chain but can’t figure out how to get there — look into Lee’s Summit Route 252 MetroFlex. If you live and work in the service area and want to use the bus during the service hours, it will pick you up at home, deliver you to work and return you at the end of your shift. Or you can go to the movies or the shopping districts with your friends. You have to call the previous day to schedule a trip on any MetroFlex, but Route 252 service runs weekdays from 7:30 am until 5 pm and covers much of Lee’s Summit.

http://www.kcata.org/maps_schedules/routes/252_lees_summit_metroflex

Many of the MetroFlex routes have good connections to regular fixed routes. Check out these MetroFlex routes: #296 Bannister/Hillcrest,  #253 Raytwon, #237 Gladstone/Antioch, #296 and #298 South KC and #244 North KC MetroFlex.

KCATA’s MetroFlex guide: http://www.kcata.org/rider_guide/metroflex_on_demand

So get your TRANZ IT, plan your trip, call ahead if you are using a MetroFlex, and enjoy the fun summer activities or find a bus or MAX to that important summer job.

All youths should practice good safety habits when traveling and be sure to tell your family where you are going, who you are going with and when you will be home.

Enjoy the summer on the BUS!!!

For more information on Tranz It call 816-221-0610 or read KCATA’s bulletin:  http://www.kcata.org/rider_bulletins/tranz_it_lets_youths_ride

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Transit Talk on KKFI 90.1FM May 20 at 6PM

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 19, 2014


KKFI 90.1 FMJoin Transit Action Network as we interview KCATA General Manager Mark Huffer and KCATA Director of System Development Dick Jarrold Tuesday at 6pm.
Topics: Prospect MAX (the often overlooked part of the streetcar expansion plan), the Compressed Natural Gas conversion of the KCATA bus fleet, and an introduction to the work of the new Regional Transit Coordinating Council.

Where: Radio Active Magazine (previously Mic Check)  on KKFI 90.1FM Community Radio

When: Tuesday May 20 at 6pm    Podcast of show: LINK TO MAY 20 SHOW 

 

 

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Regional Transit Coordinating Council Meeting May 14

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 13, 2014


marclogoTransit_Coordinating_Council-2Attend the Regional Transit Coordinating Council’s next meeting

When: May 14, 2014 @ 1:30 pm
Where: Mid-America Regional Council
600 Broadway Ste. 200, Kansas City, Missouri 64105KCATA

This council is having a real impact on regional transit issues.

Tomorrow’s meeting will cover

  1. Quick Wins: Regional Call Center Integration, Google Transit Feed, and Fare Study Update
  2. Presentation on Regional Branding Strategy – Willoughby Design will present the regional transit brand process, discuss public feedback gathered to date, and next steps.
  3. Transit Project List for Transportation Outlook 2040 and Missouri Statewide Tax and Priorities
  4. Programming and Planning
    1. Paratransit Coordination Work Plan
    2. Special Transportation- Job Access Partnership and RTCC Update
    3. Project Applications (CMAQ, STP, TA) Follow-Up
    4. TIGER VI Application
  5. Transit Stakeholder Forum Update and Next Meeting – Staff will present outcomes of March 27th meeting and discuss next meeting

There is a public comment section at the beginning of the meeting. You must sign up.

 

 

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Watch the APTA Bus Roadeo at Kemper Arena Sunday May 4

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 2, 2014


APTA_Bus_RoadeoThe APTA (American Public Transportation Association) is holding its 2014 International Bus Roadeo, and Bus and Paratransit Conference in Kansas City, May 2-7.

The 2014 International Bus Roadeo Competition will be held on Sunday, May 4, at the Kemper Arena and it is open to the public.

Seventy bus operators will showcase their skills in safe driving by maneuvering different size buses. The Operator Competition includes events such as pre-trip inspection, judgment stops, turning, and clearing obstacles. Thirty-two maintenance teams will show their vehicle maintenance skills. The Mechanic Competition requires skills in the identification of defects in engine, transmission, brakes, multiplex and HVAC modules.

 

 

WHO:           International Bus Roadeo Competition
WHAT:        Bus Operators Competition and a troubleshooting Maintenance Competition
WHEN:        May 4,   8:00-11:30 a.m. & 1:00 – 3:30 p.m.
WHERE:      Kemper Arena, 1600 Genessee Street, Kansas City, MO

The winners for the International Bus Roadeo will be announced at an awards dinner on Tuesday, May 6.

Starting on Monday May 5, the conference opening session is a presentation on ADA issues.

ADA – The Human Side of Providing Lawful Service

Speaker: Donna Smith, director of training, Easter Seals Project ACTION, Washington, DC

Description: Why do we really do what we do?

APTA 2014 International Bus Roadeo

 APTA 2014 Bus & Paratransit Conference

Conference Schedule for Roadeo

Conference Schedule for Paratransit

 

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Streetcar Steering Committee Releases Recommendations and Draft Report

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 25, 2014


Next_RailTransit Action Network hasn’t had an opportunity to fully evaluate the streetcar recommendations from this morning’s meeting of the Steering Committee, or to read through the whole draft report, but we wanted to share some early insights. Full draft report:KansasCityStreetcarPhaseIIPlanDRAFTv4

The recommended endpoints for the routes have been well publicized today:Recommendations_KCStreetcarPhaseIIPlanDRAFTv4

  • Independence Avenue route: terminus Benton Avenue;
  • Linwood Route: terminus Prospect Avenue;
  • Main Street route: terminus Volker (vicinity of UMKC).

This system would add an additional 7.6 miles to the Downtown Streetcar for a total of 9.8 miles. The Prospect MAX recommendation is 9.1 miles long.

Even with these shortened routes, the projected ridership numbers are significantly higher than estimated earlier in the preliminary report last November. With this phase of the study, we became one of the first cities in the nation to use the FTA’s new ridership model, STOPS (Simplified Trips‐on‐Project Software), and no one really knew what to expect. Increased ridership numbers improve the chances of qualifying for federal New Starts funds. Information on the different ridership scenarios is on pages 82/83 of the report. Depending on operating frequency, ridership in this system is expected to rise between 19% and 36% over the current bus ridership.

Average ridership KCStreetcarPhaseIIPlanDRAFTv4The biggest change is the recommendation to change the boundaries of the TDD and the number of property owners subject to the special property tax assessment. The new map still has to be adopted by the City Council on Thursday, so this is still under discussion. It is interesting to note that the Brookside and Waldo area, and everything south of Gregory have been removed like a big bite out of the original taxing district, yet most of the area east of the proposed streetcar line is still intact.KansasCityStreetcarPhaseIIPlanDRAFTv4 This was already pointed out by Yael Abouhalkah of The Star when he tweeted this morning:   

KCStreetcar fact: Brooksiders few blocks away from line won’t be in TDD. East Siders MILES away will be in TDD. Fair?

The special property tax assessment would only be applied to properties within 1/3 of a mile of the streetcar line instead of ½ mile.

The recommendation has shortened the routes (a decrease in cost) while shrinking the size of the TDD (a decrease in revenue). As a result, even if the Federal government provides 50% of the capital costs, the project funding is over $53 million short, as discussed on pages 114/115 of the report.  As the report states: “The consultant team recognizes that a $53,000,000 funding gap in this financial model is not insignificant.”

The project team suggests several scenarios to make up the funding difference. Notice that one of the methods to make up “some” of this gap is continuing to use $2 million out of the ½ cent transportation sales tax fund, which also pays for the bus system. The current ordinance makes this amount the maximum amount allowed to divert to the streetcar, but the City Council has reminded us repeatedly and emphatically that they could change the ordinances anytime they wanted.

We are still concerned about how the streetcar will integrate with the bus system and we understand that council members, KCATA and the study team are all still investigating these operating concerns. Transit Action Network originally highlighted this issue at MARC before it was on most people’s radar, but it is extremely important to riders. There is some basic information on page 81 in the report about bus integration, but this is still in a preliminary stage. At this point, there are forced transfers in the plan: Route 24 would be eliminated west of Benton and only run east of Benton to feed the streetcar, and Main Street MAX would be eliminated north of 51st Street with a possible exception during rush hour –“Limited through bus service from the Waldo/ Brookside area may be provided to continue to provide a “one seat ride” for commuters to the downtown area.” They aren’t clear about reducing the 31st street bus but want to do more study.

Integration between the streetcar and  the bus in the same corridor affects ridership projections because forced transfers reduce ridership, but more importantly it affects how riders will use the streetcar/bus system to travel in the corridor. Will riders continue to have a one-seat trip to major destinations, or will they be forced to transfer between the streetcar and the bus? The report acknowledges this:

SW  TDD corner

SW TDD corner

“In some cases, streetcar service may replace all or part of existing bus routes. Where this occurs, options to minimize transfers and maintain some level of through-service should be explored. “

Overall, there is a lot to digest, and the Council has important decisions to consider when it holds a public hearing Thursday morning (9 am, City Hall) before a joint meeting of the Planning and Economic Development and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. Although the report is 832 pages long, the most relevant content of the report is in the first 135 pages.

 

 

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Attend Transit Stakeholders Forum Mar 27

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 24, 2014


all transit agenciesJoin the discussion about regional branding!

Don’t miss the second Transit Stakeholders Forum. This forum gives everyone an opportunity to provide input into decision-making for Kansas City’s regional transit system. This meeting will focus on the regional branding effort. All of the transit providers (KCATA, Johnson County Transit, Unified Government Transit, Inde Bus and eventually the streetcar) will operate under one umbrella logo, or “regional co-brand” while maintaining their individual identities. Please attend and provide your perspective.

The results of this discussion will provide input to the Regional Transit Coordinating Council and help define the core values and other branding elements that will represent our regional transit system.

A regional co-brand is an important step toward future cohesion of the region’s transit system. The new brand will apply to future initiatives like a one-stop regional transit website, a fare collection system, and a regional transit map. It will help existing users more easily navigate a region-wide system and help attract new transit users.

When: Thursday, March 27 @ 5-6:30 p.m.
Where: Kauffman Foundation Conference Center,
4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110
Metro Routes: Metro 25, Troost MAX, 47
The JO Routes: The JO Connex/556

You can submit a comment or question if you can’t attend.  Please email smartmoves@marc.org.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/228917683967865/?ref=2&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

 

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State Ave. CONNEX Gets Big Buses Jan 5

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 23, 2013


UG logoRiders Rejoice!  The 101 – State Avenue CONNEX route in Wyandotte County/KCK will start using large buses seven days a week on January 5, 2014.connex

TAN advocated for this upgrade and we are extremely happy that the change is being made.

We recently communicated with Mayor Holland and reminded him of the commitment he made last February during our candidate forum to alleviate the overcrowded conditions on this route when it changed to a Connex service . UGT was expecting about 1400-1600 riders daily when the Connex route started, but instead they have seen days with 2200-2300 riders.

Even though the mayor, commissioners and the city administrator knew how overcrowded this route was, they had to find a way to pay the additional $230,000 yearly for the larger buses. UGT and KCATA worked with everyone to find a financial solution. Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds will provide 80% the money next year with Unified Government providing the local matching funds.  Read KCATA’s news release

Now riders can enjoy more room on the buses as well as the improved facilities provided by the TIGER grant.

Transit Trends in UG

Recently Unified Government has been improving transit when there is a demonstrated need, such as the planned Rosedale/Argentine line. TAN hopes this favorable attitude toward transit continues.

In 2012 Mayor (then Commissioner) Holland  worked with TAN when we successfully advocated for large buses on Saturdays for this same route.

Last February we questioned the mayoral candidates about this very issue and received a campaign commitment from then candidate Holland.

Mayor Holland answered our forum question regarding the already overcrowded Route #101 with a resounding commitment to improve the service later in the year.

Question: Route 101 will change to the Connex service later this year. Will you make sure that the upgrade in service level is enough to alleviate the current overcrowded conditions, without negatively impacting other services?

 Mark Holland – Absolutely. It looks like this improvement will make a huge difference.

See all of his answers in our the February forum. http://wp.me/pV5fE-1rK

Unified Government does not have any revenue dedicated to transit like Kansas City, MO does, but prefers to allocate funds as needed.  Their local transit funds come out of the General Revenue account, so it is good to see the County providing additional funds for transit when a definite need arises.

TAN particularly appreciates the commitment to better transit from Mayor Holland, Commissioner Murguia and the Assistant County Administrator, Gordon Criswell (who is in charge of transit). Commissioner Murguia is now a member of MARC’s Total Transportation Policy Committee, which means we will see her on a regular basis to discuss transit issues in Wyandotte County.

Riders, enjoy the large buses!

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Attend the First Transit Stakeholder Forum – Dec 17

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 9, 2013


marclogoMid-America Regional Council (MARC) has announced the first meeting date for the new Transit Stakeholder Forum.Transit_Stakeholder_Fourm-2

When: December 17, 2013,  5 pm to 6:30 pm
Where: Mid-America Regional Council
600 Broadway, Suite 200, Kansas City, Mo

No membership is required for this forum and meetings are open to the public.

This meeting marks the beginning of a new chapter in transit outreach in the region. This forum provides an opportunity for public feedback from users, potential users and advocates to improve the transit experience in KC.

MARC wants to widen participation in transit discussions by including all interested parties and getting positive feedback for improvements to the regional transit system.

From the MARC website:

This forum provides public input for the Transit Coordinating Council, which advises MARC, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and local transit partners and jurisdictions on issues, such as regional transit planning, coordination and implementation of priorities.Transit_Coordinating_Council-2 The goals for this forum include:

  • Providing input to the area stakeholders about improvement of accessibility of area transit services.
  •  Providing input on the expansion of regional transit services, in ways that are consistent with the Smart Moves Regional Transit Vision.
  •  Allowing for some interaction with members of the Transit Coordinating Council or members of partner agencies and MARC representatives.

The Transit Stakeholder Forum (TSF) and the Transit Coordinating Council (TCC) work together to replace the MARC Transit Committee. The TCC has already started working on system improvements toward achieving seamless transit and part of the first meeting will be spent presenting those changes and asking for input to make the improvements even better. Some improvements include an online interactive regional transit map for the whole system and getting Google Trip Planner and the Regional Call Center to work for the whole system. Read our previous post New Transit Coordinating Council Off To a Good Start to see what TCC has been working on.

The meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to meet with representatives from each of the transit agencies.

This meeting is not a one-time event, although the Forum doesn’t currently have a meeting schedule. A meeting schedule should be discussed at the first meeting. The TSF is one of MARC’s standing committees and it functions as an adjunct to the TCC. They need to work together to get the best results.

The TSF can help minimize or eliminate the barriers to seamless travel in the KC region and provide a better transit system, but only if the public gets involved. The biggest challenge will be to make improvements within the limited funds available for public transit. TCC is already working to increase those funds.

TAN has advocated for a public transit forum for a long time.  Now that we have it, let’s make it a success!

If you are unable to attend this meeting and wish to submit a comment or questions through TAN, please send us an email at TransActionKC@gmail.com See you on December 17th!!!

See MARC’s webpage for the Transit Stakeholder Forum

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New Transit Coordinating Council Off To a Good Start

Posted by Transit Action Network on November 15, 2013


marclogoTransit Action Network is very pleased with the initial efforts of the new regional Transit Coordinating Council (TCC), which is co-chaired by Robbie Makinen of Jackson County and Chairman of the KCATA Board, and the mayor of Mission KS and MARC board member, Laura McConwell.

Robbie Makinen of Jackson County and Chairman of the KCATA Board, and the mayor of Mission KS and MARC board member, Laura McConwell

Robbie Makinen of Jackson County and Chairman of the KCATA Board, and the mayor of Mission KS and MARC board member, Laura McConwell

The new council partially replaces the MARC Transit Committee. The Council consists of local policy officials, and transit and planning professionals.

METRO ogoThe Council has had two meetings, Sept 4th and Nov 6th.

The fractured nature of the region’s transit is well-known so this council is very welcome. It was heartening for transit advocates to hear major regional players actively engaged and enthusiastic about improving transit.

One of the major actions taken by the Council was the establishment of the Transit Stakeholder Forum (TSF). This new forum is an adjunct to the TCC and together the two committees replace the previous MARC Transit Committee. TSF will be an open public meeting and transit riders, potential riders and advocates can comment and provide input on the projects the TCC is working on as well as make additional suggestions. MARC is expected to announce the date of the first meeting soon.

At its first meeting the Transit Coordinating Council developed a set of six priorities, “quick wins”,

At the second meeting they discussed progress on these items.

1. Regional Pass and Fare Reciprocity

First TCC meeting Sept 4, 2103

First TCC meeting Sept 4, 2103

  • Near term implementation of the The JO monthly pass as a defacto regional pass. The JO monthly pass would be accepted on all regional routes, except the premium express buses. This extends The JO monthly pass reciprocity to Unified Government Transit and IndeBus. The JO monthly pass is already accepted on the Metro. This pass costs $75.60. This change is an important step toward regional pass reciprocity but we doubt if it will affect many riders.
  • There was no discussion about The JO accepting the Metro monthly pass with a $1 up-charge as was mentioned in the draft report. We hope this change can be implemented soon but it is still awaiting approval. This change would have the largest impact on riders since people with Metro monthly passes could reduce the current cost of using The JO.
  • An effort to solve the long-term fare reciprocity issue is being addressed with a regional fare study.  The goal is to make fares consistence and improve fare recovery ratios. KCATA fares bring in about 15% of the cost, but the other agencies recovery ratios are lower. They plan to develop a “fare elasticity model” in order to make better decisions about the best time and amount to raise fares. This model helps to project the net impact on revenue since a fare increase usually causes a decrease in ridership.  Expect completion of the study early in 2014.

2. Regional Transit Call Center

  • Work is being done to get IndeBus schedules integrated into the Regional Call Center  (RCC) database so Independence can use the system. Independence still has to decide to fund the additional cost of using the RCC. IndeBus is the only agency not currently using the RCC.
  • The long-term plan is to integrate all the different regional paratrasnit services so they can use the RCC.
  • MoDOT’s 511 call function will be updated to provide a simple way to reach the RCC operator.

3. Regional Trip Planning and General Transit Feed Specification (Google Transit Feed)

TCC meeting Nov 6

TCC meeting Nov 6

  • Independence is in the process of reconfiguring its transit data to work with the industry standard, Google Transit. IndeBus is the only provider not on this system. This change will make the whole system available for regional trip planning using Google’s Trip Planner.

4. Regional Route Map and Regional Transit Service Website

  • MARC has developed a dynamic online service map.  It was made available online on Nov 6th   http://kcsmartmoves.org/ You can drill down to see the routes and link to the appropriate website. All of the regional routes are on the map. This capability is really exciting. It will be available on the transit agencies websites in the near future.
  • A printed regional map is planned in 2014.

5. Regional Transit Branding

  • A request for proposals was released on Nov. 6th to get bids for a designer to develop a coordinated regional transit brand to use as an umbrella image for all regional services. They plan to select a consultant Fall 2013
  • Branding and website development, material, marketing etc. should take place in 2014.

6. Passenger Amenity Standards

  • KCATA is developing standard passenger amenity thresholds for deploying various passenger amenities based on the number of passenger boardings at a stop.
  • Guidelines will be circulated and a technical team will review, finalize and forward for approvals as necessary. Target date 2014

TCC also accepted a workplan for 2014, which includes the items already mentioned as well as:

  • Develop regional transit performance measures and informational reports
  • Support the coordination of local study efforts
  • Initiate coordination of local paratransit services and related customer information
  • Assess and identify the best use of federal transportation funding.

The 2013 workplan requires $45 thousand for regional branding. The 2014 workplan estimates $110 thousand for the regional website/brand deployment and the Fare study. All of these budget items have been covered by local contributions.

TCC will be responsible for programming approximately $1.8 million annually of Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds for FY 2015, 2016 and maybe 2017.  Additional projects may be considered from this funding source.

In addition, STP (Surface Transportation Projects) funds of $35 million, which are programmed by another committee, will be asking for projects soon. Traditionally transit projects have had a hard time getting a share of STP funds. The streetcar was successful but that isn’t the norm. TCC decided that a larger coordinated regional project would have a better chance of receiving STP funding than smaller individual transit projects submitted separately by the transit agencies or individual jurisdictions. The committee scheduled a special meeting to Tuesday, December 3 at 9 am at MARC in order to be proactive about creating a regional application.

TCC is still working to define itself and understand its role in the region. Another function we believe the TCC should embrace is being consulted on all transit issues of regional significance. TCC needs to make itself heard and exert its presence and importance as it goes forward. For instance, recently KCMO approved Cerner’s Bannister and I-435 project, including huge incentives, but with NO requirements relating to public transit in Ordinance 130768. Cerner plans to have 15,000 employees at this location. This project is of regional significance and deserves a regional transportation impact analysis, including consultation with TCC regarding the potential for improving transit service both to the project site and throughout the I-435/I-470 corridor.

The Council plans to alternate venues between MARC and KCATA. The Council is set up to meet on a bi-monthly basis. In the off months, transit staff and MARC staff will work on the Council’s priorities.

The TCC meetings are open to the public and there is a public comment period at the end of the meeting.

TAN is very pleased with the progress and direction of the new council. We expect it to exert a positive coordinating influence on transit in our region.

MARC’s TCC presentation presented earlier this year at the  MARC Transit Committee. Presentation_RegionalTransitCoordinatingCouncilConcept011513

MARC’s website link  Transit Coordinating Council

TCC members TCC Members_092013

TAN is very engaged in seamless transit and achieving it is one of our main missions.  When Co-chair Makinen asked for our input last August we submitted a list of twelve items to him and Tom Gerend, Assistant Director of Transportation at MARC, to consider for inclusion in the TCC workplan. We are pleased that we are all on the same page about seamless transit and so many of our initial issues are being addressed.

TAN Recommendations for TCC agenda

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Public Meeting About A Possible Prospect MAX – Oct 22

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 21, 2013


METRO logoKCATA, City of Kansas City, MO, and Mid-America Regional Council are having a public meeting to discuss the possibility of a MAX line on Prospect from Downtown to South Kansas City.

When: Oct 22, 5 pm to 7 pm
Where: Emmanuel’s Community Center, 3510 Prospect Ave., Kansas City, MO 64128MAX brt

The planning process in underway so it is important to get input from customers and area residents.

At the meeting:

  • See and tour a MAX bus
  • Ask questions about possible MAX service and submit comments
  • Enjoy complimentary appetizers

Bus connections: Take 71-Prospect or 35-35th Street to the community center. Plan a trip online or call 816-221-0660 for assistance with schedules.

KCATA link   Let’s Talk Prospect MAX

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Attend the Midtown MetroCenter Grand Opening, KCK, Sept 27

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 25, 2013


Celebrate the opening of the largest transit center in the region. TIGER

What: Midtown KCK MetroCenter Grand Opening
Where: 47th and State Avenue, Kansas City, Kan. (Indian Springs)
When: Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, 10 a.m.

UG logoThis is the second transit center to open related to the new State Avenue Connex service, a major east-west route in the region. The new transit center is part of the $10.5 TIGER (Transportation Improvements Generating Economic Recovery) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation that the State Avenue corridor received.

Other TIGER-funded enhancements along the State Avenue corridor include bus stop platforms; passenger shelters and benches; and landscaping and environment improvements.

After the opening ceremonies, stay for the party.

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TIGER Grant Reduces Need To Take Money From The Buses

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 15, 2013


TIGERTransit Action Network is very excited about the city receiving the Federal $20 million TIGER grant. These grants are very competitive and there are a lot more applications than there is money to distribute.

We congratulate Kansas City on its successful application. As the US Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, told  the Kansas City Star when he was in Kansas City on September 6 to announce the grant,  “The community has its act together in a big way,” he said. “Coming together to put an 80 percent match on the table — we know what the overall vision for Kansas City is.”

DTSC

You may wonder why the city only had 80% of the money. The 20% streetcar-funding shortfall that Foxx referred to happened when Kansas City decided to reduce the top rates for the TDD (Transportation Development District) property tax prior to the streetcar election. In the original plan, the top property tax rates, combined with the sales tax, would have fully funded the streetcar from revenue collected within the TDD. In order to close the funding gap the city created, the city plans to take $2 million a year from the revenue generated by the city-wide 1/2 cent Transportation Sales Tax. This sales tax is used to pay for bus service. Since the federal government is now filling that funding gap through the TIGER grant, the city shouldn’t need to tap the half-cent sales tax. Applying that yearly $2 million toward bus service would come close to paying for a new MAX line on Prospect, or on another urban corridor such as Independence Avenue or North Oak Trafficway. METRO logo

We hope the city will do the right thing and use this TIGER grant money to fill the streetcar funding gap, thereby reducing or eliminating entirely the amount taken from the ½ cent Transportation Sales Tax. The federal TIGER grant for the streetcar is a huge win for everyone, provided the city uses it to restore money that would otherwise be diverted from the bus system.

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Ribbon Cuttings KCK Metro Centers – Aug 9 and Sept 27, New Connex Service – Aug 11

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 5, 2013


INVITATION_7th_Street_METROCENTER.jpg_and_Document1 Kansas City, Kansas has a lot to celebrate with the start of the new Route #101 State Avenue Connex service and the opening of two new Metro Centers.

Join them for the first ribbon cutting:TIGER

What: Downtown KCK MetroCenter Grand Opening

Where: 7th and Minnesota

When: Friday, August 9, 2013, 10–11 a.m.

For more information about the grand opening, visit the Unified Government Transit website.

In addition, the Route #101 State Avenue CONNEX service will start Sunday, August 11th.

There are changes to the route from the current alignment, especially in downtown KCK where the route will be straightened out along Minnesota Ave.

New Alignment effective Aug. 11, 2013

New CONNEX Alignment effective Aug. 11, 2013

The new service and transit center will affect these routes:

101-Minnesota-State Ave.
102-Central Ave.
103-3rd Street-Fairfax
104-Argentine
106-Quindaro
107-7th Street
115-Kansas Avenue

The changes to these seven routes serving downtown KCK should create more convenient connections between Metro and Unified Government Transit routes.

For details of route and schedule changes see the related KCATA  bulletin.

The next ribbon cutting is scheduled for September 27th at the 47th Street Midtown KCK MetroCenter (47th and State Avenue/Indian Springs).

These transit centers are part of Kansas City’s $50 million TIGER (Transportation Improvements Generating Economic Recovery) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Other TIGER-funded enhancements along the State Avenue corridor include bus stop platforms; passenger shelters and benches; landscaping and environment improvements.

Watch the  TIGER Progress Report  episode 9 to learn more about local transportation and transit improvements, including construction of the 7th and Minnesota Transit Center.

To learn more about the impact of TIGER on the Kansas City region, visit www.marc.org/TIGER.

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