Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Archive for June, 2010

June Open Thread

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 24, 2010

Got a thought about transit?  Maybe it’s a new idea or a question or just a beef about some transit situation.  Post it here.  Please limit your comment to about 200 words — but if you write something really good — whether we agree or not — we might tolerate more.  And, of course, we reserve the right to refuse your post if it’s abusive or too far off the (transit) topic. Make it about substantive issues not personalities.

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Transit Adventure: A Trip to Harry’s Town via KCATA and Amtrak

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 18, 2010

Jayson lives in Midtown Kansas City.  A few months ago he decided to go carless, and he started a blog,, to write about his experiences.  He posts occasional reports about his transit adventures, and we especially like the one about a trip he and a friend took from Kansas City to Independence (KCATA Route 24 from Downtown) and return via Amtrak to Union Station.  It’s a pretty easy half-day trip, but you will probably want to make train reservations in advance,, to avoid an extra charge.  Amtrak fare is generally $8 for adults (second adult and senior tickets are less) and $4 for kids 2-15.  Here’s his account of the trip:

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The JO Will Expand Service in July

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 15, 2010

Johnson County Transit

June 12, 2010

Johnson County Transit has released tentative information about new and expanded routes that will begin in July.  This expanded service represents a significant step toward providing “real” public transit in Johnson County .

Metcalf / Plaza

Route 556 will replace Route H, connecting 135th and Metcalf with MAX at the Plaza, via Metcalf Avenue and Shawnee Mission Parkway .  There will be five morning round trips, and five northbound and four southbound evening trips.  We don’t know if 556 will extend eastward to Troost as Route H currently does.

Route 856 will provide three round trips of midday flexible service in the 556 corridor between 10 am and 3 pm.  Presumably this will be so-called “route deviation” service, with buses operating on a fixed schedule but able to go off-route to make pre-arranged pick-ups or drop-offs along the corridor.

75th Street / JCCC

Route 575 is a new route connecting MAX at 75th and Wornall with Johnson County Community College via 75th Street and Quivira Road .  There will be four morning and four evening round trips.

Route 875 will provide three round trips of midday flexible service in the 575 corridor between 10:30 am and 3 pm.  Buses will operate on a fixed schedule but able to go off-route to make pre-arranged pick-ups or drop-offs along the corridor.

Schedules are not yet available.

The JO is gradually switching from letters to numbers for route identifiers.

Why the different route numbers for midday service in the 556 and 575 corridors?  JCT will define 556 and 575 as “commuter” routes, which are exempt from the requirement to provide “ADA complementary service” during those periods.  Midday, such service is provided by the flexible nature of routes 856 and 875.  Complementary (not complimentary) service is a requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Source of this information is the agenda packet for the June 9 meeting of the Johnson County Transportation Council (pages 24-25).


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MARC will Host Webinar on Transportation and Climate Change

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 13, 2010

June 13 – Mid-America Regional Council will host a local viewing of a national webinar from the US Department of Transportation on Wednesday, June 16, from Noon until 1:30 pm at its offices, 600 Broadway.  You may bring your own lunch if you wish; drinks will be provided.  No need to register, but an RSVP to Lisa Pool at MARC is recommended.

The webinar is about a newly-released USDOT report to Congress, Transportation’s Role in Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions — see press release:
It might be a little wonkish for some, but we think it’ll be worth seeing, especially since improved public transit will be a part of our nation’s response to climate change.


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KCATA Commissioners approve Comprehensive Service Analysis

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 6, 2010

May 26. Ron McLinden and Janet Rogers attended the KCATA Board of Commissioners meeting.

Items of note:

There are new opportunities for federal funds and KCATA will be applying for this money. Under “Clean Fuels” and “State of Good Repair” programs the requests will be out of items that are already in the ATA’s capital budget, such as hybrid vehicles and electric service trucks, a new revenue collection system and a new bus cleaning system.

The ATA will also be looking for eligible “livable communities” projects using the TIGER and TIGGER grant programs of ARRA.

KCATA is contracting for a Comprehensive Service Analysis of its bus operations. The 15-month $533,881 contract is with Nelson-Nygaard, a transit consulting firm headquartered in San Francisco. See the ATA staff presentation to the BOC-Comprehensive Service Analysis

If you don’t already know, rather than having major service cuts or raising fares again this year, KCATA is using its sales tax reserve account to maintain service. The Finance Department made a report saying if things continue as they are now, KCATA expects to exhaust it reserve fund early in 2014. Of course, improved sales tax revenue, full funding from Kansas City’s ½ cent sales transportation tax and one-time money from the State of Missouri would help to postpone or eliminate the problem.

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National Issues in Senior Mobility-Meeting with Sara Woodward (Field Rep for Congressman Sam Graves)

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 4, 2010

May 12, 2010. I met with Sarah Woodward, local field representative for Representative Sam Graves, for 1 1/2 hours to discuss national transit issues. Representative Graves is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. This committee has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation, including public transit and railroads. Sarah has worked for the Congressman for many years including three years in Washington, D.C. before returning home to the Liberty area.

We spent most of the meeting discussing funding for Senior Mobility. According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the number of Americans over age 65 will grow by 79% in the next 20 years and the number of Americans between ages 65 and 74 will nearly double in this period, from just over 20 million in 2010 to nearly 40 million in 2030. Congress needs to address the transit demands resulting from this demographic change.

Good public transportation is critical for older Americans to maintain independence. To serve the rapidly growing number of Americans over 65, public transportation may incur increased operating and capital costs on the order of another $3.9 billion annually by 2030.

According to the APTA report Funding the Public Transportation Needs of an Aging Population “Public transportation systems will need to expand flexible route and community transportation services, Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) complementary paratransit, demand-response service, taxi subsidy programs, and volunteer driver programs.”

We discussed the special transit needs of seniors in rural communities, and I also asked that Congressman Graves consider the following:

  • Fully funding the security needs for transit. Only $1.25 billion of the $3.4 billion authorized in the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 have been appropriated since it was enacted and even less has been directed in grants to transit agencies.
  • Increasing the percentage transit receives in the next Surface Transportation Authorization from an 82/18 highway/transit split to a 75/25 highway/transit split, as currently proposed.
  • Funding the Highway Trust Fund in a new manner, such as Vehicle Miles Traveled. (Sarah said Rep. Graves had privacy concerns about this method of funding)
  • Assuring that Congressional earmarks do not compromise the FTA evaluation process for major transit projects.
  • Supporting the Livable Communities Bill, S1619, that is currently in committee in the Senate.

Sarah said she would convey these concerns to Congressman Graves. Sarah works specifically with senior issues so having more information about their transit needs is very helpful.

Sarah and I will keep in touch about these issues.

Janet Rogers, June 4, 2010

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