Great Bargain for JCT Commuters and A Step Forward for Seamless Transit
Posted by Transit Action Network on March 15, 2012
1. Johnson County Transit (JCT) has decided to sell its monthly pass through its website. The reported price is $67 (plus a small service fee), and sales begin in April for a May 1, 2012 start date. The JO Store
The JO will continue to sell its monthly pass to employers for re-sale to their employees. Employers will continue to pay $63 per pass, and they generally discount the pass to their employees.
Availability of the monthly pass will be a significant cost saving for Johnson County commuters whose employers don’t sell passes. Such commuters currently have to pay cash fares ($2.00 each way, or $88 for a 22-workday month), or use 10-ride passes ($18.00 for 10 rides, or $79.20 for a 22-workday month).
2. Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) will accept the JCT monthly pass on all regular Metro buses (excluding premium-priced commuter routes). KCATA and JCT will allocate revenue from the JCT pass between themselves based on usage. JCT monthly passes will be accepted on Metro buses beginning May 1, 2012.
Anyone can purchase the JCT monthly pass online to use on either system.
TAN advocates have worked for Seamless Transit for many years, and this development is clearly a step in the right direction.
The advantage to Johnson County residents is obvious: they can use Metro buses during the day for lunch trips or errands, or to get closer to home (e.g. to the Plaza or Waldo) before calling a family member, a friend, or a cab when they work late. What’s more, Johnson County riders can drive to a Missouri location (such as Waldo) and use Metro buses to reach Missouri attractions on weekends. (A free ride on a Metro bus compares favorably with a $30 parking fee for a Sprint Arena event.)
Missouri and Wyandotte County residents who also need to use The JO will have the option of purchasing the JCT monthly pass. These riders will need to evaluate whether their savings will justify the higher up-front cost of the JCT monthly pass. Riders who use transit only for commuting now pay $3.50 per day in cash fares ($1.50 going to work, $2.00 to return), or $77 per 22-workday month. A rider who needs to be able to use Metro buses all week as well as commute to Johnson County currently pays $94 for a 22-workday month ($50 Metro pass plus $44 in cash fares on The JO).
Although JCT and KCATA have accepted each other’s transfers for several years, neither system has accepted the monthly bus pass of the other system until now. The JCT monthly pass will be accepted on Metro buses but the Metro $50 monthly pass will not be accepted on JCT buses, mainly due to the large price difference. (Metro pass users may not know that they can ask for “a transfer to The JO” when they board. KCATA normally does not issue transfers to its monthly pass users.)
The JCT monthly pass sale through their website and KCATA acceptance of the JCT monthly pass are positive steps toward Seamless Transit. Well over 500 JCT monthly pass holders will get automatic access to the extensive (7 days a week, 20 hours per day, service to five counties) Metro system at no additional cost.
Due to the large fare differential between the two systems and limited service provided by JCT, it will be interesting to track the sales numbers for the JCT monthly pass to see:
- how many passes are sold to riders outside of Johnson County
- what percentage of morning commuters from Kansas City to Johnson County use the JCT monthly pass (this direction is considered a reverse commute).
Transit Action Network welcomes a victory for Seamless Transit and will work to make sure that:
- Metro riders are aware of their new option for access to The JO
- JO riders make good use of their new access to the Metro system beginning May 1.