Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Oak Park Mall Getaway

Posted by Transit Action Network on June 24, 2013

opmOK, so maybe you’re not really a Mall Rat. In fact, you might even have some strong biases against shopping malls. No matter. Visiting a mall once in a while is OK — especially if it’s 105 degrees in the shade outside.

Here’s a plan for a half-day excursion from Kansas City, Missouri (or KCK) to Oak Park Mall  http://www.thenewoakparkmall.com/shop/oakpark.nsf/index in nearby Johnson County.

Let’s assume you’re a Metro rider. Take the Metro bus of your choice to Crown Center (or nearby Union Station), arriving there by 1:15 pm on any weekday. These are some of the many Metro routes that can get you there: Main Street MAX, 27, 47, 51, 54,123, 142, 173, etc.jo-672-m

Be sure to get a Metro transfer. (If you are using a Metro monthly pass or a Metro day pass, just tell your Metro driver, “I need a transfer to The JO.”)

At 1:19 (or thereabouts), board The JO’s Route 672 (Midday) bus

http://www.thejo.com/routes/672.shtml at the southbound MAX stop at Crown Center Square, across from the fountain.  (You can also board at 10th and Main at 1:12 pm, or at the northbound MAX stop on Main across from Union Station at 1:23.)

When you board, swipe your Metro transfer through the farebox, just as you would on a Metro bus, and settle in for a 50-minute ride. You’ll find the JO bus to be clean and comfortable (with really cushy seats), and the driver courteous and helpful.

After a quick sprint along I-35 the bus goes south on Roe through Roeland Park, west along Johnson Drive (pausing at The JO’s new Mission Transit Center at 5251 Johnson Drive), then west on Martway and Shawnee Mission Parkway, south on I-35 and US-169, and west on 95th Street to Oak Park Mall.

You’ll arrive at the Oak Park Mall bus stop / park-and-ride lot about 2:02

Transit Schedule poster at Oak Park Mall. (Our photo is a bit out of date, so refer to current times in accompanying text.)

Transit Schedule poster at Oak Park Mall. (Our photo is a bit out of date, so refer to current times in accompanying text.)

Once at OPM you can (1) Shop, (2) Window-shop, (3) Shop, (4) People-watch, (5) Shop,  or (6) Eat at one of the many eateries in the food court or near the mall.

Transit Schedule poster at Oak Park Mall. (Our photo is a bit out of date, so refer to current times in accompanying text.)

Eventually — even though you might not want to — you’ll need to head back home. Fortunately The JO has several buses that will get you back.

Route 670 (Gardner – Overland Park Xpress) will get you back to Downtown or Crown Center in practically no time at all.  It leaves the OPM park-and-ride lot at 4:49 and 5:49, and the trip takes about 30 minutes. http://www.thejo.com/routes/670.shtml

You can also return via Route 546 or Route 575.

Route 546 (KCK – Quivira) leaves OPM at 3:25, 4:25, and 5:25, and takes you to Downtown KCK via the Mission Transit Center (where you can transfer to Route 556 Connex to the Plaza or Troost). http://www.thejo.com/routes/546.shtml

Route 575 (75th Street – Quivira) leaves OPM at 3:20, 4:20, and 5:20, and takes you to Waldo or 75th and Troost. http://www.thejo.com/routes/575.shtml

Be sure to watch the time, though.  The last buses back are:

Route 575 at 5:20 (to Waldo)

Route 546 at 5:25 (to Downtown KCK via the Mission Transit Center)

Route 670 at 5:49 (direct to Downtown KCMO and Crown Center)

After that, your coach becomes a pumpkin, and you’ll have to call a friend or a taxi — or start walking.

Important note about your return fare:  You probably got to OPM using a Metro transfer. The JO accepts a Metro transfer, but not a Metro monthly pass or day pass, so you’ll need to pay the regular fare to The JO to return. (Shades of Charlie on the MTA?) The regular fare is $2.25 for adults, and $1.10 for seniors (with any ID that shows your date of birth). Kids 5 and under ride free, and kids 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. If you don’t have a Metro monthly pass or day pass to complete your trip once you return to Metro territory, just tell your JO driver, “I need a transfer to the Metro.” The Metro accepts The JO transfers.

Easy, right? We think so. You’ll have kept cool for an afternoon while experiencing one of the region’s biggest shopping malls.  You’ll also have become one of the relatively few transit riders in the region who can say, “I’ve ridden the Metro and The JO!”

So what’s keeping you? Give it a try and let us know what great fun you have!

Originally posted August 8, 2012.  Updated June 24, 2013

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