Transit Action Network (TAN)

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

Posts Tagged ‘JCT’

Transit Talk Jan 6 – Your Civil Rights and Transit on 90.1 FM KKFI

Posted by Transit Action Network on January 5, 2015


KKFI 90.1 FMWhat are your Civil Rights related to Transit and how do you protect them? What is Environmental Justice? How do you recognize when your Transit Civil Rights are violated and what can you do to remedy the situation?

Find out on RadioActive Magazine on Transit Talk as we discuss the major Civil Rights issues related to transit.

When: Tuesday, January 6 at 6 PM

Where: 90.1FM KKFI Kansas City Community Radio on Radio Active Magazine

Listen to Podcast  Transit, Civil Rights & Environmental Justice

Host Janet Rogers of Transit Action Network speaks by phone with Marc Brenman, a retired senior policy advisor for Civil Rights in the office of the U. S. Secretary of Transportation about how Civil Rights and Environmental Justice relate to transit. Marc currently writes, teaches and consults on human rights issues.

The issues in Ferguson and New York City the last few months reminded us how important it is to understand our Civil Rights, including those related to transit and transportation. In 2012 TAN filed a Title VI Civil Rights claim against Johnson County Transit*. Marc Brenman provided guidance and taught us a lot about this law.

FTA guidelines:

FTA guidelines on Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and how it affects transit. Title_VI_of_the_Civil_RIghts_Act_of_1964

 “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal Financial assistance.”   –42 U.S.C. Section 2000d

FTA guidelines on Environmental Justice from Presidential Executive Order 12898

FTA_EJ_Circular_7.14-12_FINAL

The guiding EJ principles followed by DOT and FTA are briefly summarized as follows:

 Guiding Environmental Justice Principles

• To avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on minority populations and low-income populations.

• To ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision-making process.

• To prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority and low-income populations.

You should consider these goals of environmental justice throughout transportation planning and project development, and through all public outreach and participation efforts conducted by FTA, its grantees and sub grantees. 

We will discuss numerous examples of transit civil rights violations, explain how the FTA works to remedy the situation, and what to do if you think there is a local violation.

Background:

*Title VI Claim Filed Against Johnson County Transit  Transit Action Network filed this claim in 2012 due to our view of JCT’s inadequate public outreach to minority and low-income communities related to service cuts in January 2013. We included additional informational in the claim to make the FTA aware of numerous concerns we had, since severe service cuts were projected for 2014 or 2015 due to financial shortfalls. Luckily, those additional service cuts haven’t happened. Chuck Ferguson, who was Deputy Transportation Director for JCT,  said the cuts weren’t needed since the transit agency made efficiency improvements. In addition, KCATA allocated significantly more federal formula funds to JCT than they previously received and Johnson County expects large cost savings by changing management from JCT to KCATA.

Please contact Transit Action Network at TransActionKC@gmail.com if you have questions about this issue.

 

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Big Win for Seamless Transit – The JO Returns to KCATA

Posted by Transit Action Network on December 17, 2014


The Chair of KCATA Board of Commissioners,  Robbie Makinen, and Ed Eilert, Chair of the Johnson County Commission, took part in a signing ceremony transferring management of Johnson County’s transit to the KCATA.

Johnson County Commissioner Ed Eilert and KCATA Chair Robbie Makinen

Johnson County Commissioner Ed Eilert and KCATA Chair Robbie Makinen

After 30 years KCATA will manage the transit operations for Johnson County Transit again, which includes both The JO and the Special Edition (Johnson County service for seniors and people with disabilities). The signing of the inter-local Cooperative Agreement took place at the beginning of the KCATA monthly board meeting today. KCATA will take full responsibility for management on February 1, 2015, so this is a transition period.

To make this historic change happen Makinen said the “ATA needed to establish confidence and credibility within this region and with the re-structure that is the message they wanted to send.” Makinen lead the effort to re-organize the KCATA with the purpose of REALLY being the area transportation authority and managing (or both managing and operating) all of the public transit in the region as intended when the two states signed the bi-state compact creating the agency.

Commissioner Steve Klika

Commissioner Steve Klika

Steve Klika, Johnson County Commissioner, the County’s appointee to the KCATA Board and a major player in getting this agreement accomplished in record speed of six months, talked about his commitment to this goal for a long time. He joked that his personal effort toward Johnson County Transit was to figure out how to “turn the lights out, close the doors and turn the keys over to a regional entity”, which happened today. Klika said, “We have to understand that this is a big deal. It is starting to lead a path to the regionalization of transit.” He also acknowledged that there are funding issues to deal with going forward.

When asked about the benefit to riders, Commissioner Eilert felt the benefits are going to be “the ability to offer additional connections for transit services across the metro area and a major benefit is the ability of ATA to coordinate those efforts”. He said that Johnson County ‘s struggle has been to create ridership and they hope that ATA’s abilities will lead to an increase in riders.

Signing ceremony at the KCATA Board of Commissioners Dec 17, 2014

Signing ceremony at the KCATA Board of Commissioners Dec 17, 2014

Highlights of the agreement:

  • 2-year term with an annual base cost of $475,000 with a 3% annual cost escalator
  • Johnson County retains all final decisions relating to service policy and budget
  • KCATA staff will coordinate through the County’s Transit Liaison on management and administrative activities

In addition, KCATA has agreed to implement priority placement for Johnson County Transit staff affected by this agreement through March. 2015.

The KCATA Board of Commissioners authorized staff to enter into the inter-local agreement with Johnson County to provide transit management and administrative services for $430,000 in 2015 and $489,250 in 2016.

This agreement is the first major action to utilize the functions of the recently re-organized KCATA. Earlier in the year KCATA created separate departments for the KCATA relating to transit service

  1. KCATA Managed AND Operated bus service,
    1. the METRO,
    2. The METRO buses are driven by full and part-time KCATA employees; public transit bus drivers who belong to the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).
  2. KCATA Managed but NOT Operated transit service
    1. Manage existing Share-A-Fare service for seniors and people with disabilities, for the areas served by the METRO
      1. Operated by a private contractor
    2. New function: Manage (not operate) transit service for Johnson County.
      1. The JO and the Special Edition buses will continue to be operated by a private operator.
      2. In Johnson County, the operator doesn’t own the buses or set the routes or the schedules. They provide part-time drivers to operate The JO and Special Edition buses. The JO currently runs 42 commuter buses during peak service hours, which is considered a small service. Riders will not see any difference in the operations to start.

KCATA management will replace management functions previously performed by Johnson County Transit (JCT), a department of Johnson County. The personnel changes will result in approximately $455,000 savings for Johnson County.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAdditional savings are expected in the future since KCATA’s size provides greater purchasing power in capital acquisitions, such as buses, and operation costs, such as fuel. We also expect to see cost savings due to improvements to connections.

Users of the Johnson County services will still see familiar JCT faces at KCATA. Chuck Ferguson is now the KCATA Director of Planning. Shawn Strate is currently splitting his time between the two organizations, but he is now a Transit Planner at KCATA. There are several back office people from JCT that have moved to KCATA. Alice Amrein and Chris Lowe are staying at Johnson County. Amrein will be the liaison between the County and KCATA.

Riders shouldn’t expect immediate benefits or changes. There will be a transition period where KCATA learns all about The JO and Special Edition. KCATA has to evaluate the best way to integrate the services. Eliminating duplications or inefficiencies in service will take some time, but we hope the improvements are sooner rather than later and we will monitor the progress.

 In the short-term we hope to see better communications such as more schedules posted at bus stops for the JO and hopefully the electronic information boards working properly at the Mission Transit Center.

Once the full extent of the cost savings is evident KCATA should recommend more service. The Johnson County commissioners have committed to using the cost savings to improve and expand transit and not to divert the money for other purposes.

There are independent activities led by the Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) that will have an impact in 2015. A regional fare study is already being conducted as well as a study to create a single eligibility procedure in the region to use special transportation.

Transit Action Network sees this agreement as a big leap forward toward the seamless transit system we want to function in the region and we want to thank everyone involved in making this agreement happen.

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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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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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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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JCT Ribbon Cutting For The New Transit Center

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 2, 2013


The_JO_ConnexJohnson County Transit (JCT) postponed the ribbon cutting for its new Mission Transit Center for a whole month, but the wait was worth it. July 1st was a beautiful day to celebrate the official opening of the Allen Roth Transit Center. Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert spoke at the dedication of the Allen Roth Transit Center in Mission.

Allen Roth Mission Transit Center Entrance at 5251 Johnson Drive, Mission, Kansas

Allen Roth Mission Transit Center Entrance at 5251 Johnson Drive, Mission, Kansas

The new transit center has 73 transit departures  from this location every weekday.  The Transit Center  is located  at 5251 Johnson Dr. Parking is next to Wendys on the south side of Martway just east of the transit center.

Connex bus 556Although the transit center serves 5 additional JCT routes  (546, 660, 661, 667, and 672) , the big excitement is over the introduction of the new CONNEX service.

CONNEX is the brand for the Metcalf / Shawnee Mission Parkway route (556/856). The route began operating under this brand name on June 3, 2013. There are 17 round trips daily between 119th or 135th and Metcalf on the south, and the Plaza / UMKC / Rockhurst on the north and east.

The JO has six of these buses for use on this route. Each seats 25 passengers.

Midday trips are often operated using smaller buses since these trips may “flex” off-route to pick up or let off passengers who have made advance arrangements.

Socializing before the dedication ceremony begins.

Socializing before the dedication ceremony begins.

Dedication ceremonies begin, July 1, 2013.

Dedication ceremonies begin, July 1, 2013.

Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert speaks at the dedication of the Allen Roth Transit Center in Mission.

Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert speaks at the dedication of the Allen Roth Transit Center in Mission.

Elected officials cut the ribbon to dedicate the new Allen Roth Transit Center in Mission, Kansas. July 1, 2013.

Elected officials cut the ribbon to dedicate the new Allen Roth Transit Center in Mission, Kansas. July 1, 2013.

Connex bus going

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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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JCT Ribbon Cutting For Mission Transit Center – July 1, The JO CONNEX – June 3

Posted by Transit Action Network on May 30, 2013


TIGERThe_JO_ConnexJoin Johnson County Transit at their ribbon cutting event for the new Mission Transit Center.
Where: Mission Transit Center, 5251 Johnson Drive, Mission, Kan.
When: Friday, May 31, 8:30 a.m. Re-scheduled to Monday, July 1

The new transit center will enhance transit service along the Metcalf/Shawnee Mission Parkway Corridor. The transit center is one feature of the extensive infrastructure improvements in this corridor made possible by a federal $10.7 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. At the ribbon cutting, JCT will provide exhibits of before-and-after transformations along the transit corridor and information about enhancements to the transit services in Johnson County, Kan.

Effective June 3rd, many of The JO buses will change their routes in order to utilize this new Transit Center.   Route 556/856 will be re-branded as The JO CONNEX, an enhanced route with limited-stop service, which will use the new infrastructure in the Metcalf/Shawnee Mission Parkway Corridor.

JCT Proposed_Schedules_June_2013

For questions regarding the ribbon cutting:
Contact Brian Scovill at 913.895.6052 or Alice Amrein at 913.715.8352.

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KCATA Route 175 on Metcalf Avenue?

Posted by Transit Action Network on October 24, 2012


Metro Route 175

Transit Trivia: How many places along Metcalf Avenue can you find a posted bus schedule?

Did you know that KCATA (The Metro) operates a route deep into Johnson County? Route 175 has six daily round trips that go south from Ward Parkway Shopping Center (88th and State Line) along State Line, 95th Street, and Metcalf to the Sprint Campus, Menorah Hospital, and St. Luke’s South Hospital. There are about 80 riders daily. (One person making a round trip counts as two riders.)

In this view, the second northbound afternoon Route 175 trip stops to board another rider (plus your humble snapshot taker) at the southeast corner of 95th and Metcalf.

Note the bus stop sign, and the frame for the bus schedule below it on the light pole. This schedule, along with one across the street on the southwest corner of the intersection, are the only places we know of where one can find a bus schedule posted along Metcalf.

That’s the answer to the trivia question: TWO.

What irony that the only bus schedule along Metcalf — the street that’s being prepared for Johnson County’s “Connex” service next spring — is provided by KCATA, and it’s only about their Route 175.

Oh — about all that dirt: This is the site of one of the new Connex bus stops. It’ll have a shelter and a digital sign that’ll tell you when the next bus arrives. Off to the left is the Metcalf South Shopping Center. The JO’s park-and-ride lot will be relocated to this corner from its current location on the east side of the shopping center next to the Glenwood Arts Theater. Another Connex stop and shelter will be constructed on the west side of Metcalf, just south of 95th Street.

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Metcalf Connex – I-435 and Metcalf

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 24, 2012


This photo looks northeast from the southwest corner of I-435 (EB off-ramp) and Metcalf.

Putting bus service on Metcalf — much less a premium service such as Johnson County Transit’s pre-BRT* “Connex” service — is a challenge.

There is no sidewalk on the west side of Metcalf between 107th and 110th. Sidewalks are under construction along other segments of Metcalf (including the east side of Metcalf through this interchange), but there’s no evidence of it here. Not yet, anyway. Moreover, there’s no evidence — not yet, anyway — that there will be a crosswalk with pedestrian signals. This off-ramp has five lanes — three for left turns and two for right. The crossing distance is roughly 90 feet, 22.5 seconds at the 4-feet-per-second standard walking speed used by traffic engineers.

For transit to work there need to be sidewalks along both sides of the transit street. That’s especially true for a BRT route where stops are a half-mile or a mile apart.

In addition, there need to be good sidewalk approaches along cross streets, in addition to links to buildings that front on the transit street itself.

Those are tall orders for a part of our region that was built with moving cars as the number one guiding design principle.

This view looks almost empty but even at 2:51 in the afternoon there’s a LOT of traffic.

And signal cycles are long: two minutes or more. Imagine waiting to cross Metcalf to catch your bus. You see it approaching in the distance, but by the time you get a WALK light and get across the street your bus has already passed. Next bus in 30 minutes, if you’re lucky.

There’s no question that transit improvements being made along Metcalf using the federal TIGER (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery) grant awarded to JCT in 2009 will make the corridor look more attractive, and will actually raise the visibility of transit on Metcalf. Attractive bus shelters with real-time schedule signs will be placed at stops, and traffic signal priority (TSP) will be installed to help buses get through signalized intersections quicker.

Still, it’s going to be tough to give Metcalf the look and feel of a transit street.

For transit to work there, Metcalf needs to be totally re-conceptualized and rebuilt south of 87th Street.

Overland Park has its work cut out for it.

Related photos:
Site of SB Connex stop at 110th and Metcalf.
www.flickr.com/photos/58867268@N03/8010260167/

Preparation for NB Connex stop at 110th and Metcalf.
www.flickr.com/photos/58867268@N03/8010267924/

*BRT = Bus Rapid Transit’

Posted in Local Transit Issues | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Attend Johnson County Transportation Council Meeting Sept. 18 – 5:30 pm

Posted by Transit Action Network on September 14, 2012


The Johnson County Transportation Council meeting will discuss the REVISED proposed eliminations and reductions to service, effective Jan 2, 2013.  A public comment section is on the agenda. Please attend and make your feelings known about the proposed changes. The council changed its regular meeting time in response to comments received about the service reductions. JCTC wants to hear from you.

Johnson County Transportation Council Meeting

Where: Sylvester Powell Community Center
6200 Martway in Mission
Kansas 66202
 
When: Sept 18th @ 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Meeting packet agenda JCTCpacket20120918

Revised Proposal for Eliminations and Reductions JCTC20120814ServiceReductionRec

Previous blog article JCT Releases Revised Proposal for Cuts – Save The JO

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JCT Releases Revised Proposal for Cuts – Save The JO

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 28, 2012


Johnson County Transit (JCT) has released a Revised JCT Service Reductions Aug 14,2012 report for eliminations and reductions to its transit system.

Summary of the revised proposal:

Eliminate five routes (instead of nine)
Reduce/combine service on the four other routes that were proposed for elimination
Make additional schedule modifications on four other routes based on comments and service efficiencies.

Here are the original 9 routes slated for eliminations with some of our comments. Review the JCT report for additional information. Keep in mind that JCT is still reviewing the routes and could make more changes.

Routes Originally Proposed for Elimination

Three Routes Eliminated Totally
Route 676-P – Paola/Spring Hill/Olathe Eliminating this route and Route 816 will leave these communities and seniors without any transit. The Special Edition does not operate in Spring Hill and Paola.
Route 810 – DeSoto FlexRide This change will leave this community and seniors without any transit. The Special Edition does not operate in DeSoto.
Route 816 – Spring Hill Shuttle Eliminating this route and Route 676 will leave this community and seniors without any transit. The Special Edition does not operate in Spring Hill.
Eliminate 667-R and 669-I and combine with 546-D into one new route
Route 546-D – Johnson/Quivira, Route 677-R – Downtown/Olathe, Route 669-I – KCK/Lenexa/Olathe Eliminate current routes I, R and D but combine them into a new Route 546-D. The new Route 546-D would have only 9 trips instead of the current 16. The northern end would be in KCK. The southern end is usually at 116th and Renner. See the proposed map. One trip extends south to 127th & Mur-Len (Villa St. Francis) to serve 7:00-3:30 workday (currently served by Route 669/I) One trip extends to Ridgeview to serve 8:00-5:00 workday  (currently served by Route 677/R
Keep routes instead of eliminating them; make significant service reductions.
Route 66-E – Nall/Downtown – Reduce from 4 to 2 trips This reduces service between Johnson County and Wyandotte counties. This is the only JO service that goes to KU Med. Routes with only one morning and one evening trip are bound to fail. The national transit-consulting firm Nelson Nygaard recommends at least 6 trips (3 each way) to make a successful commuter route. If they must reduce service, JCT needs to consider other options in order to keep the four trips.
Route 672-M – JoCo/Downtown Midday – Keep but eliminate Metcalf portion of route The route would travel from Mission to OPM on Shawnee Mission Parkway, I-35, and US-69, instead of using Metcalf and 95th. This re-routing should save 10-15 minutes per trip. Transfers to Metcalf destinations can be made via 856 in Mission. South of Oak Park Mall, the route would remain unchanged. Downtown employees who want additional midday flexibility could take MAX to the Plaza and transfer to 856, or to Waldo and transfer to 875.
Route 812 JO Flex– Reduce from 3 days to 2 days This change is better than eliminating the route.

Transit Action Network knows that JCT is trying to combine routes and provide as much transit as possible for its current riders given the budgetary restrictions and instructions from the County Commissioners. We are also aware that unless the County makes significant budget changes, all of these routes and more may be eliminated in 2014.

click to enlarge

Below is the Commission’s transit priority list that JCT is directed to implement over the next two years as a result of a reduction in federal and state funds.

The Board of County Commissioners Transit priorities (in order of importance):

  • Protect the most vulnerable county residents by maintaining Special Edition and SWIFT services.
  • Support TIGER investments by maintaining service on the Metcalf and Shawnee Mission Parkway corridor
  • Maintain I-35 Xpress (Bus on Shoulder Routes)
  • Maintain K-10 Connector
  • Continue Local Services and Local Links

Our concern is the county’s lack of commitment to developing a full service transit system. In terms of transit, Johnson County thinks like a small city instead of a big wealthy county. Blue Springs, Missouri has a population of slightly over 50,000 people. For transit it normally considers an OATS bus for seniors and the disabled and a few commuter express buses as sufficient, although Blue Springs is  working very hard to get commuter rail. Johnson County, with a population of 544,000, has stated a position that supports a similar low level of bus transit, with one exception. They want to keep the new Metcalf/Shawnee Mission Parkway and 75th Street/Quivira CONNEX routes. So do we, but these routes need to be paid for with new county funds instead of transferring funds from the current transit system.  Johnson County accepted a $10.7 million TIGER grant from the federal government for improvements along the M/SMP corridor, and they would have to return the money if they cancelled these routes. Yet the county refuses to add new money to the transit budget to replace the three-year start up money the federal government gave them for operating expenses on these routes.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert complains about the cost per rider and farebox recovery ratio on some of these routes, yet he knows that the main CONNEX service has far worse performance numbers than nearly all of the regular routes they are proposing to eliminate, such as Routes 669-I, 667-E, 672-M and the JO Flex.

Routes originally proposed for elimination Example: Farebox recovery ratio
672-M 17%
669-I 15%
667-E 14%
JO Flex 11%
Major CONNEX Route – protected
556 Metcalf/Plaza 9%
856 Metcalf/Plaza Flex 7%

The disingenuous nature of the Commission’s priorities is very concerning. Providing transit for seniors is at the top of their list, yet eliminating the local service in Spring Hill, Paola and DeSoto will leave their elderly populations stranded once again, since the Special Edition bus doesn’t service those areas.

The county won’t eliminate all of the proposed routes at this point in time or they might be in violation of Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act. The Act says if you receive federal funds, you can’t eliminate service to minority and low-income populations in a discriminatory manner. Of the original proposed eliminations, routes 546-D – Johnson/Quivira, 667-E – Nall/ Downtown, and 669-I – KCK/Lenexa/Olathe have significant service to areas with higher percentages of minority and low-income populations. These routes would be eliminated based on the Commission’s directions to JCT.

You still have time to comment to the Commission on the changes being proposed. Final BoCC action is planned for October 18.

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us
  3. Chairman: Ed Eilert (913) 715-0500
  4. District 1: Ed Peterson  (913) 715-0431
  5. District 2: Jim Allen  (913) 715-0432
  6. District 3: David Lindstrom (913) 715-0433
  7. District 4: Jason Osterhaus (913) 715-0434
  8. District 5: Michael Ashcraft (913) 715-0435
  9. District 6: Calvin Hayden  (913) 715-0436

JCT Tentative Timeline –

• Joint JCTC/BoCC meeting on August 30, 2012, 11 am, Board of County Commission’s hearing room on the third floor of the County Administration Building in Olathe
• Present final recommendations at JCTC meeting on September 18, 2012
• Submit JCT/JCTC recommendations to BoCC on October 4, 2012.
• Agenda Review: October 11
• Final BoCC Action: October 18
• Final changes posted the week of October 22, 2012
• Changes will begin operation on January 2, 2013

The Johnson County Transportation Council (JCTC) meeting on September 18 will be held at 5:30 pm at Sylvester Powell: 6200 Martway, Mission, KS so that more people can be present to hear the presentation of the final recommendations and hear the discussion.

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Save The JO Video #7 – Seniors Speak Up

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 17, 2012


Route #812 is The JO Flex service in Overland Park. It doesn’t cover a lot of Johnson County but it is a necessity for the people who depend on it. Watch seniors at Santa Fe Towers Apartments speak about their situation and concerns about the proposed elimination of this service.

The JO flex service covers a rectangle from 75th Street on the north, Lamar on the east, 95th  Street on the south and Quivira on the west. The service is limited between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You don’t have to qualify to ride the #812, since it is available to anyone in the service area. Two very large retirement communities are significant users of the route, Overland Towers and Santa Fe Towers Apartments.

The JO Flex is more cost-effective than the new showcase CONNEX route #556 that JCT will retain. The JO Flex has better farebox recovery, cost per rider and ridership per trip than the CONNEX route.

The County Commissioners have said elderly, disabled and low-income populations will have the Special Edition, which is a shared ride program, providing transportation for registered and qualified residents of Johnson County. Usually you can’t call the day before to schedule a ride because the service is already full. The Special Edition only uses buses with a capacity of 10-12 people, where the JO Flex uses larger more comfortable buses. The JO Flex fare is $1, so a trip to the grocery store is $2. The Special Edition fare is $5, so the same trip would cost $10. Switching all of The JO Flex riders over to the more expensive, smaller, over-crowded Special Edition seems like a losing proposition.

Please keep the more affordable Route #812 JO Flex.

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us

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All About Smog – One More Reason to Save the JO

Posted by Transit Action Network on August 14, 2012


This is a Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources photo from August 13, 2012 from Blue Ridge Mall looking at downtown Kansas City. The KCPT tower, right-middle of the photo, is 3 miles away and the downtown skyline is 8 miles away. On a bad day, you can’t see the tower and on a really bad day even the skyline disappears from view. So what is smog?

The term “smog” was coined at the turn of the century to describe the hazy horizon of industrialized European cities, but around the 1950s, vehicle emissions began to take the place of factories in creating this noxious mixture of “smoke” and “fog”. Smog is a haze we see today during our hot and humid summers. This combination of ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, hydrocarbons and dust particles is monitored regularly and regulated by the US EPA due to increasing health concerns for sensitive populations like children, the elderly and people with allergies or asthma.

In Kansas City, emergency room visits and hospital admissions increase significantly when ground-level ozone concentrations are high. Ground-level ozone irritates the eyes and nose, causes inflammation, difficulty breathing and even chest pain. It is formed by emissions from vehicles, power plants and other sources mixing with heat and sunlight, which is why summer is the most troublesome for air quality. Poor air quality knows no political boundaries, though, and smog will often creep northward with the warm, south winds of summer.

There is something we can all do to help. With daily work commutes averaging around 20 miles, multiple highway corridors, and abundant parking, it’s easy to see why so many folks in the Kansas City area drive to work. It’s also easy to see how our routines are contributing nearly half of the ozone forming emissions that contribute to poor air quality. Leaving your car at home even twice a week can save over 270 pounds of harmful ozone-forming emissions.

The MidAmerica Regional Council’s RideShare Connection is hosting the Green Commute Challenge now through September 28th to help raise awareness of air quality issues, reduce use of single-occupant vehicles in the peak summer season, and encourage transit use across the metro area through an employer-based contest. Thirty teams have joined from across the Kansas City area and over 900 people are taking the challenge to use alternative transportation.

Between bicycling, riding the bus or carpooling to work, and walking or simply staying in for lunch, the challenge has already reduced emissions by over 250,000 pounds. That’s like taking 14,000 cars off the road for a day. During the 12-week challenge, participants track their trips online and earn points. It’s a great way to see how our individual choices can add up to big benefits and many participants are using public transportation to earn serious points for their teams.

We can all do our part for air quality and using transit is a great way to start. And you don’t have to wait for national fuel efficiency standards or alternative energy sector growth to help! Compared to other household actions, using transit can reduce emissions by more than 10 fold.  A robust public transportation system is one of the very best investments any community can make to minimize emissions and reduce greenhouse gases. Transit can’t beat bicycling or other no-emission commutes, but modern buses are often hybrids using natural gas, biodiesel and other low emission fuels. The KCATA Metro MAX has several hybrid and clean diesel vehicles and both KCATA and The JO will be adding natural gas vehicles to their fleet.

Does being a transit rider make you an air quality hero? It depends who you ask but there’s no doubt that reducing even a few solitary commuting trips in your car can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change and poor local air quality. Kansas City had 18 Ozone Alert days already in 2012, up from only 9 last year and 4 in 2010. We’ve exceeded ozone concentration standards 16 times this year and we’re setting a pace to top the last 2 years combined for quantifiable poor air quality. Poor air quality affects everyone’s health and it can make doing business more expensive as tighter regulations are enacted to meet basic national standards.

When local budgets get tight and cuts seem imminent, priorities have to be defined to guide the process, but with growing concerns about air quality and the human health impacts a very clear reality in the Kansas City metro area, you have to ask: why is public transportation not a priority in Johnson County? How can eliminating bus routes by 45% (and reducing service on another 45% of routes) serve our collective goals for air quality when it is the first, best way to reduce harmful ozone-causing emissions? We don’t believe cutting bus services voluntarily is in the best interest of Johnson County or the collective community when it comes to air quality issues or the kind of reliable public transportation system the public increasingly demands.

It’s not too late to improve air quality in Kansas City. From alternative fuel blends and hybrid vehicles to using low emissions paint in our homes and native landscaping in our yards, people across the metro are doing so much to reduce harmful greenhouse gases and ground-level ozone in our community. Using transit is one of the most effective things you can do to help ease air pollution and prevent smog from ever forming. The only question is: if you live or work in Johnson County, will you still have the transit option in 2013?

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us

http://finances.msn.com/saving-money-advice/6804691

http://www.marc.org/Environment/airQ/pdf/FAQfourpage.pdf

http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/esp/aqm/kccam.htm

http://www.apta.com/gap/letters/2010/Pages/100728_obama.aspx

http://www.marc.org/Environment/airQ/pdf/ozonereports/O3WeeklySummary.pdf

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Save The JO – Video #6 – The Solution – Interview with Steve Klika

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 27, 2012


Steve Klika, Chair of the Strategic Transit Action Recommendation Taskforce (START) spoke with Transit Action Network about the 2011 recommendations of this Taskforce. Steve has a long-term commitment to transit. He is the Johnson County representative on the KCATA Board of Commissioners and former Chair of the Johnson County Transportation Council.

Although the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners is currently struggling with its commitment to transit and the transit budget, this Taskforce provided recommendations to implement a phased-in comprehensive county-wide transit system based on the Johnson County Transit Strategic Plan. The Taskforce also provided a list of financing options. Johnson County residents developed this plan specifically for Johnson County.

The long-term transit solution for Johnson County already exists. We ask the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners to move forward with this transit plan rather than dismantling The JO over the next two years. Please begin by rejecting the proposed plan to eliminate or reduce 90% of the routes in 2013.  We believe Johnson County is moving in the wrong direction and deserves an excellent transit system on par with the rest of Johnson County services.

START_Final_Report_2011

START_Final_Discussion_2011

Strategic Plan Prelim 2011

JO Proposed Eliminations and Reductions for 2013 – Public Meeting Presentation

The deadline for public comment is July 30, 2012. Please speak up for transit.

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1.  Phone: 913-715-0430
  2.  Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us

Contact Johnson County Transit

  1. E-mail: Comments@thejo.com
  2. Mail: Johnson County Transit, 1701 West 56 Highway, Olathe, Kansas 66061
  3. Phone: 913-715-8255 – record your message

See all of our articles and videos related to this issue. The articles started on June 8 with  Save The JO – Contact JOCO Commissioners and the videos are all on our TAN Videos page. Everything is also collected on our Facebook event page for Save The JO.

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Save The JO – Transit Advocates Speak Up At The JoCo Public Budget Hearing

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 26, 2012


The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners probably got a surprise at the Public Budget Hearing Monday night. Nine of the eleven people who testified at the hearing did so because of the transit budget and proposed plans to eliminate or reduce 90% of The JO routes in 2013.  Unfortunately for transit riders, participation was very difficult since the Johnson County Administration Building is hard to get to on transit and it is impossible to use transit to get home afterwards.

Jonothan Walker, President, ATU Local 1287

The Commissioners heard a wide range of perspectives and concerns but they all agreed on one point – find the money to keep The JO running.  Speakers were concerned about job losses, the environment, the elderly and disabled, social equity issues, the potential of losing the young professional class of workers, the County’s failure to honor its commitment to replace federal CMAQ funds and much more. Two of the testimonies are posted on our Save the Jo Facebook event page. The whole budget hearing is posted on the county website The individual testimonies start after the County Managers presentation at the 19 minute mark. The County Manager makes it very clear that Johnson County has the lowest mill levy in Kansas. Not having money for transit and other services in Johnson County is a self-imposed austerity. According to the County Manager, Johnson Countians pay an average of .58 percent of their household income on county taxes.

Martin Rivarola, City of Mission

The operating cost for the current 20 routes is $5.7 million* with only $2 million coming from the county and the County Commission is currently saying they can’t afford any more than that. Of course, not all of the Commissioners agree. The JO riders pay over $1.1 million of the service. Of course that number will go down if nine routes are eliminated. The rest, $2.6 million, is federal and state money. Much of this large subsidy is going to disappear over the next two years but currently the Commission doesn’t plan to replace it. Normally the bulk of transit operating expenses has to come from local sources.

Rev. Bobby Love, MORE2

A lot of the federal money is related to federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds used as seed money to start the CONNEX routes. The federal government doesn’t normally pay operating expenses. After three years the CMAQ money is finished and the money has to be replaced locally to keep the routes.

The Commission understands it commitment to replace the CMAQ funds for new routes with additional money. In previous administrations the Commission has been fiscally responsible and provided those new funds. This time the Commission is keeping the CONNEX routes and spending $10.7 million of additional federal money for major infrastructure improvements for this service through a TIGER grant, but they aren’t adding the new operating money. We don’t think that is a fiscally responsible decision. If the Commission wasn’t going to provide the operating cost for the CONNEX routes, they shouldn’t have started the routes and applied for the TIGER grant.  As a result, it appears that many routes must be eliminated or reduced to make up the difference. The CONNEX is potentially a great new service but the County needs to pay for it without dismantling The JO.

Joe Walker, Pastor Westwood Christian Church

Carol Guenther, JO bus rider

JO ridership is growing by 12%. While an increasing number of county residents are opting for public transportation, Johnson County Commissioners are dismantling what little transit is left. While the one-occupant car may be the current transportation mode of choice, you don’t need to look out very far to see fuel supply constraints, worse traffic congestion and more air pollution – none of which enhances the view of Johnson County as a quiet refuge for those seeking tree-lined streets, responsive government and effective planning.

For perspective on the county’s funding commitment to transit, the Kansas City, MO contract with KCATA this year is over $46 million. The residents of KCMO have a 7/8-cent sales tax to provide transit. JoCo residents pay extremely little in property tax to get the JO.

Johnson County prides itself on education, infrastructure and services but if you want transit you have to pay for it. Johnson County deserves a real transit system that stands a chance of winning people out of their cars. Tomorrow, we’ll post a video about a real solution for a comprehensive county-wide transit system. A plan already exists that was created just for Johnson County by Johnson County residents.

Jim Courtney, Executive Director, Mr. Goodscents Foundation

Janet Rogers, Transit Action Network

Sheila Styron, Public Policy Coordinator, The Whole Person

Ron McLinden, JO bus rider, Transit Action Network

The deadline for public comment is July 30, 2012. Please speak up for transit.

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. 1.    Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. 2.    Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us

Contact Johnson County Transit

  1. E-mail: Comments@thejo.com
  2. Mail: Johnson County Transit, 1701 West 56 Highway, Olathe, Kansas 66061
  3. Phone: 913-715-8255 – record your message

*Figures are based on the Johnson County Transportation Council meeting packet for April 2012.

Powerpoint presentation JO Proposed Eliminations and Reductions – Public Meeting 7-11-12

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Save The JO – Videos #4 and #5 Interviews with Johnson County Commissioners

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 22, 2012


Johnson County Commissioners Eilert and Peterson spoke with Transit Action Network about the eliminations and reductions proposed for January 2013 to The JO.

The commissioners have very different views on:

  • the role of transit in Johnson County
  • how to fund transit
  • how to respond to citizens’ vision for multi-modal transportation, sustainability and a better environment
  • the County’s commitment to the working poor who need The JO to get to work

Can Johnson County afford a small commuter transit system only if it is heavily subsidized by federal and state funds? We wouldn’t expect that to be the case from one of the richest counties in America*. It is the loss of federal and state funds, and the Commission’s current failure to replace those funds, that is causing the severe budget problems that will mainly hit in 2014.

One way to deal with the loss of the federal and state money is to eliminate and reduce most of the transit routes in Johnson County over a couple of years. The other way is to get the money and keep the transit.

Everyone from JCT staff to Commissioner Eilert said they are proposing cuts in 2013 so they don’t have such large cuts in 2014.  Unless Johnson County changes direction, they aren’t done shrinking the transit system. They say they trying to ease in the cuts to lessen the negativity that would result from doing it all at once in 2014.

Timeline for eliminations and reductions:
2012 Service reductions and modifications
2013 Proposed route eliminations (45% of all routes gone) and service reductions (45% of routes modified)
2014 Expect significant additional eliminations and/or reductions based on comments by staff and Commissioner Eilert

 

Please let the Board of County Commissioners know how important The JO is by attending the public hearing. Speakers will be allowed 3 minutes.

Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Public Budget Hearing
July 23rd @ 7 pm
Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry, Olathe, KS 66061

If you miss the meeting:

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us

 Contact Johnson County Transit

  1. E-mail: Comments@thejo.com
  2. Mail: Johnson County Transit, 1701 West 56 Highway, Olathe, Kansas 66061
  3. Phone: 913-715-8255 – record your message
Deadline for public comment is July 30, 2012.
JO Public Meeting_Proposed Eliminations and Reductions for 2013
START_Final_Report_2011
START_Final_Discussion_2011
Strategic_Plan_Prelim_2011

We have numerous blog articles about this issue starting on June 8th with  Save The JO – Contact JOCO Commissioners

All of our videos are available on our TAN Videos page.

*Wealthiest Counties in The U.S. (Per Capita Income) based upon income tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service’s Individual Master File (IMF). Johnson County is listed as #42 http://www.amerifound.com/wealthiest_counties_in_america.html

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It’s Not Just About 669 – Save The JO!

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 21, 2012


We’ve blogged about Johnson County Transit’s plan to eliminate Route 669.  But there are other essential routes on the chopping block, too. Here are entries that we previously posted on Flickr about three of the other routes that we believe deserve special consideration.  Only lack of time has kept us from posting about some of the other routes as well.

JCT Route 546 – Johnson Drive / Quivira — Save This Bus!

The Route 546 bus pauses at the 6000 Lamar Transit Hub in Mission at 6:14 am to exchange passengers with other routes. This particular bus brought 4 passengers from points in Shawnee and Lenexa. Route 546 previously went all the way to Downtown Kansas City, but it was truncated at 6000 Lamar in January, 2012, to cut costs. Passengers who previously had a single-seat ride to their Downtown destination now have to transfer. As a result, ridership has suffered, and on many days one of these little 12-14 passenger buses is used. In addition, these small buses ride like trucks, and that doesn’t encourage ridership, either. Route 546 is proposed for elimination effective January, 2013.

JCT Route 667 – Nall — Save This Bus!

The first of two inbound morning trips of JCT Route 667 pauses at the 6000 Lamar Transit Hub in Mission at 6:49 am to exchange passengers with other JCT routes. This route is proposed for elimination effective January, 2013. This particular trip served about 13 passengers, 11 of whom boarded at 6000 Lamar or closer to its Downtown Kansas City final destination. Route 667 passes KU Med Center, where only one passenger got off. Low ridership has to be due, in part, to the fact that there is virtually no evidence of this route along the way: only six JO bus stop signs were spotted beyond this point for inbound (i.e., toward KU Med and Kansas City) riders, and none of those are within Wyandotte County where KU Med Center is located. First rule of public transit: Make the service visible.

JCT Route 672 – Midday — Save This Bus!

The Route 672 – Midday bus stops to board passengers at Crown Center at 1:07 pm daily. Originally known as Route M – Midday, this route has long been a mystery. After all, what does “Midday” tell you about where it might take you? Nothing, right? It’s a wonder anybody rides it at all, yet it currently averages about 20 riders per day.

The Midday bus makes one daily round trip from the Great Mall in Olathe to Downtown Kansas City and back. Along the way it serves the Johnson County Courthouse in Olathe, Harvest Community Church park-and-ride lot on Strang Line Road, Johnson County Community College, Oak Park Mall (and park-and-ride), Metcalf South Shopping Center (and park-and-ride), the 6000 Lamar Transit Hub in Mission, the retail complex in Roeland Park, Central Library and Sprint Arena in Downtown Kansas City, Crown Center (Lego Land, SeaLife, Kaleidoscope, shopping, etc), Union Station (Science City, special exhibits, etc).

Route 672 is the only transit link between Kansas City’s Downtown / Crown Center corridor and Johnson County between 9 am and 3 pm. It’s significance is that when used in combination with one of the morning or afternoon commuter routes, Route 672 makes possible many half-day trips in either direction — to OPM for shopping, to JCCC for a class or cultural event, to Crown Center / Union Station for kid-friendly attractions. It also gives commuters the option of using transit when they plan a half workday. Trouble is, Johnson County Transit has never promoted these uses, or even the fact that Route 672 can be used in combination with the commuter routes. We’ve done that more than once, most recently for half-day trips to Union Station for the dinosaur exhibit two years ago: Take The JO to the Jurassic

Route 672 is proposed for elimination in January, 2013. Because it’s not a commuter route, it doesn’t have a core group of “regulars” to come to its defense. Instead, it serves occasional transit riders who use it for a variety of purposes. Thus, it needs all of us transit proponents to come to its defense if it’s to survive.  (If you’re a regular on one of The JO’s commuter routes, 672 is your backup — even though you might not be aware of it.) Instead of elimination, Route 672 needs a second trip — for example, in from Great Mall, out only as far as OPM or JCCC, then back to Downtown and back out to the Great Mall. That would be less than double the miles, but more than double the value to its current and many potential users. Come on, Johnson County Transit, don’t eliminate Route 672 before you’ve even given it a proper chance to succeed.

Please let the Board of County Commissioners know how important The JO is by attending the public hearing. Speakers will be allowed 3 minutes.

Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Public Budget Hearing
July 23rd @ 7 pm
Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry, Olathe, KS 66061

If you miss the meeting:

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us

 Contact Johnson County Transit

  1. E-mail: Comments@thejo.com
  2. Mail: Johnson County Transit, 1701 West 56 Highway, Olathe, Kansas 66061
  3. Phone: 913-715-8255 – record your message

Deadline for public comment is July 30, 2012.

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Save The JO – Video #3 Comments From the JCT Public Meeting

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 20, 2012


Johnson County Transit held a public meeting on July 11th* to discuss the proposed 2013 eliminations and reductions to 90% of The JO routes. Reductions were made to routes at the beginning of 2012 and, unless something changes in the budget forecasts, additional eliminations are expected in 2014.  Listen to the concerns and stories of some of the participants and responses from Johnson County Transit (JCT) staff. 

Transit in Johnson County is headed in the wrong direction.

Please attend:
Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Public Budget Hearing
July 23rd @ 7 pm
Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry, Olathe, KS 66061

Show your support to improve and expand The JO and tell your story to the Commissioners. Ask the Commission to support transit,  honor their commitment to replace the federal CMAQ funds for both the Connex and the 75th Street-Quivira routes, and find the necessary dedicated funding for the long-term health of transit in Johnson County.

Contact Johnson County Board of County Commissioners

  1. Phone: 913-715-0430
  2. Email contact form: http://bocc.jocogov.org/webform/contact-us

 Contact Johnson County Transit

  1. E-mail: Comments@thejo.com
  2. Mail: Johnson County Transit, 1701 West 56 Highway, Olathe, Kansas 66061
  3. Phone: 913-715-8255 – record your message

Deadline for public comment is July 30, 2012.

Powerpoint presentation from the public meeting. JO_ Public_Meeting 7_2012

JCT Strategic Plan Strategic Plan 2010

START report START_Final_Report_2011

*Note: The date of the public meeting was July 11, not July 16 as shown in the video.

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Why Eliminate Route 669?

Posted by Transit Action Network on July 17, 2012


Transit Action Network is at a loss to understand why Johnson County Transit (JCT) would propose to eliminate Route 669-I.

This route connects Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas (KCK), with employment locations in Johnson County, including Southlake Business Park, Downtown Olathe, Villa St. Francis, and Lenexa City Hall.

At the beginning of this year, Route 680-V was eliminated and 669 was adjusted to serve Villa St. Francis near 127th and Strang Line as well as KCK. As a result, 669 ridership increased substantially.

KCK residents who work at Villa St. Francis wrote a letter to JCT and they have given us permission to publish it.

To: Cris Lowe – Community Relations Director – Johnson County Transit
 From: Villa St. Francis employees who ride 669I ROUTE ON A DAILY BASIS to and from our job at Villa St. Francis.

We, the employees of Villa St. Francis, wish to make our concerns known regarding the bus route cuts involving 669I that are to take place on January 2, 2013.

If you recall, last year about this time, we were again facing bus route changes.  JoCo Transit took away our job link bus that we had for approximately 14 years. Twenty of us, which by the way you have received all of our signatures in protest of the changes, paid for transportation to and from our job like everyone else.  You provided us with a quick route and we were taken care of in 20-30 minutes.  Straight down I-35 to 18th St. to Central Ave. at 16th and to 7th and Sandusky and done.  We Thank You for getting us to our destination quickly.

Then comes the so-called “Budget Cuts” and we are thrown into public transportation.  We were grateful to still have bus service.  Its been 5 months now, and we have adapted to the 4:03 [PM] pickup time [from VSF] getting us back to k.c.ks. at 5:03PM.  On days when traffic is heavy, we get to 6000 Lamar a little later and don’t have to sit there as long.  If we have a clearer run down I-35, we get to 6000 Lamar and just sit which seems like forever.  Plus, if we have to wait on other passengers, that also gets us away from 6000 Lamar later.  A lot of days we don’t get back to k.c.ks. until almost 5:10PM.

It must be said that our bus driver Ray is great.  He is the best heavy traffic driver and is so nice and patient.

Now, we are going through this again.  With riding the 669I bus, we found that there are a lot of people who ride this route.  All of us going to our jobs.  This bus is almost packed in the morning, and half that in the afternoon.  We all depend on the JoCo Transit.  It’s hard to believe that with all the people depending on the bus and riding daily that cuts are again having to be made.  People don’t have cars, but depend on transit to get them to their jobs.  People come from Missouri [Note: 669 originates at 10th and Main in Missouri] to Olathe and farther South depending on the bus to help get them there.

With the rough draft you proposed, you still have buses going back and forth from Missouri to 151st and Murlen for example.  You have to go through Kansas to get to Missouri.  Why cut our route which stops in k.c.ks.?  The 669I should stay in service.

So, we the employees at Villa St. Francis wish to be heard.  We ask you to consider providing Villa St. Francis employees with some transportation, having us leave VSF at 3:30PM and take the same route we had before straight down I35 to 18th St. to 16th and Central to 7th and Sandusky.  Our group doesn’t even need a larger bus.  We would be very grateful.  We just want something.  If this cannot be done, then we ask that you not change the current 669I route and give all of us at VSF and others a way to get to and from our jobs.  Thank you, and please take VSF into consideration when making your final decision.  Please do not cut the 669 route.  

Respectfully,
Villa St. Francis Employees

Route 669 is the only transit connection between downtown KCK and Johnson County. It starts at 10th and Main in Kansas City, Missouri, then to KCK and on to Lenexa and Olathe. The 669 service was re-routed in January 2012 to KCK. It is particularly disturbing that the KCK workers at Villa St. Francis first lost a bus service they had for 14 years, only to be told they might lose the only remaining KCK/JoCo transit option to work in 2013. This route and route 677-R are the two ”reverse commute” express routes to Johnson County, and they are both proposed for elimination. This gives riders the unfortunate impression that workers from Missouri and Wyandotte County are not welcome in Johnson County.

We have received communications from other workers who use this route to get to work. The following excerpt is from a rider who wrote to several Johnson County commissioners and lives in KCMO and uses this reverse commute bus.

I would also ask you to carefully consider that not all transit riders have “no other option” and that people like me, considered “choice” riders, use this vital public resource to help manage a rising cost of living. Since the JO has experienced considerable growth in ridership over the last year, its clear there are many reasons for people in Johnson County to choose public transportation. 

I’ve been without a car for 2 years in an effort to pay off my student loans and while it’s not always easy, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make in this tough economy. Many of the people I’ve met on I and D routes of the JO are a part of hard-working families, people who make the choice to spend over an hour, each way, on the bus to save money. I’ve met several nurses and Sprint engineers, warehouse workers and municipal employees from 3 cities who are all trying to squeeze a little more from their budget by using public transportation. Yes, we choose the bus but many choose it pay for sports teams for their kids, visiting nurse care for their elderly parents or to keep the one family car in good repair. We may be choice riders but if the choice is to pay the rising cost of gas or to pay for quality child care, the options are limited.

The proposed JO service eliminations for 2013 will make tough choices even tougher for people like me who aren’t looking for the easy way, who aren’t asking for a handout, who just want the chance to work in Johnson County. Eroding service levels when ridership is on the rise is not a sound approach and I hope your dedication to careful and serious consideration of the facts will lead to continuing current JO service levels at least.

Route 669 and Route 546-D both serve Lenexa City Hall, and both are proposed for elimination.  That would leave no transit to the 87th Street corridor of Lenexa. The Route 669 service area also includes the new EPA location on Renner Road. So instead of the EPA having limited transit to what is considered a “non-sustainable location” it would have NO transit at all. See our previous article.  GSA and EPA Make A Bad Move

Using information JCT made public, TAN evaluated route 669 and it compares favorably in performance measures to several routes being retained. In fact, it has a better farebox recovery ratio, lower annual cost per rider, and higher daily ridership per trip than routes 556, 575, 856, or 875 — all of which are proposed to be retained with slight modifications. It is important to compare the routes using measures such as riders per trip or cost per rider since the raw numbers can be misleading. Route 669 has only 4 trips per day (2 each way) so the ridership can look low compared to the 556, which has 20 trips per day. However when riders per trip or cost per rider are used then the routes can be compared in a fair manner.

If anything, this route should have increased service. When KCATA completed a comprehensive transit analysis last year, one of the recommendations from the national consulting firm, Nelson/Nygaard, was that commuter routes should have a minimum of 6 buses a day, three out in the morning and three returning in the evening. Four buses limit the ability to attract riders since there isn’t the flexibility to cover enough work hours, which is needed for a serious service. Despite this limitation, ridership is up.

When Johnson County cut its transit budget at the beginning of 2012, JCT made a round of service cuts. They tried to combine and re-route buses in order to cover the needs of the same population as in 2011. They hoped these changes wouldn’t hurt too many people. However, in a desperate attempt to do more with less, they ended up with some poorly designed routes and schedules which make it harder to use the system. Yet, ridership is up.

Now JCT is proposing to make even more severe cuts. Instead of some riders having long poorly designed routes, they won’t have a route at all. Significant populations and sections of the region won’t be served.

Politicians keep saying it is all about jobs. In this case we are talking about working people who may lose a job or have to look for a new one in this economy because they lose the ability to get to work.  If these cuts are implemented, riders on 18 of the 20 routes, whether they ride by necessity or by choice, will have to make personal decisions and ask if there is still enough transit in Johnson County to allow them to use the service. The answer will be NO for many of them. Transit provides access to jobs, helps the economy and improves the environment.

Johnson County is going in the wrong direction. Tell the commissioners to “Stop The Cuts” and start building a reasonable transit system that is worthy of one of the richest counties in the country.

See our action list to Save The JO and join our Facebook event to share your ideas and tell what you are doing to help. Watch our Save The JO video interviews.

Please attend the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners Public Budget Hearing, July 23rd @ 7 pm at the  Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry, Olathe, KS 66061

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