With steep budget cuts forecast for 2013 and 2014, Johnson County Transit has proposed eliminating eight bus routes and reducing or modifying service on nine others.
The move would save an estimated half million dollars a year but reduce bus transportation options for county residents and those from outside the county who commute to jobs there.
The University of Kansas Medical Center would be among the destinations no longer having bus service as of January, when the cuts would kick in. Connections to Kansas City, Kan.; Paola; Spring Hill and De Soto would also be cut off, as would bus service to Lenexa west of Quivira Road.
Together, the routes being eliminated carry 60,000 passengers a year. Some have seen ridership declines due to previous service cutbacks. Ridership has spiked on others, but they made the hit list because of other funding considerations.
Overall, ridership on The Jo is up 11 to 12 percent from last year.
The cuts are not final. Officials at The Jo are soliciting comments and have set two hearings for next month. In the past, transit officials have rethought route and schedule changes in response to public reactions, said county transportation director Alice Amrein.
It’s possible that some routes on the hit list won’t be eliminated entirely, but they will make fewer trips each day. However, it will take a loud outcry from the public for the Johnson County Commission to shift its priorities, Amrein said.
The hearings are set for 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. July 9 and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. July 11, both at the Sylvester Powell Community Center in Mission. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 913-715-8255.