The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is taking a new look at Johnson County. The county’s 2016 budget has built in money to expand bus service in the area, and it’s looking for suggestions on how exactly to spend it.
It had a slow start with its first public meeting, held at Johnson County Community College, drawing only five people.
Jeff Sullivan, an Overland Park resident who uses KCATA buses to commute to his job downtown at DST Systems, was one of the people there.
“I think they can do some things if they really want to increase ridership and serve more people,” said Sullivan, who has been a regular rider for about 13 years.
He’s critical of the current routes and said they don’t serve the population of western Olathe well and that the people who use many bus stops, like the one at 137th Street and Antioch Road, have to drive to get there.
“I don’t know what studies they’ve done, but this doesn’t seem they’re hitting the right people when they don’t go by the right places that people who need to ride the buses are,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said he’s made these suggestions and others, such as the locations of stops downtown, to the transit authority previously.
Shawn Strate, a planner for the regional planning and development department of the ATA, said the responses to the meeting had “no overarching sentiment,” but he hoped that the surveys they’re handing out would provide useful data for route planning.
The surveys ask about the times of the day and the days of the week people are currently using the system. They’re also trying to find out where people are traveling, point to point, and whether those trips are for work, school or other personal business.
Strate said that when he talks with people in the community, they usually tend to inquire about midday, weekend or evening routes.
The ATA has planned three other meetings in Johnson County: from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 24 at Oak Park Library, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 29 at Matt Ross Community Center, and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 30 at Mission Transit Center.
Residents can also submit questions or comments by calling (816) 346-0300 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by April 1. The ATA will propose the expanded routes in May and expects to start service in July.
Beth Lipoff: email@example.com
The KCATA has planned three other meetings in Johnson County:
March 24: 5 to 7 p.m. at Oak Park Library,
March 29: 5 to 7 p.m. at Matt Ross Community Center
March 30: 5 to 7 p.m. at Mission Transit Center.