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RideKC to expand bus service in Johnson County to help riders get to work, class, retail destinations

RideKC will launch new and expanded bus service to parts of Johnson County beginning next week, which will connect riders to employment, educational, entertainment and retail destinations.

The intent of the expanded transit service is to connect people to jobs, increase the frequency of the service and create a more integrated public transportation network in the county and the Kansas City area, said Sharon Watson, director of public affairs and communications for the Johnson County manager’s office.

The expansion doubles service on 75th Street, adds a new route on 95th Street, and brings expanded bus service to Overland Park, Shawnee, Merriam, Prairie Village and Leawood.

The service will include popular destinations like Prairiefire, Oak Park Mall, Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Overland Park Regional Medical Center, Johnson County Community College, Sprint, Black & Veatch and the University of Kansas — Edwards Campus.

Johnson County is funding the expansion as part of last year’s property tax increase to support better parks, libraries and public transit. Transit received about $1.5 million for this fiscal year. About $1.1 million of the funding is supporting the new and expanded service.

Here’s a look at the new expanded transit options and bus route numbers:

495-95th Street: A new east-west route will operate during the morning and afternoon rush hours from 74th Terrace and Broadway in the Waldo area in Kansas City to Oak Park Mall in Overland Park. The route will extend to west Lenexa next year.

556-Metcalf/Plaza: The existing route will include new trips to Overland Park destinations the Prairiefire shopping and entertainment district at 5661 W. 135th St., Corbin Park at 6917 W. 135th St., and Johnson County Community College 12345 College Blvd., during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

575-75th Street/Quivira: The weekday service on the existing route will double on 75th Street, from Troost Avenue in Kansas City to the University of Kansas — Edwards campus in Overland Park. Transit service will operate every 30 minutes during the morning and afternoon rush hours and every hour during the mid-day.

75-75th Street: A fourth round trip will be added to the existing route during the morning and afternoon rush hours between the the Waldo area in Kansas City and Overland Park.

Detailed maps and schedules are available online at ridekc.org.

In addition to the expanded transit service, Johnson County also will implement a pilot taxi voucher program with service within the region for $5 starting July 5. The pilot program will be open to Johnson County residents who are over the age of 65 as well as anyone with a disability. The program will serve the De Soto, Gardner, Edgerton, Stilwell and Spring Hill areas.

The service, which is expected to cost $375,000, is also being funded through property taxes.

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

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