Kansas City’s bus agency is giving serious consideration to moving downtown’s Main Street MAX rapid bus service to Grand Boulevard, and is seeking the public’s reaction.
“MAX was developed as a bus rapid transit system, but the current route through downtown is neither speedy nor direct,” Chuck Ferguson, chief planning officer for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, said in an emailed statement. “This is an opportunity to refresh the MAX brand.”
The Kansas City streetcar now runs primarily on Main Street, and that has affected the bus service. Other changes downtown have also had a big impact, including the build-out of the Power & Light downtown entertainment district and numerous residential and hotel improvements.
The Main Street MAX line has an average weekday ridership of 4,057, the third highest in the region after the Prospect Avenue bus and the Troost MAX.
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But it was planned in 2002-2003, and bus agency officials point out that downtown traffic has increased significantly since then, so that creates a challenge for maintaining on-time performance.
The proposed route would travel along Grand Boulevard from 3rd Street in the River Market to Pershing and Grand. MAX service on Wyandotte between 16th and 12th streets would be eliminated. Weekday, Saturday and Sunday schedules would be adjusted.
So far, rider reaction to the proposed changes has been positive, officials said. The route could change as early as October.
Other considerations about the change:
▪ Straightening the MAX line on Grand Boulevard would make it more direct, with a goal of better on-time performance, and for more reliable, fast and frequent service.
▪ The current route meanders a bit, and there are few to no daily boardings currently occurring near the Kansas City Convention Center on Wyandotte.
▪ This route change keeps with the ATA’s transit plan emphasis corridors north and south on Grand and east and west on 12th and 11th streets.
The cost of the change is not yet available. The intent would be to place new downtown shelters along Grand, serving both the MAX bus and RideKC routes. The new shelters would be upgrades and may include Smart City digital passenger amenities.
Changes are also contemplated for the Troost MAX and other routes. More information is at http://ridekc.org/bulletins/max-service-outreach.
Upcoming public comment meetings:
▪ July 6, 4 to 6 p.m., Waldo Library Meeting Room A, 201 E. 75th St.
▪ July 9, 2 to 4 p.m., Cleaver YMCA, 7000 Troost Ave.
▪ July 10, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Kansas City Design Center, 1020 Baltimore Ave.
▪ July 10, 4 to 6 p.m., Dobbs Elementary School, 9400 Eastern Ave.
▪ July 11, 4 to 6 p.m., Plaza Library, 4801 Main St.