KC Light Rail

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KCATA gets Federal funding for new buses

Unrelated to light rail, the U.S. Department of Transportation released $2.64 million in funding to KCATA for 22 new buses, according to a brief from the Kansas City Business Journal. The funding was previously earmarked in the fiscal 2006 transportation bill.

10 Comments so far

  1. northlander July 20th, 2007 7:14 pm

    Looks like thats about $100,032 per rider.[ridership at 20,000 people] Can we waste anymore money. Would be cheaper to give them a ford focus and have money for our schools.

  2. kcvoter July 21st, 2007 2:22 pm

    My question: Has ATA ordered the appropriate-sized buses? I’m sure older buses need to be replaced, but does current ridership justify the long buses that currently dominate the fleet? I’d think the ATA would easily meet the needs of the community with smaller, less expensive and more efficient smaller buses. These are the type of decisions I’d like to see ATA making.

  3. Dave July 21st, 2007 5:41 pm


    1. average daily ridership on the KCATA is 51,000 and rising, not 20,000.

    2. should we plan on buying those new ford focus drivers all of their gasoline? if so, for how long? a bus pass costs $40 a month ($20 for seniors/students/disabled), not nearly enough savings to cover the cost of gas at $3.29/gallon.

    3. how will we explain to the EPA that you are adding significant CO2 emissions now that we’re already over the limits set by the clean air act? and better yet, how will you explain it to the asthmatic children and their parents?

    4. are you going to pay for these transit riders’ parking spots, insurance, and maintenance? if not, please recalculate to accommodate those indirect costs.

    5. what are we going to tell non-transit-riders when they want a new car paid for by our taxpayer dollars?

    6. prepare to pay a transportation utility tax since the gas tax doesn’t cover the cost of building and maintaining the roads you use (yes, roads are as subsidized as public transportation is). also, be prepared for higher priced flights since your airport fees don’t cover the cost of maintaining the FAA and the air traffic control system.

    7. will we spring for specially equipped cars for the handicapped? since you’re using taxpayer dollars to buy the ford cars, they must be ADA compliant just like the buses.

    8. will we pay for taxi service for people who’ve had their drivers licenses revoked or who are otherwise unable to drive?

    in short, your argument against buses is purely economic (and short-sightedly academic) and doesn’t take into account the social and environmental benefits of public transportation subsidies. if such subsidies were such an issue for kansas city voters, they wouldn’t approve dedicated transit sales taxes in the first place.

  4. Joe Medley July 23rd, 2007 9:19 am


    9. When I drove to work my commute cost me twenty gallons of gas a month. I don’t know what the average would be for those 50,000 bus riders, but lets say it’s twenty, just for the sake of argument. For all 50,000 riders, that’s 1,000,000 gallons a month or 12,000,000 gallons a year. In other words, that $2.64 million for the KCATA is increasing the supply of gasoline and reducing the demand. In a sense, it is also subsidizing your commute.

  5. northlander July 24th, 2007 5:27 pm

    That’s 20,000 riders going to work and the same going back home plus tranfers are counted in to ridership so that’s how you get 50,000 riders.[ not 50,000 different riders]
    Yes the buses should be smaller,how many times do you see a full one.
    To Dave; you need to take the full amount the ATA gets funded each year. To move 20,000 people. KC growth has not been that good over the last 10 years. With the whole KC area we only have about 1.8 million so you can see transportatation is not that big of need as it’s put out to be. Go to a transit meeting sometime and see how many people go that ride transit.[maybe 5 of 50 people there]. The rest are from the ATA,MARC,KC/MO employees and developers.
    Transit lines need to be set-up where people can move to for transit we can’t have bus service for 300 sq. miles of Kansas City MO

  6. Dave July 24th, 2007 6:21 pm

    contrary to popular belief, buses do get full in KC. in fact, the *only* places in america where i’ve seen full buses during all hours of the day are portland and manhattan. regardless, it would likely be more expensive to maintain a smaller set of buses during non-peak hours in addition to the full-size buses needed for peak hours. once again, your funding argument is **purely economic** and doesn’t take into consideration the social and environmental impacts of that many more cars emitting particulates, wearing down the roads, and taking up parking spaces every day. funding mass transit cannot be boiled down to a simple calculation of cost per rider… it’s a service that improves the quality of life for residents.

    all that said, i’m not even sure what your stance on transit is based on your comments. you say “transit lines need to be set up (here)”, yet you spew the libertarian soundbites about just buying everyone cars instead of funding the system.

  7. northlander July 25th, 2007 6:13 am

    I am not aganist transit just smarter transit,and better use of money. And yes I know the buses are full sometimes like game day for the Chiefs.
    Streetcars are the way to go because of the weight and cost. would not have to spend as much money per car,digging up the streets etc. Light Rail is to big for downtown KC and won’t be able to og any faster than the streetcars. LR would be great going to the Airport because of few stops and can build up speed.

  8. northlander July 29th, 2007 11:19 am

    Hybrid car would only go to the poor on low ridership route. Pollution would be mimimal compared to a bus going all day long. They say it cost $25 million to start a route so the money saved from low ridership routes could improve other routes.
    Bus $120,000.00 Driver $30,000 plus benifits,fuel cost at 9 miles per gallon.
    Small van could pick-up handicap people instead of running a bus all day.
    If you have a job and lose your drivers licenses sorry no free ride.

  9. Jim August 6th, 2007 5:56 pm

    What is interesting is that northlander seems quite concerned about “wasted” money by govt. agencies - however, given that the ATA continues to increase riders when the ATA budget continues to be grossly beneath what it should be suggests that the ATA is not wasting money, but in fact should be held up as a govt. agency that actually works within a tight budget and continues to grow.

    At some point, we - as a culture - will have to grow up and realize that we need to consider our actions in light of environmental and political consequences. In other words, given today’s economy, the state of the environment and the political hot potatoe that our gross over-consumption of oil really is, we will need to change our priorities and embrace more and not less transit options.

  10. Darien Valentino April 18th, 2008 3:51 am

    First of all, KC’s buses do get full, and I think the ATA needs larger buses. Some 60 foot buses would be nice. Also the ATA needs to take the smaller buses off the more packed routes. I’m from NYC, trust me when I say this… the metro NEEDS longer buses. Every time I get on a 30 foot bus it’s always crowded, and it pisses me off! I will be starting a small bus line myself, but it will mostly serve Olathe, KS.

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