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Bar “trolley” an affront to KC public transit

City Hall has kicked public transportation in the nuts, yet again.

Instead of providing additional funding to KCATA to extend service hours on the weekend — as is done in many other cities nationwide — the City Council has given $195,000 to a private operator to run a tourist "trolley" that duplicates existing transit services.

Good intentions aside, it shows how disconnected our elected officials are from the state of transit in KC — easy to do when driving from the attached garage at home to the underground garage at City Hall. This effort continues to propagate the myth that city buses are for poor people and that tourists and suburbanites should be coddled in faux streetcars — that go door-to-door. Several bus lines (MAX, #51-Broadway, and #57-South Oak) already connect Kansas City's various entertainment districts, serve a larger area, and easily connect with other routes and park-and-rides… all with taxpayer dollars.

Officially, KCATA doesn't see this is as competition. That is 100% wrong. City funds are scarce and KCATA's funding continues to drop in every budget year, even though demand is growing. There's a reason other cities aren't doing this.

By the way, the "trolley" will cost you $15 to ride. Save yourself some change and buy a day pass on the MAX for $3. It stops at Waldo, Brookside, Plaza, Westport, Crossroads, Power & Light, and the River Market. Out past midnight? Take one of the many cabs right to your front door and avoid the drunken foolishness.

UPDATE: Here's the Star's version of the route map, compared to MAX.

5 Comments so far

  1. The DLC March 23rd, 2010 11:13 am

    While I agree with you on principle, the entire point of the trolley seems to be the late hours and the drunken foolishness, which they are encouraging through the active promotion of “confession cams” etc. This supposedly fun, social component is something that a cab or city bus can’t really provide. Thank god.

    I agree that the money would be better spent on public transit but don’t think this is direct competition with bus service. Strip riders will be people who would not ordinarily have taken public transit.

  2. Dave March 23rd, 2010 12:15 pm

    We would have no complaints if city funds had NOT been used at the same time money is being siphoned away from KCATA.

  3. anonymous March 23rd, 2010 12:21 pm

    This is an insult. I can’t believe that a city with a metro of over 2 million is doing this…

  4. Free Transit March 24th, 2010 11:36 am

    You have put this frustration very succinctly. The politicians want transit, but are afraid of the highway lobby, so they come up with silly stuff. Philadelphia has a smelly internal combustion “trolly” for tourists that also duplicates bus routes — and it is not even free. But if we attack them on this we could hit potential friends with friendly fire.

  5. ScooterJ March 28th, 2010 11:35 am

    The problem is the MAX is all but useless for what this trolley does. Its service ends way too early to be useful as a shuttle between entertainment districts. Unless you’re out with a big group cabs are an expensive option… a cab ride from downtown to the Plaza can easily hit $20-$25 and that’s before tip.

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