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Archive for the 'Bus/BRT' Category

A love letter to JO riders

In what has to be the straw that might just break Johnson County Transit's back, riders have been reminded to make space on overcrowded suburban buses:

ROUTE: K-10, B, C, L, N, S

DATE: June 4, 2008


As the price of gas continues to climb, so does JO ridership. We are so happy to have new riders, but it is creating issues with our buses being near – and sometimes over – seating capacity. Johnson County Transit is aware of these routes being overcrowded and we are working on a solution. Please be aware that buses may change according to ridership. The largest buses we have in our fleet are older buses and they seat a total of 43 riders.

The simple solution may be to add more runs, but currently we are out of vehicles and there are no additional funds in the budget to add service.


- As ridership continues to grow, please be aware that there may be people standing on buses.
- Please do not put your personal items in a seat, hold them on your lap so others can sit.
- Please be courteous to those that may have a disability. Remember, not all disabilities are visible, so if someone asks you to move, they are probably disabled. The seats behind the driver are reserved for those that are elderly or disabled.
- If you can wait an additional 15 minutes for the next bus, please do so. Not all routes have this flexibility, but it can help spread out our ridership, making everyone more comfortable during their ride.

Thanks for your patience and cooperation. For further information, questions, or comments, please feel free to contact us at (913) 782-2210 or by visiting www.thejo.com.

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Will the bus tax be exempted from TIF?

We stumbled on this little piece of legislation approved by the Missouri General Assembly that plugs a leak in the recently approved 3/8-cent bus tax in KCMO: SB 1131. Seems it's simply waiting for Governor Matt Blunt's signature. We posted earlier that flat sales tax proceeds + higher fuel costs does not a happy transit authority make, so we might have to rescind that calculation if this does indeed pass muster with the Governor. From a Prime Buzz article before the election:

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority will get an estimated $22 million after money is taken out for tax increment financing. Officials estimated the gross amount generated by the tax at $25 million to $27 million.

If you recall, the only vocal opposition to the tax that voters passed overwhelmingly in August was a shadowy group whose complaint was that the tax wasn't exempt from TIF — as opposed to simply being anti-tax or anti-transit.

We just hope he doesn't send his approval in email. Snap!


Are buses really cheaper to operate?

One of the overlooked stories in all of the media coverage about skyrocketing gas prices is the price of diesel fuel. Yes, it's exactly $1 more per gallon in the KC metro and surpassed $4 long ago. Since KC's transit operators run diesel buses exclusively, this has to be hitting hard (or at least scaring the pants off those who know when their fuel contracts need renewed).

We were prompted to bring this up while reading an update on Charlotte's fledgling light rail line that opened late last year. Buried in an this update about the line's success is the following statement: "Operating Lynx [light rail] is cheaper than buses, especially in the wake of a surge in fuel prices." So subtract the capital cost — which is substantially higher upfront for light rail, although the equipment lasts longer and feds provide matching funds — and you are now achieving cost parity for operations. Coincidentally, Charlotte's transit agency is about to ask for a fare increase to cover the shortfalls caused by rising diesel costs.

In short, don't be surprised to see a fare increase before light rail starts running in KC… just not before November! The fare bump to $1.25 occurred in early 2006 when gas was probably around the $2 mark. Factor in basically-flat sales tax revenue and it's not a pretty picture for the near term.


Round-up: This week in light rail


  • Bus rapid transit along shoulders of I-35 is considered (Kansas City Star)
  • Regional light rail hits another snag (Prime Buzz)
  • Trolley plan puts KC on the move (Kansas City Star)
  • A common sense approach to light rail (Kansas City Star)


  • Gas Prices Send Surge of Riders to Mass Transit (New York Times)
  • UTA contracts for 77 light-rail cars, options 180 more (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Vancouver transportation officials support replacement bridge, light rail (The Columbian)
  • Transit line potential discussed (Baltimore Sun)
  • Planners want Kirn light rail station to have an indelible identity (The Virginian-Pilot)
  • DDA looking for ways to fund trolley study (Augusta Chronicle)
  • Jaywalkers, beware (Arizona Republic)
  • Council delays $2M for streetcar plan (Business First of Columbus)

Troost BRT open houses tonight, tomorrow

KCATA breaks out the easels again this week for two more Troost BRT open houses. Both locations are located along the existing #25 route.

Monday, April 28, 2008
6-8 p.m.
Cleaver Family YMCA
7000 Troost

Tuesday, April 29, 2008
6-8 p.m.
Metro Center
3827 Troost

No real news from the State Avenue BRT meeting on April 15. It's headed to the Unified Government Board of Commissioners on May 1, then to the KCATA Board on May 21. Formal project planning will begin in June.


Google Transit coming to KC

Google Transit Event

We're not claiming any responsibility for this, but we did post in October asking KCATA and The JO to jump on board Google Transit, since it's free, requires very little technical work to join, and far exceeds the usability of most online trip planners (besides, who doesn't use Google Maps these days?). Kudos! Now where is The JO?

UPDATE: The Google Transit trip planner is Mac friendly, unlike the ATA's existing planner. However, not all mobile devices handle the pages well. We tested on a BlackBerry and didn't get very far, but Windows Mobile and PalmOS worked okay (it's useable).

UPDATE 2: According to this article, The JO is "still working on it." We've also confirmed that Google Transit works on iPhones, but only displays text instructions.

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