Passengers Skeptical About Buses Using Shoulder on Highway

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- It's official! Buses can now drive on the shoulder in certain parts of Johnson County.

Buses are allowed to ride on the shoulder if there's congestion. Bus rider Mike Mulcahy took a bus ride from Union Station to Johnson County on Tuesday. Mulcahy said he had some hesitation about the bus being allowed to drive on the shoulder.

"I don't know that I'm really looking forward to it," said Mike Mulcahy, Lenexa rider.

Tuesday was the first day for the Jo-Xpress Service. The service allows four bus routes from downtown Kansas City to parts of Johnson County to drive on the shoulder of I-35. If the traffic is moving slower than 35 miles per hour, then the bus can ride along the shoulder.

"A narrow shoulder and a wide bus makes for kind of a scary fit," he said.

Mulcahy and fellow riders sat quietly as the drive maneuvered the steering wheel to enter the interstate. A few minutes into the ride, the glare of red tail lights were in the distance. That was a sign the driver could get the chance to zip past traffic on the side of the road.

It's a move some riders are waiting to get used to.

"I think it could be a real benefit because the traffic sometimes has a tendency to get really clogged up and this could be real helpful," said Gene Samuelson, Overland Park Rider.

The bus wasn't able to test out the shoulder on Tuesday. There were a few times when the bus slowed down, but not for long. It was smooth sailing for the bus. The bus riders say they appreciated a hassle-free ride home.

"One of the nice things about riding the bus is that when I get home in the afternoon like this, I'm not stressed out," Mulcahy said.

The Johnson County Transportation Administration told FOX 4 that there wasn't enough congestion for drivers to use the shoulder because people are still returning to work after a holiday. They say they'll be re-assessing the project in the six months.

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