RideKC touts early success of micro-transit program in Johnson County

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- There’s a new way to get around Johnson County that promises to combine the convenience of Uber at the price of bus fare.

“It’s pretty neat,” said Joshua Joswara, a student at Johnson County Community College.

RikeKC’s micro-transit 6-month pilot program, through the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, is available from 119th Street to Shawnee Mission Parkway. The service area is bounded by Renner Boulevard on the west and Metcalf Avenue on the east.

The coverage area includes JCCC, Oak Park Mall and AdventHealth Shawnee Mission.

Like Uber, passengers can book a trip using the app on their phone. But like traditional mass transit, each ride only costs a flat rate of $1.50.

“It is a hybrid so we’re looking at how people use transportation and really starting to be customer focused,” said Jameson Auten with KCATA. “People like to be picked up on their time and dropped off where they’re going to be dropped off.”

On Friday, KCATA released some early findings on the micro-transit service:

"24 percent of respondents use RideKC microtransit daily (5-7 days a week), and 20 percent use the service frequently (3-4 days a week).

"RideKC microtransit is used primarily for commuting to/from work, with 40 percent of respondents indicating this as their general purpose for using the service  The service is also used to commute to/from school (24 percent) and to get to the doctor (12 percent). It’s also used for leisure purposes – e.g. to get to/from shopping trips and restaurants (15 percent).

"If the microtransit service wasn’t available, 31 percent of respondents said they would have taken an Uber/Lyft, while 12 percentwouldn’t have made the trip at all."

Auten said it’s possible that KCATA will expand micro-transit to other parts of the metro.

“This works great in Johnson County, it may work great in Parkville, something else may work well in Grandview,” Auten said. “But our role is to really find out what those solutions are and help to implement them.”

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