OLATHE, Kan. — Microtransit, a ride share system meant to aid current transit services, is expanding its pilot program to include more of Johnson County, according to a statement from the county manager’s office.
Beginning Monday, Sept. 14, service area will be expanded to include important new destinations, including the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, the new Johnson County Courthouse, and Merriam Town Center. It expands the current northern border all the way to the Wyandotte County line along Shawnee Mission Parkway and grows the southwest corner of the service area to include downtown Olathe.
“This expansion of our popular microtransit service will mean better access to important existing services offered by Johnson County,” Josh Powers, business liaison for the county, said in the statement.
Powers also said this allows the county more opportunity to study ride share needs as the program continues its pilot run.
The microtransit buses in Johnson County gave roughly 26,000 rides in 2019, serving people who aren’t being served by the bus system in its current capacities. Riders, who would normally have to get a taxi or an Uber, said they were enthusiastic about the convenience and the price, which is only $1.50 each way.
Powers said in an earlier interview that funding for this program comes from the county’s existing public transportation budget. He said other cities are using microtransit plans, but his knowledge, Johnson County, Kansas, is the first to prove it can work in a suburban area as well as it does in a large city.