KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The oncoming blast of winter weather in Kansas City won’t keep many from getting around.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority plans to keep its buses on the road with a focus on safety, as well as keeping passengers warm.

More than 34,000 passengers depend on the big red and blue buses every day, even when the mercury plunges below zero, as its predicted to this Thursday and Friday.

“We still have a hardcore ridership that needs to get to and from,” Chuck Ferguson, KCATA Chief Operating Officer, said.

Ferguson said his staff pretreats some of its routes and keeps salt and ice melt on its bus stops and platforms. He said it takes a lot to stop the public buses from moving. While cold weather is a concern, Ferguson said ice is a bigger worry to bus drivers than cold temperatures are.

“The buses don’t have a lot of difficulty getting around. It’s the cars that get stuck in front of the buses that cause problems, and of course, we’re concerned about the pedestrian environment. People crossing the streets that are slick. People walking up and down sidewalks that are slick,” Ferguson said.

The East Village Transit Center will be open until 6 p.m. during cold weather months. That’s one hour later than usual, offering passengers some shelter while they wait. Riders on Tuesday afternoon said they’ve come to accept the cold, but keeping people from slipping at the bus stop is appreciated.

“Slip and fall isn’t a good thing,” John Larkin, a regular KCATA rider, said. “It’s distressing to know that that could happen. Looks like they have a lot of salt down over there for the ice that might come.”

“There’s not much they can do. They have a station over here that you can go in and warm up Monday through Friday. They take as good a care as they can out here,” said Sheila Leonard, who also said she rides the bus daily.

Ferguson said KCATA administrators are looking for enough staff members to keep the transit center open even later.

KCATA recommends riders to check the mobile app or website for arrival times to keep from having to wait in the cold for longer than necessary.

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