Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Transportation topics in KC

Have you ever ridden any KC metro bus system?

Have monthly pass
1
11%
Ride at least once a week
1
11%
Ride on occasion
4
44%
Only when drinking/planning a night out
0
No votes
Tried it once
2
22%
Never have
0
No votes
Not interested
0
No votes
Other
1
11%
 
Total votes: 9

earthling
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Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by earthling » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:57 pm

With the new smartphone app (RideKC) that allows purchasing off-board fares and given a free day pass for signing up, I'm going to take another angle at promoting others to try the bus out for first time or give it another shot. Between the new RideKC app and Google Maps, using the KC bus system is as easy as it can get. Google Maps makes riding very very easy. Just say where you want to go and it will tell you which line(s) to take from your current position. No need to learn stops, lines or schedules.

If you are a bit timid with trying but comfortable with streetcar, try doing this along the streetcar line as you can use streetcar as a backup. Can use the 'free' day pass to experiment with first along streetcar line, then try taking bus to Plaza. Explore from there.

Summary Steps:
1) Use RideKC phone app to purchase fares (free day pass with signup)
2) Use Google Maps app to plan trip
3) Show activated fare on RideKC phone app to driver when boarding
4) Pull yellow cord on bus before desired stop to signal driver, just before your destination

RideKC App: (for purchasing off-board fares)
- Download the "RideKC" app for Android or iPhone from those app stores
- You get a free day pass for signing up ($3 value)
- You don't need to add Credit Card info to get free pass, can enter later for future bus fares
- Be careful not to 'activate' the bus pass until ready to use, when waiting at bus stop
- Show activated pass on phone screen to driver when boarding
- Ensure you have enough battery charge to last duration of the bus pass
- RideKC app has a trip planner but suggest using Google Maps instead

Using Google Maps: (There are other transit apps too)
- Install/Open Google Maps on smartphone/tablet (GPS needs to be turned on)
- Speak destination location or cross streets (might have to specify city for cross streets)
- Example: "Union Station" or "Union Station Kansas City" or "Pershing and Main Kansas City"
- Can also say "Navigate to XYZ" from Google Now or Android home screen
- Click on Transit icon (second icon). It will show you driving directions if you don't click transit icon.
- It may show multiple bus times with various routes, with most recent first, check each for line you want
- Make sure it shows proper current/target locations on map
- Follow walking instructions to find the bus stop
- Note that it shows a countdown timer (usually) for next bus arrival
- Try it right now while reading this

Fares:
- Use RideKC app to purchase fares or insert cash/coins into fare box next to driver when boarding
- $1.50 per ride with 2 hour transfer, Seniors/12-18 only 75 cents
- $3 for day pass (use app or notify driver before inserting fare)
- $10 for a 3 day pass (yes, odd)
- Some suburban lines cost more
- Most buses 75 cents on Ozone Days
- Check app for other fares
- Check if your workplace offers bus discounts. If not, encourage them to offer to reduce need for extra parking.

Transfers:
- If using phone app, show countdown timer of activated fare to driver when boarding
- Or when you insert fare and you plan to use bus again, request a transfer ticket from driver
- Put grasping hand out above fare box to signal wanting to grab a transfer ticket (or ask driver)
- The transfer is good for 2 hours, the expiration time is printed on the ticket
- Swipe transfer on fare box on next rides within 2 hours (or show activated pass on phone)
- If planning to ride many times throughout the day, get a $3 day pass
- Transfers now work with JoCo, KCK buses

Bus Stops:
- Note that bus stop signs show bus line numbers that stop at each particular stop
- Some have shelters, most don't
- Check bus lines and stops on kcata.org or ridekc.org or Google Maps

Requesting Stops:
- Pull yellow cord or push red button to request bus to stop at next stop
- Request stop a block or two before desired stop, but be aware of other close stops
- A sign above driver lights up with 'Stop Requested'. If it doesn't show, pull again. If still not lit, let driver know.
- Can also tell driver while boarding the stop or location you need

Etiquette:
- Exit from rear of bus when possible
- Let passengers off the bus before you get on
- Note senior/handicap seating. Can use it but give up seat if others boarding, or someone holding child
- If using several bills/change or need to talk to driver, board bus last (keep the line moving)

KCATA Rules:
- Shirt/shoes are required to ride the bus
- Food and Drinks are allowed only with a lid/enclosed but no drinking/eating on bus
-- I'll often drink from bottled water but up to driver
- Pets must be in a pet carrier except service dogs
- More here...
http://ridekc.org/rider-guide/code-of-conduct

Bike Racks:
- All buses should have bike racks in front of bus
- Each bus can handle 2 bikes
- Pull lever up, lower rack, place bike in back part of rack available then move bar over wheel
- Tell driver you need to unload bike when hopping off
- HOW TO video... http://ridekc.org/rider-guide/bike-n-bus#howtousebike

Common Bus Lines:
- 129/Airport: Downtown 10th/Main Center to Airport
- MAX Main (Orange Line): River Market to Crown Center to Plaza to Waldo (ends at 75th/Wornall)
- MAX Troost (Green Line): Downtown to and through Troost
- 47/Broadway: Downtown Center to Plaza to BlueRidge Walmart Center
- 142/Northoak: Crown Center to Northtowne Car Dealers to Barry Rd to Zona Rosa
- 51/Ward Pkway: Airport to downtown to KU Med to Ward Pkway Center to Bannister Fed Complex
- 51X/Ward Pkway: Express Downtown to Ward Parkway Mall to Red Bridge (weekdays only)
- 77/Casino Cruiser: Crown Center to Capri/Harrahs/Ameristar and Worlds of Fun
- Google Maps will help you find other lines

Official Sites: http://www.kcata.org http://www.ridekc.org

If you know others who could be taking bus but have never tried, send them this link. Show them how to ride.
Last edited by earthling on Mon May 28, 2018 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

earthling
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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by earthling » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:15 am

Added a poll, scroll to top of thread. What will it take to get more people to try the bus? And can anyone explain why a 3 day pass is $10 when a day pass is $3 ($9 for 3 days). A dollar convenience charge seems petty. Charging $8 might gain more revenue/profit if some don't use it all 3 days.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by ULCajun » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:39 am

Tried the free pass. Until we can enter our work-sponsored monthly passes in the app I won't be able to use it. Makes loading so much quicker.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by DaveKCMO » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:43 am

earthling wrote:And can anyone explain why a 3 day pass is $10 when a day pass is $3 ($9 for 3 days). A dollar convenience charge seems petty. Charging $8 might gain more revenue/profit if some don't use it all 3 days.
i think a change might be in the works.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by earthling » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:49 am

^Or 4 days for $10 as it may be more common to use a $10 bill than mix of bills. Many may not use it 4 days (especially weekend visitors) but will do it for the convenience.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by earthling » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:52 am

ULCajun wrote:Tried the free pass. Until we can enter our work-sponsored monthly passes in the app I won't be able to use it. Makes loading so much quicker.
That might need some major changes to allow for that. Like unique ID for each work-sponsored pass to add to phone app, or setting up company sponsors in the app ecosystem - but then have to validate you are an employee. Could be done but there has to be a unique way to identify somewhere in the process.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by DaveKCMO » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:54 am

the main goals are to reduce the use of cash on board and to offer another payment option. if you're using an employer or student pass you don't fall into either of those. it'll be addressed at some point, i'm sure, but not during the pilot.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by bobbyhawks » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:57 am

earthling wrote:Added a poll, scroll to top of thread. What will it take to get more people to try the bus?
IMO, expanding the streetcar line and selling the connections to the streetcar line. People who need to use the bus already use it, and our city is oriented in such a way that long distance bus travel rarely makes sense for people with cars unless your destination is downtown or very close to a bus stop with frequent stops. The app goes a long way in eliminating one of the mental barriers to riding the bus, which is that people are afraid they won't have exact change, have no idea if they need a transfer, or will do something wrong when boarding. Most people have to learn from a friend that such an app exists, and it will take time for anything like that to happen as people discuss the convenience. I also think the straightening out of bus lines will have a long-term positive effect as people start to look at possible bus routes. Unfortunately, people just aren't trained to even think of the bus in KC.

If I had a very expensive recommendation that will never happen, it would be to create a park and ride Truman Sports Complex service that is convenient from downtown, South JoCo, KC North, and Village West, specific to baseball and football games, and use it to advertise RideKC during Royals games.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by DaveKCMO » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:07 am

bobbyhawks wrote:IMO, expanding the streetcar line and selling the connections to the streetcar line.
this is the endgame and has worked well attracting new system-wide ridership in other cities (albeit via light rail). why take a dump on the only thing that's generating new ridership in the region just because it's relatively expensive to install? by that logic, we wouldn't even bother with MAX for the 10% gain (now evaporated by overall ridership declines).

the app -- if marketed aggressively and constantly -- will certainly attract casual riders. it's difficult to estimate how many, as there is no industry method for it.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by earthling » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:17 am

Agree bobbyhawks, and good idea on promoting P&Rs.

To promote transit...
- Take a friend who lives along a bus line out for a Saturday day trip from say Union Station to Westport/Plaza to Brookside Shops to Waldo. (And maybe bikeshare back part of way).
- Show work friends the Google Maps transit option while at work and the bus stops nearest to work
- Promote workplace to offer discounted bus passes, needing fewer parking spots
- Email/text them this link to this guide

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by DaveKCMO » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:22 am

ah, forgot to mention a transportation management association would help increase ridership (which has been recommended in both the river market and crossroads parking studies).

http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm44.htm

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by earthling » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:52 pm

Might think about doing another Ragger Bus Adventure some late Saturday morning when not crazy hot. For those who have never/rarely ridden but interested in a journey, we could do the free bus pass on phone app and take a trip from Union Station to Plaza and maybe to Waldo. PM me if interested, might arrange another trip.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by mean » Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:51 pm

I typically only use the bus when my car is in the shop now (and even then, Uber tends to be vastly more convenient), but it was a godsend for a teenager with no car cutting class!

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by earthling » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:37 am

^Yeah, I take bus up to Northtowne dealers (N Oak line) when car is serviced.

On a bit of a tangent... When downtown started to take off, was a little disconcerting at first that many suburban people moving into downtown would drive even just a few blocks. Then when a drivethrough Jimmy John's opened downtown it seemed downtown was going to have some serious challenges with downtown adapting to suburban ways than some new downtowners adapting to urban way of life. When the streetcar and bikeshare opened, those seem to have gotten more downtowners not to drive downtown but the next step needs to be attracting them to bus - and everyone who lives along decent bus service for that matter.

As bobbyhawks and Dave alluded to, the streetcar system given its success needs to find a way to cross-promote using the bus system. How about a 'free MAX bus as streetcar extension to Plaza' on Saturdays? Present in a way that it's a part of and natural extension of the streetcar line, not a separate bus system. Like when the streetcar terminates in Union Station, the announcement can mention the 'streetcar's free bus extender to Plaza near the bike station'. But of course wait until streetcar vote passes.

Or it might have to be the 47 Broadway bus if MAX changes routes in Oct. And if MAX goes down Grand, maybe 47 bus can switch from Grand to Main along streecar line.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by earthling » Sun May 27, 2018 1:43 pm

My brother in Brooklyn was telling me about Citymapper being his favorite transit app, which also shows bikeshare info/locations. Unfortunately it only supports a few US cities, not KC yet. Can go to site and request support.

I still tend to use Google Maps for nearly all trips but Movit is pretty nice as you can report user generated info similar to Waze. Uber/Lyft support as well but not bikeshare. IE, users can define station/stop details with picture of stop to help others find. Has favorite line alerts, live directions while walking. Can also report alerts no yet on the feeds, driver rating, crowdedness, incidents, cleanliness. Can also report about a station/stop with similar info. Also shows last ride for the night for any line.

BTW, you can still get $45 annual bikeshare pass (30% off) until end of May using promo code BikeMonth18! - Allows for one hour rides as well instead of 30min.
https://kc.bcycle.com/top-nav-pages/join-now


Transit apps on my phone...
Google Maps
RideKC (to buy fares)
Bcycle (find and unlock bikes from phone)
Movit

Any other transit apps that stand out?

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by bspecht » Sun May 27, 2018 10:41 pm

Transit App (yes, that's the name) is far-and-away my favorite in KC and elsewhere – it aggregates everything (rail, bus, bike share, all dockless offerings, etc). https://transitapp.com

Citymapper is also solid. Never use Google Maps, transit is too far from their core market and competencies.

P.S. KC needs dockless scooters ASAP.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by earthling » Mon May 28, 2018 10:22 am

Thanks, that's a great app - Transit App. I like the bikeshare integration and especially the timeline, but I don't see countdown timer as Google maps has. Movit is more useful if interested in user generated realtime info (like Waze) and has more useful widget but Transit App looks to be most comprehensive with feeds.

Agree that scooters are next natural step for KC and Bcycle has been testing it.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by bobbyhawks » Tue May 29, 2018 12:51 pm

I'll only be excited about the scooters if there is a well-run program that picks them up frequently. It is easier to place the scooters neatly out of the way than bikes, but I have too little faith in humanity to assume people will care about that. Fortunately, they are easier to scoop up and relocate. My LA friends don't tend to mind them as much as the dockless bikes.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by earthling » Tue May 29, 2018 1:10 pm

Structured dockless is what I'd like to see. That is use designated locations (a lot more than dock-based) and if not dropping off within a defined location, you're still being charged for the ride (or at least told you could be, like charged if you drop off bad location 3 times in a row). Maybe have green/red zones on bikeshare app on where bikes can/cannot be left, with a warning if locking in a red zone. That could involve some tedious map management per city for the operator but likely cheaper than deploying/maintaining docks.

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Re: Poll/Guide: Get on the Bus with Your Phone - Try It Free

Post by grovester » Tue May 29, 2018 1:25 pm

https://slate.com/technology/2018/05/ch ... on-go.html

Bizarre article about the recharge/collection subculture.

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