Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Transportation topics in KC
User avatar
DaveKCMO
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 17691
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 6:22 pm
Location: Crossroads
Contact:

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by DaveKCMO » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:26 am

earthling wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:18 am
Separately.. here's a list of free public transit in US. Most are a free line or two or downtown free zones. Doesn't look like any US city of significant size is doing free city or metro-wide transit.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_f ... ort_routes
It's true, there are no US cities our size or larger doing free transit outside of a downtown zone or route.

SLC and LA are talking about it, both for environmental reasons.

The Mayor of Paris also floated it for the same reason: https://www.thelocal.fr/20181003/is-par ... -transport

KC has no congestion, has a lame record on environmental issues, and is currently not saddled with the EPA's "non-attainment zone" status (but we're dangerously close).

earthling
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 5493
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by earthling » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:40 am

Interesting that those cities are looking into free fare for environmental reasons. KC (like most US cities) has an issue of being relatively more car dependent than older US cities and in Europe/Asia. Free fare itself won't directly solve the issue but businesses and developers cater to the assumption of car dependency. Free bus would boost ridership and get businesses/developers to think about catering to that ecosystem rather than cars.

Owning a car should be considered a luxury, not a necessity.

User avatar
DaveKCMO
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 17691
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 6:22 pm
Location: Crossroads
Contact:

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by DaveKCMO » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:29 pm

Interview with KCATA CEO Robbie Makinen, big focus on zero fare: https://www.kcur.org/post/portrait-sess ... ie-makinen

earthling
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 5493
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by earthling » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:29 am

Given that many across metro have tried the streetcar if even on weekend downtown visits, would suggest the following to attract those reluctant to ride city buses...

- Whether free bus starts metro wide, KCATA wide or just a few lines, one of the first free fare lines should be a Union Station to Plaza route to attract weekend streetcar visitors.
- Treat this line as a streetcar bus link to the Plaza until the streetcar extension to Plaza has completed.
- This is the key part. At the end of the streetcar line as streetcar approaches Union Station, add announcement for "Free Plaza/Westport bus connection available at XYZ, follow the yellow line". (Is yellow brick road too lame?)
- Add a tasteful sign at the US platform about the yellow line to free Plaza bus, which is the beginning point of yellow line. Green, orange, whatever.
- A painted yellow line on sidewalk could either lead to MAX bus stop in CC through Wash Sq Park, or to the 47th stop in front of US.
- A tasteful sign about "Board the Free Plaza Link here" would be at other end of yellow line, with maybe a picture of bus.
- If it can be funded, one option would be to run extra 47X Express buses just from US to Plaza with stops at just Westport and maybe Armour/Uptown District area. Both "47 Local" and "47X Free Plaza Link" would be free fare at first if not entire system. The digital sign on buses would signify as such.

A streetcar association as a "Plaza link" would encourage downtown visitors including metro weekend visitors riding streetcar to give bus a shot and then maybe they'll try bus from their area in metro. Maybe JoCo riders will press for free JoCo lines into city core.

Free fare bus will probably have its challenges but given how long it would take to get rail around metro if ever doable, this seems to be the best shot to increase transit usage and hopefully lead to requiring less parking for future projects in city core.

Do you think bus timid people would give it a shot if the streetcar had an announcement that associates a "Free Plaza Link"? It would make for great daytrips into city before streetcar extension completes. Park once anywhere along either line, visit Downtown, Westport and Plaza and any stops in between (until we have system wide free fare bus).

scooterj
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 5954
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2003 1:30 pm
Location: Northmoor
Contact:

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by scooterj » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:27 am

^Given the number of out-of-towners I've talked to who decided NOT to go to Westport or the Plaza after learning the streetcar didn't go that far, I think this would be hugely successful as an interim solution. As you described, the key would be to make it as easy and clear as possible and you nailed it.

earthling
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 5493
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by earthling » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:15 am

Yeah, easier access for outside visitors, metro visitors and of course improves job connections.

If using MAX Main, an improvement that would be needed is increasing Sunday headway service to 15 minutes (from 30). Saturday is already 15 min. Weekdays are about 10-15 all day/night. If using 47 line via Broadway, service should be increased to 15 minutes every day and adding Express would cost even more, as well as ideally a shelter in front of US.

Using MAX would also increase foot traffic in Wash Sq Park, making it more lively. Adding more park benches would be nice. MAX cheaper but 47 line is within sight of US streetcar platform and shorter walk.

Another option would be to move CC MAX stops to along Pershing in front of Westin. It turns at Pershing/Main North and Pershing Grand South. Makes it more visible to US streetcar platform and shorter walk.

User avatar
DaveKCMO
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 17691
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 6:22 pm
Location: Crossroads
Contact:

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by DaveKCMO » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:53 pm

Rather than confuse people with promoting the Main MAX as something it's not (an easy transfer from streetcar), I'd think we would just promote a single-seat free ride from downtown to Westport/Plaza. The schedules aren't aligned and we didn't see people make the transfer much when it was across the street or on an adjacent platform.

Yes to improved Sunday service on Main MAX!

earthling
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 5493
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by earthling » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:12 pm

What do you mean by single-seat free ride? How would that work?

Where I was going with this was to entice city bus timid people to use regular city buses as an extension to streetcar that they've gained a comfort level with. Directing them from a streetcar announcement on how to get to Plaza. In turn they gain a comfort level with taking free city buses and perhaps push for free bus service from where they live elsewhere in metro.

Using MAX would also just be an interim until streetcar UMKC extension completes. The schedules don't really need to be aligned if running often enough - 10-15 minutes acceptable. Especially for those using it for leisure such as a weekend visit in the city.

Riverite
Strip mall
Strip mall
Posts: 266
Joined: Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:49 pm

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by Riverite » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:47 pm

I think directing people on where to go and how to get there would make a huge difference for people not use to traveling by bus. Especially if it ended on the plaza. If it had the words on the front streetcar extension I’m sure more people would be willing to try it. I think with a lot of people from the suburbs they are just intimidated by the schedules. But if it goes recognizably to where they want to go, and there is an announcement on the bus I think it would really help

Riverite
Strip mall
Strip mall
Posts: 266
Joined: Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:49 pm

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by Riverite » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:48 pm

Just as an interim, however I think free city wide bus should be the ultimate goal

earthling
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 5493
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by earthling » Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:34 am

Riverite wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:47 pm
If it had the words on the front streetcar extension I’m sure more people would be willing to try it.
Yeah and a streetcar announcement (as an endorsement) is key to encouraging more to take the bus, especially those who wouldn't consider it.

User avatar
normalthings
Penntower
Penntower
Posts: 2124
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:52 pm

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by normalthings » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:40 pm

New transit ordinance introduced by Bunch and Lucas.
That the Council directs the City Manager to include a funding request in the next fiscal year budget to make fixed route public transportation fare free within the City.
http://cityclerk.kcmo.org/LiveWeb/Docum ... T22PxPciy

dnweava
Strip mall
Strip mall
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:03 pm

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by dnweava » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:30 pm

DaveKCMO wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:53 pm
Rather than confuse people with promoting the Main MAX as something it's not (an easy transfer from streetcar), I'd think we would just promote a single-seat free ride from downtown to Westport/Plaza. The schedules aren't aligned and we didn't see people make the transfer much when it was across the street or on an adjacent platform.

Yes to improved Sunday service on Main MAX!
Just put some ads in all the streetcars promoting the bus.
-Going to the plaza?, transfer to the MAIN MAX at union station stop
-Going to westport, transfer to the #? at union station(?)
-Going to the airport, transfer to the 229 at Library Stop.

horizons82
Strip mall
Strip mall
Posts: 206
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:41 am

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by horizons82 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:06 pm

I thought at one point free buses in the urban core was going to be one of the carrots dangled (along with regional BRT routes) for regional transit funding? What happened to that?

I'm all for eliminating fares in the core, but it seems like it could be used more strategically to get other transit needs funded. Am I missing something?

User avatar
normalthings
Penntower
Penntower
Posts: 2124
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:52 pm

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by normalthings » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:14 pm

horizons82 wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:06 pm
I thought at one point free buses in the urban core was going to be one of the carrots dangled (along with regional BRT routes) for regional transit funding? What happened to that?

I'm all for eliminating fares in the core, but it seems like it could be used more strategically to get other transit needs funded. Am I missing something?
I'd imagine doing this guarantees that free transit happens next year. The cost of removing fares is relatively small but could be seen as a "subsidy" of KC by suburban voters in a regional vote.

User avatar
DaveKCMO
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 17691
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 6:22 pm
Location: Crossroads
Contact:

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by DaveKCMO » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:26 am

horizons82 wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:06 pm
I thought at one point free buses in the urban core was going to be one of the carrots dangled (along with regional BRT routes) for regional transit funding? What happened to that?

I'm all for eliminating fares in the core, but it seems like it could be used more strategically to get other transit needs funded. Am I missing something?
Sometimes things happen without generating a tweet or news article.

User avatar
normalthings
Penntower
Penntower
Posts: 2124
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:52 pm

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by normalthings » Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:31 pm

DaveKCMO wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:26 am
horizons82 wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:06 pm
I thought at one point free buses in the urban core was going to be one of the carrots dangled (along with regional BRT routes) for regional transit funding? What happened to that?

I'm all for eliminating fares in the core, but it seems like it could be used more strategically to get other transit needs funded. Am I missing something?
Sometimes things happen without generating a tweet or news article.
How is the push for regional transit funding? Is there still a chance that some streetcar could be included?

horizons82
Strip mall
Strip mall
Posts: 206
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:41 am

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by horizons82 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:46 pm

DaveKCMO wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:26 am
Sometimes things happen without generating a tweet or news article.
I'm well aware of that, but I'm not sure how that applies to what I'm saying? Can you elaborate a little bit? I understand there's likely limitations to what you can say.

User avatar
DaveKCMO
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 17691
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 6:22 pm
Location: Crossroads
Contact:

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by DaveKCMO » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:54 pm

If you care at all about zero fare or transit priority, please attend tomorrow’s T&I committee at 9am, where the resolution to study both is on the docket.

http://cityclerk.kcmo.org/liveweb/Meeti ... c%2fzvq5Gc

User avatar
DaveKCMO
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 17691
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 6:22 pm
Location: Crossroads
Contact:

Re: Pursuing FREE City-Wide Bus

Post by DaveKCMO » Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:44 am

DaveKCMO wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:54 pm
If you care at all about zero fare or transit priority, please attend tomorrow’s T&I committee at 9am, where the resolution to study both is on the docket.

http://cityclerk.kcmo.org/liveweb/Meeti ... c%2fzvq5Gc
This resolution passed unanimously out of committee.
Section 3. That the Council directs the City Manager to include a funding request in the next fiscal year budget to make fixed route public transportation fare free within the City.

Section 4. That the Council directs the City Manager to collaborate with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority and engage relevant city boards and commissions and stakeholder groups in the development of recommendations for a transit priority policy. The City Manager is directed to provide a final report on such recommendations to the Council within 60 days of the passage of this Resolution.

Post Reply