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RideKC Next aims to improve student commutes


Brenden Hill and Amina Dalton

Whether by bus, van or streetcar, Kansas City’s RideKC public transit system shuttles thousands of Kansas Citians around the metro. 

“As a college student, most of us don’t have the money to have the luxury of having a car or taking Lyfts and Ubers. The bus is the next best thing,” says Khalia Watson, a UMKC student who recently began using RideKC.

“I’ve used public transportation for my first three semesters at UMKC, and I used it heavily last semester to travel from my apartment to work,” biology sophomore Ayana Tomlin said.

The public transit system is planning on going through a compressive redesign in what is being called RideKC Next.

According to the RideKC Next Draft Plan, this is because “the bus network is not matching the purposes and expectations of the community.”

“The only complaint about the buses I have is the times they come,” Tomlin said. “I would either arrive at my job an hour earlier or 30 minutes late, which was annoying.”

This plan is not a surprise. The last time the RideKC system was reviewed was in its 2012-2013 Compressive Service Analysis.

This new proposal may have an impact on the many UMKC students who utilize their student IDs to ride the bus to and from campus. The proposal would divert the route for the Main MAX, a higher speed bus line, closer to campus, making the commute via Main Street quicker and more convenient.

Further changes would affect a variety of other bus routes around town. The plan states that “East-West service would be upgraded to come every 15 minutes or better on 12th street, 39th street, and 47th street.” Additionally, RideKC would attempt to increase the coverage system’s services available on all weekend routes.

The changes will come at a price. According to RideKC, costs will begin to be covered by reducing the number of duplicated routes. Some of the routes that would be cut include Route 9 (9th Street), Route 10 (Woodland-Brooklyn), and Route 25 (Troost Local).

RideKC hopes the changes will up ridership by making buses run faster and wait times lower. 

There may be a period of adjustment if the RideKC Next initiative passes. However, the changes may ease transportation woes for UMKC students.

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