ATA makes changes to Ward Parkway 51 bus route

51-bus-stopThe ATA has announced changes to a Midtown bus route that will go into effect on Jan. 5. One Midtown transit advocate has expressed concern about the change, saying it could make it harder for retirees, students and other Midtown residents to get where they need to go.

51-routeThe Ward Parkway 51 route includes weekday and weekend service from downtown to the Bannister area, passing through or adjacent to Midtown neighborhoods including Coleman Highlands, Roanoke, Valentine, Volker, West Plaza, and Plaza Westport.

According at an ATA bulletin, beginning on Jan. 5, the 51 bus will be available every 60 minutes instead of every 30 minutes as it is now.  Between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays, the bus will travel between downtown and Lydia & Bannister on all trips. (Currently the bus makes shorter trips every 30 minutes in addition to the longer trip covering the full route).  Times on all trips will change by several minutes. The route will continue to offer service between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays.

 See route change detail 

At an ATA board meeting yesterday, Ron McLinden, a Coleman Highlands resident and daily transit user, asked the ATA to postpone the changes and conduct community outreach to schools, neighborhoods and institutions that might be impacted by the change.

“How is it that these neighborhoods that grew up around the streetcar, that are walkable and diverse, are not able to provide enough riders to justify this route? What could we do to bring the numbers up?” he asked ATA commissioners.

McLinden said there are no schedule maps along the route, which means people may not even know the route is available. He also told the commissioners he thinks many people are not aware of the proposed change.

ATA Senior Planning Manager Chuck Ferguson said the decision was made because of low ridership on the route.

“Its not by far the worst route, but these midday routes operate at a low ridership level.”

He said during the midday periods, the buses carry fewer than eight riders. He also pointed out that morning and evening service remains the same on the route and that ridership is higher during those periods.

One Comment

  1. sharon pendleton says:

    KCATA altered the route of the 51 last time they messed with their routes and schedules. Because the 51 meanders all over the place, the route has lost much of its ridership> So now, to correct the problem, KCATA planners will provide even LESS service for this route. Solve the problem, and return to the route that carried riders via Roanoke, Westport Rd and onto Broadway. What in the world is wrong with KCATA planning? ANSWER: These folks do NOT ride buses in KC.

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