Independence agreement: next step in regional transit system

Courtesy KCATA.

Courtesy KCATA.

Momentum is continuing toward a regional transit system. Independence this week entered into an agreement with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to manage its transit contract.

The KCATA signed a similar agreement with Johnson County last December.

“This contract articulates a real win-win for the citizens of Independence as well as for the entire region,” said Joe Reardon, the KCATA’s president and chief executive officer.

KCATA Board Chairman Robbie Makinen praised Independence Mayor Eileen Weir and the Independence City Council for collaborating on the management agreement and recognizing the importance of a regional transit system.

“It is amazing how much each easier it will be for folks with special needs and seniors to get around the region once this goes into effect,” he said. “This is a really big deal.”

The KCATA says the new Independence agreement is another significant step toward building a seamless transit network that will connect people across the region to economic opportunity. In an announcement, the agency spelled out the details of the agreement:

  • Independence riders with disabilities who depend on paratransit services would only need to make one phone call to get transportation. Making 1,900 monthly trips, paratransit riders currently have to keep track of two numbers, one for transit services within Independence, and another for the same services offered elsewhere across the Kansas City region.
  • Gaining eligibility for paratransit services will be easier because Independence riders will now only need to be certified once, regardless of where they’re traveling.
  • It will save Independence about $100,000 a year and free up city staff to devote more time to planning and development activities such as zoning, historic preservation, code enforcement and permitting.
  • Call centers will now be centralized. Under this proposal, IndeBus riders would call the KCATA’s Regional Call Center to get route, schedule and fare information, rather than community development staff. The call center already provides this type of information for Johnson County Transit, Unified Government Transit, and The Metro. No jobs would be eliminated as the services are streamlined.
  • Independence will pay the KCATA $685,000 to manage the city’s transit services and ensure that they are well operated.

The new contract starts July 1.

The KCATA last provided bus service within the city of Independence in 2012.

Leave a Comment