Thanks to a unique bus route that travels to all the major points of interest inside Kansas City, Missouri, is once again showing America how the future will be written. It is doing so by showing to the rest of the States that by creating free public transport, the economy of the city can actually gain as a whole. At the same time, it just makes the life of the city’s citizens much better. A year later, let’s look at the advantage it brings to the city.
For a Better City
When the CEO of KCATA (Kansas City Area Transportation Authority) shared the news that they were to launch a free bus ride that would cover the most important locations of the city, he insisted that it was for the greater good. To him, it was clear that free public transportation in Kansas City made it smarter and more equitable, which ultimately means a better city.
In all US cities, Kansas City is the first one to offer a public transit that is free. The project was thought of as a priority for the city, as it simply made common sense. The city finds itself at the other end of the scale, far away from others like New York City, which are actually raising their cost instead of providing free services, when it comes to public transportation.
But in the end, what really got the project out of the box and into the reality of Kansas City’s citizens, was pure economics. By bringing free public transportation services, it helped those who need it the most to get to where they need to go. And by being a service that is equal to all, it is bringing economical benefits, bringing customers/users where they need to go. It also clearly has beneficial environmental effects, since less people will take their car to travel around Kansas City.
Connecting the Labour Force to the Central Business District
Although it is not the only reason why it was created, the BRT line goes directly from one of the less affluent suburbs of Kansas City, right to the central business district. That represents a potential of 64,000 citizens getting to and from their workplace. But it also enables all those along the way, in-between the two points, to use it to get to work or head back home. Since the number of employees needed in the city keeps rising, the free line increases the possibility of filling the job vacancies. It’s a great chance for people with no income, or lower ones, to raise their work revenues.
A Great Way to connect to the Rest of the City
The bus line is an entryway into the larger public transportation service. On its course, it reaches two main hubs and a bunch of smaller ones, where users can jump onto a scooter or a taxi. There are also bike-share stops, and of course coordinated buses as well as streetcar services leaving or passing through these hubs. It makes it easy to enter the route and to change wherever it is needed, in order to get to the final destination.
Thanks to digital signs, it is quite easy, inside the bus, but also inside the terminals, to find the next step to take, no matter where the user is going to. This includes bus timing as well as a description of the various modes of transit available from a particular stop. That makes it easy for anyone to have information in real time, instead of a static way, as it used to be in the past.
A Larger Number of Users increases Value to the Network and Much More
The expectation is that the free bus line will increase the number of users of Kansas City public transportation, every year. That will directly impact KCATA with a raise in activity that will end-up translating into more income (through the other bus routes and public transportation modes). But it is not the only value that will rise. By bringing more people from the suburbs to the city, free of charge, it will increase the value of properties in the neighbourhoods along the line, which of course will increase tax revenue as well.
That is why the CEO of KCATA calls this move smart. It transforms the city’s dynamic with one simple action. It explains, as well, the funding proposals for the service, made over the last five years. Making it easier for citizens to get from their home to the center of the city is simply beneficial for all. It permits upward mobility, jobs, and training for workers. It also enables students to get to school easily, while getting sick people to the healthcare points around Kansas City.
The combination of free public transport to the use of smarter digital informative technology brings Kansas City to the forefront in America, when it comes to the mobility of its citizens. It also provides a free ride across the city to tourists, increasing the advantages of visiting Kansas City in comparison to other cities in the area and around the USA.