Different public transportation agencies will all unite under the name RideKC to provide transportation services to counties over the Kansas City area. The new RideKC brand will connect all metro area bus companies, including the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), The JO, the KC Streetcar, IndeBus, Unified Government Transit and the Mid-America Regional Council with a user-friendly system for public transportation.
There are currently 12 buses on the streets already, with more to come in the next few months. The counties of Leavenworth, Platte, Wyandotte, Johnson, Clay, Jackson and Cass are all included in the reform. The KCATA plans to have nearly 100 of its vehicles painted with the new RideKC design this year, with the rest of the buses rebranded in the following year.
According to KCATA chief communications officer Cindy Baker, the goal of RideKC is to provide a one-stop transit spot, as reported to Greenability magazine.
“It’s so much easier to go to RideKC.org than it would be to go to KCATA.org, then to IndeBus.org,” Baker said. “Instead of going to three or four websites, there is just one.”
Freshman Ben DeDecker takes a school bus to and from school daily, along with many of his friends.
“It is hard to say how uniting all of the metro area buses will turn out because buses are used in some areas more than others,” DeDecker said, “but I think the rebrand will increase bus usage over time.”
KCATA and Johnson County signed an agreement last year that would combine many of their administrative functions, saving the county around $450,000 per year. For many years, the JO has been used mainly for taking customers north and south during morning and evening hours. However, the fund combination with KCATA has allowed for possible changes including added routes and extended hours for better connection in the metro area.
The Johnson County JO buses haven’t changed their iconic green, teal and grey look since the 1990’s, but they are now in the process of transforming into having the blue and red RideKC logo. The 50-55 current Johnson County buses will still have the sunflower logo on the back, but everything else will change.
George Laffetry, a member of the Johnson County transportation council, told the KC Star that the emphasis of RideKC is on the whole metro area, not just Johnson Country.
“The brand consistency should make things easier for riders in general,” Lafferty said.
The buses are color coordinated depending on which route they take. Blue buses operate along regular routes in Kansas City MO. Red buses are for rapid transit on Troost Avenue and Main Street. For riders to confim they are on the right bus, they can look above the winshield.
DeDecker believes Kansas City’s public transportation will bring the community together in the long run.
“You never know who you will meet on a bus,” DeDecker said, “and if it will change you life forever.”