On-Demand Public Transit in Kansas City Leaves a Lot to Be Desired

Kansas City's novel effort to handle transit’s last mile problem has failed to attract ridership.

1 minute read

March 1, 2017, 12:00 PM PST

By Casey Brazeal @northandclark

Downtown Kansas City

stevekc / Flickr

Kansas City's pilot project for Bridj hasn't attracted much ridership; whether that's because the project itself is not viable, because it’s a low density area or because not enough people know about the service has yet to be determined. "KCATA itself hasn’t yet released ridership numbers, but data reported to the Kansas City MPO reveals that six months into the pilot, it had seen 597 total rides. These numbers are a far cry from the 200 riders per day projected at the program’s outset," reports an article by TransitCenter.

Whatever the reason, the low ridership means the cost of the program was extremely high, over $1,000 per ride. "KCATA should be applauded for its experimentation and should continue to do so. But ultimately agencies and advocates debating on-demand first/last mile services in low density contexts need to take a close look at the numbers and question whether transit with extreme per-ride costs is viable," TransitCenter writes.

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