Johnson County Commissioners Say "Yes" To More Public Transit | KCUR

Johnson County Commissioners Say "Yes" To More Public Transit

Sep 1, 2012

The Johnson County Board of Commissioners approved a transit budget last week that restores bus routes and adds stops to make up for cuts in the overall bus system.

The Transit Department had originally presented a bare bones budget that made huge cuts to the transit system, known as The JO.

After a public comment period that included public hearings, the department submitted a revised budget .

The revised budget restored almost 10% of the funding.  It restored The Jo's popular service from Mission, Kan. to Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, and modified that route to make up for cuts elsewhere in the system.  The route is known as bus 546.

Transit Department Chair Alice Amrein says county officials were responding to the public. She says even though routes were being eliminated, the cuts are much less than earlier anticipated.

"We made a lot of modifications to some of the routes that we're going to keep in place by adding service at the beginning and end of the route to accommodate the service that we are going to eliminate," says Amrein.

Routes from Kansas City, Kan. and Kansas City, Mo. to Lenexa and Olathe, Kan. will be eliminated, as well as routes to Spring Hill and Paola, Kan.

Amrein says the transit department has a strategic plan looking at how to boost bus ridership in coming years.

The transit system is funded largely from federal and state grants. Amrein says existing grants are ending.  Future funding for public transit is in question as Kansas and the federal government struggle with funding priorities.