The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is launching an app next week to help people with disabilities get a ride. The launch follows a year of development and two months of trials in a partnership with the company Transdev.
Anyone can use the RideKC Freedom app, but it’s specially designed for the more than 300,000 people with disabilities who use the KCATA’s subsidized paratransit services. CEO Robbie Makinen says the Uber-style app is an innovation for the public transit agency.
“This is very unique. RideKC Freedom is a service that was designed around our paratransit service,” he
Until now, riders using that service had to plan 24 hours ahead of their journey and allow for a thirty minute pick-up window.
“So no longer 24 hours in advance, no more 30 minute windows, I can order a trip just like you would order a trip on an app,” says Makinen, who lost his vision five years ago.
Kirby Hough is also vision impaired and was involved with trials of the app. She uses it at least twice a day to get to and from work.
“It's nice that I can just open the app and then schedule a ride then,” says Hough.
The app shows the proximity of drivers, wait times and gives riders access to yellow taxis, vans and wheelchair accessible vehicles. A portion of the fares taken from the general public will be reinvested in the service.
Danny Wood is a freelance reporter for KCUR 89.3.