“Prospect MAX is one of the premiere routes in the system and we are proud of the innovative approach we took to make it zero fare,” Makinen said in the release. “We put a lot of high-tech amenities at the station stops and on the MAX vehicles and we are now seeing what increased ridership does to spur economic development and social equity along the corridor.”
That’s the thought process behind the announcement Thursday from city officials to make bus fares free for the foreseeable future for RideKC’s Prospect MAX bus line.
The goal of transit-oriented development is to build residential, business and leisure space within walking distance of public transit, the aim being to promote greater use of public transit. Along the 10-mile-long Prospect line, that would include mixed-use and infill development, greater bike and pedestrian access, and improved infrastructure.The council voted 10-3 in favor of the ordinance, with Councilmembers Theresa Loar, Dan Fowler and Brandon Ellington voting no. They did not explain their votes.
The city received $400,000 from the Federal Transit Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, and will be contributing an additional $100,000 to support the project. The federal funds are part of a pilot program that provides funding to communities to integrate transportation planning and land use around major transit lines. Bus fare for the Prospect MAX, a 10-mile bus route through Kansas City’s urban core, will be free indefinitely for riders, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced Thursday. Riders weren’t charged bus fare during a 90-day period when the Prospect MAX service was launched last December. Lucas, along with Robbie Makinen, chief executive of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, said the service would be fare-free indefinitely.Lucas has made free public transit, additional police services and affordable housing among his budget priorities. Last fall, the city council advanced a resolution directing city staffers to search for funds to make fare-free public transit possible.“Our new Prospect MAX line has proven that eliminating bus fares does increase ridership, and thus, mobility for Kansas City residents,” Lucas said in a news release.Taliaferro & Browne was the prime consultant and civil engineer of record for the project. Responsibilities included overall project management, development, civil engineering, landscape architecture, survey, planning, permit assistance, and construction phase services.Prospect MAX features new smart technologies to continue the “Smart City” program and make Prospect a Smart Transit Corridor similar to the KC Streetcar. New technologies include free public WiFi on bus and at stations, interactive smart kiosks at stations, and several bike share stations along the corridor. Overall, Prospect MAX has 48 MAX stations along the route and two transit centers that includes the Downtown East Village Transit Center and the 75th Street Transit Center.Bus service for Prospect MAX is patterned after Troost MAX, resulting in increased service, reduced travel times and stronger connections to neighborhoods. Below is a summary of the service details.