Platte County rang the bell.
And the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority responded.
Seeking to fill a void in regional transportation needs, the KCATA is answering Platte County’s need for better transit solutions for employers north of the Missouri River.
Starting April 4, the KCATA is offering new service to the Harley-Davidson plant and other major employers near the Airworld Business Park just east of Interstate 29.
The new route, called the 239-Tiffany Springs Link, is essentially an extension of existing service that now reaches as far north as the business park at 107th Street and Pomona.
It will serve more than 1,000 employees at Harley-Davidson’s Power Train and Operations plant, as well as the Pure Fishing distribution center and Med4Home pharmaceutical company. It will provide easier access for Harley employees who had to walk a mile to reach the nearest bus stop.
“In a full-employment situation where we are pulling employees from all over the metro, transit is a challenge,” said Alicia Stephens, executive director of the Platte County Economic Development Council. “The KCATA has been really good to listen to our employers.”
The new service features two roundtrips in the morning and again in the afternoon between 12th Street & Grand Boulevard downtown and the Harley Davidson plant with a stop at Boardwalk Square.
Northbound trips leave downtown at 5:06 a.m. and again at 6:06 a.m. Southbound trips in the afternoon leave Harley Davidson at 4:56 p.m. and 5:56 p.m.
The short extension of the Tiffany Springs route is just one way the KCATA is connecting people to employers in a region where only 18 percent of the jobs are accessible by transit within 90 minutes.
It’s a challenge confronting the entire region. Historically, transit investments didn’t keep up with expansion of highways that spread out travel and development across the metro area.
The solution for Platte County isn’t a panacea to the region’s transportation needs, nor does it solve the public transportation challenges confronting Platte County. But it is one more example of the KCATA reaching out across the region and forging partnerships to find ways to fill gaps in transit service.
“Getting people to work is one of our most important missions,” said Robbie Makinen, president and chief executive officer for the KCATA. “Transit helps keep the Kansas City economy vibrant. We not only help people earn a paycheck, we help employers attract a workforce. Our efforts in Platte County are part of building a regional transit system that’s seamless and easy to use.”