From President & CEO Robbie Makinen
A little over a month ago, on May 1, we introduced RideKC Freedom On-Demand. Customers took more than 1,000 On-Demand paratransit rides in the first month of service. And by mid-June, more than 2,200 trips had been taken on the serivce.
Until last month, that required riders to schedule rides at least 24 hours in advance, provide a half-hour window in which to be picked up, and share the ride with other riders, which may lead to long routes with multiple stops.
RideKC Freedom On-Demand app-based service harnesses ride-hailing technology to give paratransit customers flexibility, while lowering costs for KCATA. Riders appreciate the control they have to schedule their rides either ahead of time or on the fly. Wheelchair accessible vehicles are available for those who need them. And customers can easily pay within the RideKC Freedom app, or when they take their rides with cash or credit.
While RideKC Freedom is designed for customers who qualify for specialized transportation because they can’t ride the bus, the ride-hailing service is available to everyone. And the really unique thing is that a portion of the fare paid by general public trips is returned to the KCATA to reinvest in service for persons with disabilities. It’s a great example of a public-private partnership that provides a better service and saves taxpayers money.
Transit professionals around the globe strive to better serve people with disabilities while still keeping costs down. KCATA has been fielding calls of interest from cities worldwide, and local and national media have been telling this good news story. See a sample of the coverage from the Kansas City Star and Startland News.
While we are excited that this initiative is getting attention, what’s most important is how it is giving local residents the freedom they deserve.
CEO Makinen speaks with local media about the flexibility and accessoffered by Freedom On-Demand. Service dog Loki joins Makinen for the interview.