A taxi program giving customers a more flexible transportation option in Johnson and eastern Jackson counties has been renewed by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority’s Board of Commissioners.
Known as RideKC Taxi, the pilot program gives seniors and riders with disabilities access to transportation any day, at any time, including holidays, for just $5 for the first 10 miles of their taxi trip.
The KCATA’s renewal of the program is for one year with an option to extend it for another year in 2018.
Started last July, the program has seen extraordinary growth in its first months of operation.
It started with 64 taxi trips last July and has grown to 564 trips in February. Earlier this year, the RideKC program expanded to absorb a similar taxi program run by the city of Lenexa.
The taxi initiative, renewed by the KCATA board March 22, was an innovation developed to provide on-demand transportation in parts of the Kansas City area where there was little or no service.
Using 10/10 taxi, eligible riders can use a cab to go anywhere they want in the region up to 10 miles for $5. About 75 percent of the cab fare within the first 10 miles is covered with a mix of federal and local funds. Customers pay the full fare after the first 10 miles.
Overall, there have been nearly 2,700 trips — averaging about 6 miles a trip — on RideKC Taxi since it started last summer.
“RideKC Taxi has created a new customer base of individuals who’ve never had a public transportation option available to them,” said Tyler Means, the KCATA’s innovative services manager.
“Helping older adults and persons with disabilities find a way to connect to their community is only improved by the fact that the unrestricted nature of the RideKC Taxi service allows us to evaluate how people want to move around the region,” Means said.
Means said the KCATA will use ridership data to identify areas lacking public transportation and direct resources so the community can better be served.
“There are,” he said, “exciting times ahead.”