The bus route number is like a noun in the world of public transportation.
There’s the 71. The 109. The 101. The 51. The 556. And many, many more.
The problem is those numbers don’t say much about the type of bus service and where it’s taking riders. So the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is mapping out a new numbering system to give riders a better idea of where they’re going, the fare and the service they’re using.
Consider some of the issues the current numbering format presents:
- It can be hard to understand what constitutes an express route since there’s no consistency in how they’re numbered. Some express routes, such as the 34X-Shoal Creek Liberty Express, are designated with the letter ‘X’ for express. However, other express routes - such as the 170 Blue Springs Express - are not labeled with an 'X' although they provide express service.
- A rider can’t assume the price of a ride based on the numbering system. For instance, service with a premium fare route costing $3 a trip is often mixed with the numbers of other local routes charging $1.50 a trip.
- The current numbering system doesn’t intuitively tell riders where they’re going across the board. Numbers reference everything from numbered streets, old streetcar lines, or parts of town.
KCATA planners have crafted a new system that should remedy those issues. The route numbers are broken down into separate categories denoting specific services and regions. Here’s how the numbers will change:
- All Kansas City, Missouri, routes south of the Missouri River will be numbered nine to 99. Sixteen current routes will be renumbered.
- All Kansas City routes north of the Missouri River will be numbered 200 to 299. Thirteen of these routes will be renumbered.
- Eastern and southern Jackson County will use 300 numbers. Nine routes will be affected.
- Johnson County routes will carry a 400 series number, except for express service. The renumbering affects 10 routes.
- All express bus service between the Missouri/Kansas suburbs and downtown will be labeled with 500 series numbers. The new 500 series numbers will denote that riders pay a higher fare for the express service than the typical $1.50 local fare. Nine routes are affected.
- Wyandotte County routes will keep their 100 series numbers.
Route numbers have already started changing. In April, the 173-Casino Cruiser was renumbered to 77. In July, the 30-Northeast was renumbered and renamed to 11-Northeast/Westside, the 54-Armour/Paseo was renumbered and renamed to 85-Paseo, and the 175-75th Street was changed to 75.
Starting Oct. 2, more route numbers south of the Missouri River will be changed. The 109-9th Street will be changed to 9-9th Street, the 123-23rd Street will change to 23-23rd Street, 155-55th Street will change to 55-55th Street and 163-63rd Street will change to 63-63rd Street. Additional route numbers will change with future quarterly changes.
We expect this system will not only be easier to understand but will improve the bus-riding experience. Any questions about the changes call the KCATA Planning Department at 816-346-0300.