Judging by the riders lining up for Johnson County’s 569 South OP Express route into downtown, you’d think gas prices are soaring.
But gas is relatively cheap and 569 riders are still filling up seats to travel from the Kansas suburbs into the city each day.
“This is definitely one of the most crowded routes, for sure,” said Jeff Koetting, who works in marketing downtown. “It’s the only one I’ve seen where people have to stand.”
Planners want everyone to have a comfortable ride, which is why RideKC will add a new trip in the morning to the 569 starting Monday, Sept. 11.
The new trip will leave 151st Street and Mur-Len in Olathe at 7:43 a.m., 151st and Antioch at 7:55 a.m. and 137th and Antioch at 8 a.m. The bus is scheduled to arrive at 10th and Main downtown at 8:35 a.m. Other scheduled stops include Crown Center at 8:45 a.m. and Union Station at 8:49.
“We want to make transit convenient and comfortable,” said Shawn Strate, planning manager for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. “An extra trip will not only enhance our existing service but could attract new riders to an already growing route.”
Riders start lining up shortly after 7 a.m. to board the 569 route at 137th Street and Antioch Road in Overland Park.
The 569 route serves commuters near Overland Park and Olathe, carrying an average of 181 riders a day. July’s ridership increased 14 percent compared to the same the month the previous year.
Many riders catch the bus at park-and-ride lots in Overland Park at 137th and Antioch or at 151st and Antioch. The route is popular because it gives riders a chance to relax on the way to work.
Some riders point out that the 569 route is a little faster because it can run along the shoulder in some areas when traffic slows to a crawl on Interstate 35 during rush hour.
“It’s really a long trip and there’s too much traffic in the morning,” Krishna Kanth of Overland Park said in explaining why he rides the bus.
A business analyst who works downtown uses the express route because it gives her time to prepare herself for a busy day ahead.
The route is “very convenient in the morning when there’s too much traffic on the highway,” she said. “It’s a busy day and I get to rest on the bus. I doze off.”
Riders waiting for the arrival of the 569 South OP Express in Overland Park.