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Strategic Plan maps success for RideKC

Date:June 19, 2019
Strategic Plan maps success for RideKC

Mobility Momentum 2021 is KCATA’s new strategic plan that will guide RideKC – and, by extension, our regional transit partners – to a new vision of “delivering innovative solutions that enhance mobility and improve our community.”

The emphasis is very intentional.

Innovation has been a focus for several years, but we’ve hit warp speed with an array of new services and pilot programs to test the boundaries of regional mobility.

Community has always been a focus for us, as we touch more peoples’ lives in one day than most people do in their lifetime. We take our role in the local economy very seriously.

As part of this new strategic plan, KCATA pledges to report quarterly results to the public. Here are a few highlights from the first status report, organized by the three pillars of the plan: Ridership, Revenue and Relationships.

Ridership

The top priority in our Ridership pillar is RideKC Next, a transit system redesign that is taking a fresh look at our entire bus network, along with new mobility services that include bikeshare, scooter share, Micro Transit and other options.  We’re the first transit agency to approach a redesign this way, and we will share more details this summer. Take the survey now through the end of July.

We are also focusing on the basics with our Bus Stop Rehabilitation Program. We’re demonstrating two new basic shelters at 18th & Troost and 39th & Main and will be soliciting feedback before we replace every basic bus shelter in our service area. Troost MAX shelters have just been refreshed with new polycarbonate panels replacing the aging acrylic panels from 2011. We’ve also launched our Bus Stop Improvement Program, that will make more substantial fixes beyond just the shelter, such as ADA access and concrete bus pads at more stops.

Our RideKC Micro Transit collaboration with Johnson County, Kan., is off to a great start, generating nearly as much ridership as some of the traditional bus routes in the pilot area. This early success – an evolution of micro transit that was born out of our one-year Bridj pilot – may be applied to existing RideKC Flex routes elsewhere in the region.

Here are a few Ridership highlights from the first quarter metrics dashboard:

  • Ridership Generated by New Initiatives or Services were 2,980 trips for RideKC Micro Transit and 929 trips on RideKC e-bikes. These two new services are public-private partnerships with TransLoc and Drop Mobility-BikeWalkKC, respectively.
  • RideKC Bus On-Time Performance was 87.87%, just under the annual goal of 88%.
  • Miles per Mechanical Road Call was 17,678, which was well above the 9,500 target due to the large number of new replacement vehicles.

Revenue

The top priority in our Revenue pillar is to develop a Cost Containment Strategy. KCATA’s operating costs continue to rise as ridership and resulting fare revenue decline. Increased healthcare costs and scheduled labor payrate increases are the primary drivers of rising costs, so KCATA has committed to finding efficiencies rather than relying on service cuts or fare increases.

Another tactic to improve KCATA’s budget is to seek New Revenue Streams. During the first quarter, KCATA started receiving payments for providing paratransit service along the downtown streetcar route.

KCATA is also working to promote a Regional Funding Strategy that could expand public transportation to better connect people with high density job centers. A near-term strategy that doesn’t require bi-state cooperation is in progress.

Here are a few Revenue metrics from the first quarter metrics dashboard:

  • KCATA’s KCMO Fund Balance is currently lower than the targeted 16.7% of annual operating costs, but that number will be met before the end of 2019 based on progress with the Cost Containment Strategy mentioned above. This fund balance is exclusively to support bus operations contracted by the City of Kansas City, Mo.
  • New Non-Taxpayer Revenue Streams came from two surplus property sales in Westport and at 39th & Bales.
  • The goal of reducing KCATA’s Transit Operating Cost per Revenue Hour to $115.00 was at $119.80 for the first quarter. Further reductions are also tied to cost savings identified in the Cost Containment Strategy.

Relationships

The top priority in KCATA’s Relationships pillar is Operator Attendance Improvement by implementing a new attendance policy in the second quarter.

The $56 million Prospect MAX bus rapid transit project is on target to open in the fourth quarter of 2019. KCATA and the new RideKC Development Corporation are working on targeted economic development opportunities at the 27th and 35th street stations.

A new Internal Communications Plan has resulted in new employee town hall meetings twice per year and a new open-door policy for CEO Robbie Makinen.

Here are a few Revenue metrics from our first quarter metrics dashboard:

Five New Business Partnerships for the quarter include:

  • Sponsoring BikeWalkKC, resulting in the systemwide bike share rebranding as “RideKC Bike.”
  • Kansas City Power & Light (now Evergy) committed to matching funds toward a federal grant for purchasing two battery electric buses and associated charging infrastructure.
  • TransLoc is providing their Micro Transit platform to Johnson County and KCATA at a reduced cost.

Four New Community Partnerships for the quarter include:

  • A new service contract that brings fixed-route service to the City of Grandview.
  • Announcement of a new student pass program with North Kansas City Schools for 9th through 12th graders.
  • Participation in the Blue Valley CAPS program, allowing advanced high school students the opportunity to study public transportation issues.
  • New conversations with the City of Leavenworth that may result in new service in that community.

If you have any questions about KCATA’s Mobility Momentum Strategic Plan or this first quarter update, contact us at https://ridekc.org/contact.