In August, RideKC establisted the Opportunity Pass to help local safety-net providers provide transit to select clients. Then, in late September RideKC expanded the pass to the first location in Kansas City, Kan. We announced a partnership with Unified Government of Kansas City, Kan., and the Village Initiative organization on Sept. 27, to give zero fare transit to hundreds of ex-offenders through the Opportunity Pass program.
The Opportunity Pass gives clients of non-profits a regional 90-day RideKC pass. The program launched with 10 safety-net providers on the Missouri side.
“Here at RideKC we are not going to run away from the people who need us most, we are going to run toward them,” said KCATA CEO Robbie Makinen. “Village Initiative joining the Opportunity Pass pilot is another example of RideKC creating partnerships that not only impact our ridership, but also boost the local economy as we connect people to opportunities for jobs, healthcare and education.”
Village Initiative offers wrap-around services for returning citizens in the Wyandotte County area. In 2018, Village Initiative served 566 people coming out of incarceration. The agency provides job training, fathering classes, a food pantry and drug and alcohol rehabilitation classes to prepare clients to re-enter society.
“For those who have been incarcerated, the journey to full participation in the life of their community has many roadblocks, and the offer of a transit pass removes a very high obstacle for these citizens,” said Unified Government Mayor David Alvey. “Our community will be improved by this gracious offer, and we are grateful to the Village Initiative and to the KCATA for making freedom of movement a reality, and not merely a promise.”
This innovative program is designed to provide safety net providers an easy, longer-term farecard that allows their clients to access RideKC transit service on both sides of the state line. The RideKC Opportunity Pass is a free transit pass, developed in partnership with the Health Forward Foundation (formerly known as the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City). The foundation assisted KCATA in identifying organizations that are frontline providers of vital support services to some of the region’s most vulnerable populations. All of these organizations name transportation as a top need for their clients.
Opportunity Pass Program Client Stories
KC Care Center
Community Services League
Thrive Health Connection
Metro Lutheran Ministries
The Village Initiative