(Kansas City, Mo. – March 19, 2020) – In an effort to protect transit operators, customers and the general public, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) announces that all RideKC regional transit services have taken a variety of proactive measures in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“As our community faces this crisis, we can’t lose sight of the impact it is having on so many individuals,” said KCATA President & CEO Robbie Makinen. “With every closure that is announced, there are hard-working people on the other end feeling the impact, not to mention those dependent on access to medical care and essential jobs. We’re not going to run away from the people who need us most. We’re going to run toward them. RideKC encourages our customers to practice social distancing and only travel as necessary. Our partners at the KC Streetcar, RideKC Bike & Scooter and our transit partners on both sides of the state line are teaming up to make our broad-based communities safer.”
RideKC regional transit partners will temporarily suspend fares on public transit effective immediately. Suspending fares will improve safety by reducing the handling of cash and touching surfaces by so many people. Participating transit partners are KCATA, Unified Government Transit, Johnson County, Kan., the cities of Kansas City, Mo., Independence, Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs, North Kansas City, Riverside, Gladstone, Raytown, Liberty, Unity Village and Grandview.
“I care first and foremost about the health and safety of all Kansas Citians and urge all residents to practice social distancing and to stay home unless absolutely necessary,” said Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas. “I also understand that there are many in our community—those who work in essential jobs, or have to make necessary trips to purchase groceries, supplies, or obtain medical treatment—who rely on public transportation to get them there. By eliminating bus fares, coupled with several other health and safety measures KCATA has already implemented, we are better protecting our bus drivers and riders alike. This is a positive example of our regional collaboration to fight for equity in the wake of this public health pandemic.”
“On behalf of Wyandotte County, we appreciate the efforts of RideKC to accommodate the needs of our residents, as all of us must continually adapt to an ever developing situation,” said David Alvey, Mayor/CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan.
“We are glad to cooperate with KCATA and our other metro partners in this effort,” said Ed Eilert, chairman, Board of County Commissioners, Johnson County, Kan.
“It’s times like this that we see how strong and how caring our region is,” said Independence Mayor Eileen Weir. “We see medical professionals on the front line, but let’s not forget our transit operators who are also on the front line continuing to serve our communities every day. I think we owe them a big thank you at this very uncertain time in our nation.”
RideKC fleets are sanitized nightly with either a misting sanitizer using aqueous ozone or wiping down surfaces with a sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is available for passengers. Educational information encouraging social distancing, frequent hand washing, avoiding face touching and covering sneezes and coughs have been shared for weeks across all of our media channels. Customers are encouraged to let us know if they see an unhygienic surface on the vehicles or at a shelter or station by telling the operator, another transit employee or calling customer service at 816-221-0660.
Misting sanitizers used by RideKC: The misters use stabilized aqueous ozone. The compound is H203. H203 is food-grade safe and there is no chemical harm. Stabilized aqueous ozone is a safe, sustainable alternative to traditional chemical cleaners and sanitizers. It has been used to sanitize drinking water, produce and surgical instruments.
Please follow our social media channels and monitor our website at RideKC.org for the latest information.
In response to COVID-19, the KC Streetcar will temporarily operate with reduced hours, ending service at 8 p.m. nightly. Starting on Friday, March 20, the KC Streetcar will operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The KC Streetcar will continue to operate three streetcars, seven days a week providing important access to grocery stores, critical employment centers, medical facilities, and pharmacy services.
This shift aligns with recent changes in downtown activity levels and allows the KC Streetcar team additional time to clean all streetcar vehicles and stops as well as providing staff important time with their families.
“This schedule modification responds to, and supports, Mayor Lucas’ Emergency Declaration related to the closure of restaurants, bars and downtown activity centers, and aligns our service-levels appropriately. We are encouraging all streetcar riders to limit trips to those that are necessary and respect the social distancing guidelines put forward by the CDC,” said Tom Gerend, executive director, KC Streetcar Authority.
As part of the daily maintenance routine, all KC Streetcars receive a mid-day cleaning and a thorough cleaning at the end of every day. The cleaning products are effective against numerous bacteria and viruses, including the Human Coronavirus and Influenza Type A Virus. Other proactive measures include installing hand sanitizer dispensers on every KC Streetcar vehicle, automatically opening all streetcar doors for riders, and operators being equipped with gloves, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes and Lysol, which is sprayed onboard every time a streetcar arrives at the Union Station streetcar stop.
For up-to-date information about the KC Streetcar's response to the Coronavirus, visit our website at www.kcstreetcar.org/clean.
We are now providing free unlimited 20-minute rides to everyone in our community. Simply download the Drop Mobility app on your smart phone to get started. Use promo code "GOKC" to redeem your free rides. In addition, RideKC Bike and Scooter announces free unlimited use of bikes and scooters for businesses that want to provide their own delivery service via RideKC electric-assist bikes or scooters. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of your business and they will respond with details. Note: Each person using a bike will need their own account since a smart phone is required to unlock and lock bikes.
RideKC Bike and Scooter is actively disinfecting all devices, but riders should take some steps to be proactive as well. Wash your hands thoroughly after riding and avoid touching your face until you have washed your hands.
“We are committed to the health and safety of our customers and riders should feel confident that their ride is clean and sanitized,” says Eric Vaughan, director of bike share and business services. “Bikes and scooters are a great way to get around town while getting a little exercise during these times of social isolation.” Visit www.ridekcbike.com to learn more.