(Kansas City, Mo. | July 15, 2022) RideKC has been named the top public transit agency in North America for midsize agencies, earning the prestigious 2022 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award.
“Over the past three years COVID has deeply affected transit systems across the country. One constant from my conversations during this time is that KCATA is always mentioned in discussions about leaders in equitable fare policies and diversifying mobility options," said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. "While facing a changing landscape as we return from COVID, it is also admirable to see they have recovered 80% of their pre-pandemic ridership. I congratulate you on this well-deserved award.”
The selection criteria was based on three years of quantitative data, such as ridership, vehicle revenue miles and operating costs, and qualitative evaluation including safety, accessibility, financial management and community relations.
“This national recognition is shared by the RideKC team at KCATA, as well as all of our regional RideKC partners at the Unified Government, Johnson County, Independence, KC Streetcar and BikeWalkKC,” said Melissa Bynum, Chair of the KCATA Board of Commissioners. “We will take a moment to celebrate – our RideKC employees deserve that – continuing to prepare to meet the regional transportation challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. With this RideKC regional board and team, I have total confidence we will succeed.”
“This entire region is being recognized for advancing the industry dialog around innovation and equitable fare policy,” said Jameson Auten, KCATA Deputy CEO/COO. “Kansas City and all RideKC partners continue to be impactful in shaping transit nationally, from regional branding, mobility options, app-based ride sharing, and of course, zero fare. Not to mention that ridership in Kansas City has recovered at a faster pace than many other cities.
“RideKC is comprised of people who truly want to serve this community and are invested in its long-term health and sustainability,” said Auten. “Our team’s dedication over the past three years to providing equitable, accessible service has been exemplary and we’re honored to receive this national recognition.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges to RideKC and the Kansas City community, KCATA did not let it stop our progress towards modern, equitable transportation. RideKC’s Zero Fare was fully implemented in 2020, in part as a response to COVID protocols, after a series of zero fare programs for targeted groups of transit riders.
Another area of innovation has been "micromobility.” In 2015, KCATA launched the nation’s first app-based partnership with Bridj and Ford. While this project was shuttered after the pilot program, it led to the 2016 creation of RideKC Freedom On-Demand for people with disabilities, and later to Micro Transit in Johnson County (2019) and Wyandotte County (2020). RideKC shared its experience and knowledge with the industry over the past several years to help them shorten their learning phase and growing pains.
The American Public Transit Association will formally honor RideKC at the APTA Transform Annual Meeting and EXPO this October.