KCI transit study reveals options for new express bus services

Feb 28, 2024
| Posted in
KCI airport terminal fountain

The KCI Airport Public Transit Services Action Plan, released last week, was conducted in collaboration with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) and other regional partners.

The Plan

The transit services plan evaluated the demand for transit access to KCI across the entire Kansas City region, and local and express bus service alternatives based on the following factors: travel time competitiveness, planning-level costs, and assessment of potential ridership. Of the options evaluated, the plan recommends initial express bus services along two corridors:

  • Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, with pick-up/drop-off locations at Union Station or the Convention Center area with additional connections to the East Village Transit Center. 
  • Johnson County, with potential interim stops in Kansas City, Kansas, to connect with existing bus service on State Avenue.

Both proposed routes scored highest across the evaluation criteria for performance, and the downtown Kansas City, Missouri, route has the highest pool of riders. According to the study, the routes should align with employee shifts and operate at a 30-minute frequency for 18 hours, seven days a week. The transit service must also offer point-to-point direct service between major regional pick-up/drop-off sites, minimal layover times for loading and unloading, and travel along the regional freeway networks. 

Future transit services could offer direct connections to other regional destinations in Lee’s Summit, Independence, Liberty and Leavenworth, as well as others.

“The KCI transit study is a result of a strong partnership between regional agencies and stakeholders who share a common vision of providing efficient and reliable transit services to the airport. Together with our funding partners, we are excited to evaluate these new express and other local bus options that will serve both travelers and airport workers and enhance the connectivity of our region."

Frank White, III, President and CEO for KCATA

The Recommendations and Costs

The plan recommends fleet upgrades, new branding and amenity improvements such as wayfinding signage, covered shelters, lighting, on-site security, digital message signs, crosswalks within any parking areas, bicycle racks and pedestrian connectivity around station facilities.

Photo courtesy of Sean Marshall.

“We appreciate the opportunity to see the results of this informative study, which outlines possible transit opportunities throughout the metro to and from the Kansas City International Airport,” said Janeé Hanzlick, Johnson County commissioner and co-chair for of MARC’s Total Transportation Policy Committee. “Johnson County Transit is about to embark on a strategic planning process which will review all aspects of transit services and this report will help inform that effort.”  

The initial capital costs for the proposed bus services are estimated to be $6 million to $8 million and an additional $3 million to $6 million in annual operating costs per route. MARC will continue to support regional agencies and municipalities to pursue funding and implementation of new, more rapid and direct service options to support employees and travelers at KCI.

For more information on the transit action plan recommendations, visit the project webpage.