Wichita Transit

Sean Sandefur

Wichita Transit has rolled out changes to its bus routes and fares. The new system is meant to help buses run on time and get riders to their destination quicker, despite a limited budget that won’t allow service at night or on Sundays. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports on the new normal for Wichita’s bus riders.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Wichita Transit is rolling out changes to its bus system this Saturday, and will offer a week of free rides so people can get used to the routes.

After holding a series of public forums to gather input from riders, Wichita Transit has made a number of tweaks.

One change is so-called designated stops. In addition to the current bus stops, thousands of street signs have been added along routes so riders can flag down buses closer to home or work.

They’ve also added a route on Grove Street and extended the ones that run on both 13th and 21st Street.

City of Wichita

Those driving around Wichita might notice a unique bus over the next year. In recognition of Black History Month, Wichita Transit has devoted one of its vehicles to the memory of civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

A vinyl graphic has been wrapped around a transit bus in the style of 1955 Montgomery, Alabama.

With green, yellow and white stripes, it’s meant to mimic the bus in which Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat to a white passenger.

wichitatransit.org

A plan to restructure bus routes and simplify bus fare options for Wichita’s transit system is expected to be presented to City Council next month.

The Wichita Transit Advisory Board endorsed a new bus service plan that includes a redesign of all 17 routes in the city.

Wichita Transit Director Steve Spade says they were able to tweak the original proposal after hearing concerns from residents of neighborhoods where bus service would’ve been cut.

File photo

Recommendations will be presented to the Wichita Transit Advisory Board tomorrow about restructuring bus fares.

Wichita Transit Director Steve Spade says the base bus fare of $1.75 will remain, but options will be simplified.

"What’s being suggested now is that we do a cash fare of $1.75 and then we do a day pass, a weekly pass and a monthly pass and keep it simple," Spade says. "The other thing that we are doing is offering pretty substantial discounts on our passes."

Amy Delamaide, flickr Creative Commons

The Wichita City Council is holding annual budget talks, and while officials have been happy to announce that the budget is balanced and few cuts have been made, the future of the city’s bus system is still undecided. 

 

City Manager Robert Layton presented the 2016-2017 proposed budget to City Council members Tuesday morning.

Amy Delamaide, flickr Creative Commons

City officials say Wichita's bus system will see a decline in service next year without added revenue. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has more.

The future of Wichita’s operating budget was presented to city council members on Tuesday morning.

Mark Manning, budget officer with the city’s finance department, says future budgets look to be balanced, but that future revenue growth won’t be enough to fill a reduction in transit funding.

Sean Sandefur

Wichita Transit’s Free Fares Week launches next week, running Monday through Saturday. KMUW’s Abigail Wilson has more…

Free Fares Week is designed to give new transit riders the opportunity to experience the public transit system for rides to work, school, errands and recreation.

Wichita Transit provided 58,415 rides during Free Fares Week in 2014. It's estimated that nearly 304,000 private vehicle miles were avoided and more than 400 pounds of ozone forming emissions were kept out of the air.

Sean Sandefur

New mayor Jeff Longwell is getting to work on some of the city's problems and, on Thursday, he was talking transit. KMUW's Aileen LeBlanc reports.

Beginning Monday, Wichita Transit's East 17th Street route will run through the Wichita State University main campus instead of around it.

Wichita Transit buses will use existing WSU Shuttle System bus shelters to provide two inbound and two outbound stops on campus.

Currently, the 17th Street route offers only one stop serving WSU, on the south edge of campus. That stop will be discontinued.

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