Kansas City Just Did Something For Its Citizens Every City Should
The Kansas City, Missouri City Council just voted 13-0 to make Kansas City the first major metropolitan city with free public bus service. Currently, it costs $1.50 per ride and an annual pass is $50.
This decision is great for the city’s most vulnerable citizens and for the environment as well. They can now travel freely about the town whether for work or for fun without having to scrounge up the money.
It will also make bus drivers’ lives easier because they don’t have to collect tolls which will, in turn, speed up service.
The new free service may encourage people who usually drive their cars to hop on the bus instead. Which will help their pocketbooks, traffic, and the environment.
The new measure will cost the city $8 to $9 million in lost bus fares.
The city has been moving towards free service in stages.
Two years ago, veterans began receiving free bus passes. Last year, the transportation authority gave free passes to students. Twenty-five percent of bus riders are currently riding fare-free and the city’s light rail system has been free as well.
“When we’re talking about improving people’s lives who are our most vulnerable citizens, I don’t think there’s any question that we need to find that money,” Councilman Eric Bunch told KSHB. “That’s not a ton of money and it’s money that we as a city, if we want to prioritize public transportation, it’s something that we can find.”
The measure calls to direct “the City Manager to include a funding request in the next fiscal year budget to make fixed route public transportation fare free within the City” among other things, a measure branded as “Zero Fare Transit.”
Kansas City is also making a big effort to make its fleet of 260 busses more environmentally-friendly. Over the next decade, the city looks to retire its older diesel-field busses and replace them with clean CNG buses that are virtually emission-free.
Even when traditional busses use gasoline they can be much better for the environment than a single person driving a car.
According to RTS, a full bus is six times more fuel-efficient than one car with one commuter.
The Zero Fare transit idea has already been catching on in Europe.
Luxembourg is set to be the first country in the world to make all public transport free starting in March 2020. Germany is considering going fare-free as well after the European Union chastised the country for its air pollution levels.