The Unified Government plans to spend almost a half-million dollars more on bus service for next year.
The UG dollars budgeted for transit will rise from $5.9 million to $6.4 million under the proposed budget, according to UG officials who presented a budget workshop July 17.
UG transit officials said a loss of federal funding of more than $100,000 was one of the causes for the increase in the local contribution to bus service.
During the past year, the UG has added a new 47th Street MetroCenter, a new 7th Street Transit Center, improved the Connex bus route on State Avenue, and added the 105 Rosedale bus route, transit officials said.
The number of riders in the bus system in Kansas City, Kan., has increased by 19 percent since 2010, they said. Only about 16 percent of the funding for the program comes from the fares that bus passengers pay.
Transit officials said the average number of riders who pass through the 47th and State transit center each weekday was 5,000, and it was 2,000 on Saturdays and 500 on Sundays. For the 7th Street transit center, it was 4,000 for weekdays, 1,000 for Saturdays and 500 for Sundays. Kansas City, Kan., is providing the only Sunday bus service in Kansas.
Some programs that serve the elderly, such as Dial-a-Ride, also are under the transit budget. There are also capital needs for buses and vans, according to transit officials.
“Our citizens have said transit is going to be very important,” said Commissioner Brian McKiernan. He agreed with the UG administration that it will be very challenging in the future, especially as the UG tries to replace older buses.
Commissioner Tarence Maddox asked the UG administration to look at the routes to see if there was any way to reduce waiting time for buses on Saturdays in the downtown area.
Commissioner Hal Walker asked about extending the Rosedale bus line a short distance so that it would reach a housing complex.
The UG Commission currently is holding budget workshops. A final public hearing is scheduled at 5 p.m. July 28. The budget adoption is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 31.