This week, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) Board of Commissioners approved expanded late-night bus service connecting to the soon-to-open downtown streetcar. The new later service on Friday and Saturday nights will be available on three major KCATA routes that serve key employment centers and entertainment venues in Kansas City: Main Street MAX, Troost MAX, and the 47-Broadway. The new Friday and Saturday night hours — which are scheduled to start May 13 — extend service until 2:00 the following morning.
KCATA gives credit for the expanded hours to the new Kansas City Streetcar, citing an increase in requests for additional service as the opening of the streetcar nears. Rather than diminishing or replacing the community’s desire for bus transit, it seems that the streetcar — which will also operate until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights — is driving demand for better bus service.
Robbie Makinen, chief executive officer and president of the KCATA commented that “This is a golden opportunity to make bus service more convenient than ever before.” He also emphasized that while this initial expansion of operating hours is convenient for tourists and residents wanting to frequent entertainment districts on the weekends, it also will improve access to jobs in the downtown area, the Westport entertainment district, Hospital Hill, the Crossroads area, and the Country Club Plaza.
“Our new service will help people get to work at odd hours when transportation can be hard to find. Plus, it will provide new ways of reaching entertainment hot spots at convenient times without the hassle of driving,” Makinen said.