Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Planned Prospect Max Service clears funding hurdle

KANSAS CITY, Mo. ----- The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) took a key step toward deploying faster and more reliable bus service on Prospect Avenue when the federal government recently cleared the proposed MAX route for project development.

The proposed $54 million Prospect MAX – modeled after what operates on Main Street and Troost Avenue – will now move out of advanced planning and into the project development phase after getting the okay from the Federal Transit Administration.

Approval to move into project development is the first official step toward securing federal funding for the project.

Federal funding isn’t guaranteed. But approval to move ahead allows the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to track project expenses and charge them to the federal government if the proposed MAX route receives federal money.

Transit planners have been looking to expand one of the city’s most popular bus services onto the Prospect Avenue corridor, one of the busiest transit routes in the region. Buses traveling the Prospect corridor are used more than 6,000 times each weekday.

The proposed Prospect MAX route is expected to cover about nine miles, extending from 75th Street into downtown Kansas City. The service will have stations every four to six blocks at 26 locations, instead of a stop at every block with the current service.

Bus rapid transit – nicknamed MAX for Metro Area Express – was introduced to Kansas City’s Main Street corridor in 2005 and it was later expanded into the Troost Avenue corridor in 2011. Compared to light rail on rubber tires, the introduction of MAX service in both corridors produced ridership gains without making a heavy rail investment.

Like the bus rapid transit routes on Main and Troost, Prospect MAX will offer faster bus service featuring sleek bus shelters with highly visible iconic markers and signs providing real-time arrival information. The MAX routes on Main and Troost have been popular among riders, and have resulted in new riders being introduced to other non-MAX bus routes.