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Archive for Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Time to leap

Kansas University and the city have talked about this issue long enough. It’s time start to take action on a combined public transit system.

September 20, 2006

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It's time, as a Kansas University graduate student put it, for the operators of two Lawrence bus systems to "take a leap of faith" and figure out a way to merge the two systems.

Even before the city initiated its T bus system, there was talk of a combined city-university transportation system that would serve both KU students and the rest of the city. Combining the two systems has been a matter of continuing negotiation ever since the T hit the streets. Both KU students, who operate KU on Wheels, and city officials see the advantages of some type of merger, but both are fearful of losing control of the operation.

Yet another consultant's report has determined several ways KU and the city can work together on public transportation. Creating a whole new public transit authority with its own taxing authority probably is a greater leap than either KU or the city wants to take at this point, but other options, such as creating a public transportation policy board that would oversee a joint system but report both to KU and the city, seems to have possibilities.

If it is done well, a merger between the city and KU bus systems seems almost certain to have both service and financial benefits. Sure, it will take some effort and compromise to get this deal done, but it's time. Let's have some faith and take the leap.

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