Archive for Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Commuter bus plan would connect Lawrence to Kansas University Medical Center

July 23, 2008


Possible prices for a Lawrence-Med Center ride

Proposed fares for a bus from Kansas University's Lawrence campus to the Medical Center:

¢ $4.50 for a one-way ride if fewer than 10 trips are purchased.

¢ $4 for a one-way ride if 10 or more trips are purchased

¢ $160 to purchase 40 rides (4 weeks of round trips)

Source: KU School of Engineering

Call it a sign of the times.

Kansas University's School of Engineering, department of mechanical engineering and bioengineering graduate program have teamed up to test the waters of a new commuter bus.

The bus trial, which would provide a direct ride from the Lawrence campus to the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., is pending approval from university officials.

Ron Dougherty, chairman of mechanical engineering, helped spearhead the trial. He said the idea for the bus came as the School of Engineering had more and more dealings with the School of Medicine both through research and academics. With more students and faculty commuting and gas prices rising, some raised the idea of a commuter bus similar to the Lawrence-Johnson County K-10 line, which links Lawrence with the Edwards Campus and Johnson County Community College.

Unlike the K-10 bus, which receives federal funding, the bus that Dougherty's department had proposed would have to fund itself. That means a certain amount of riders would have to use it regularly for it to be feasible.

Dougherty said he received verbal approval Wednesday morning that the trial run would go through; however, he warned that nothing was set in stone until he received the official nod.

"We wanted to get the word out so people who might be interested would know it was coming up," he said. "If we waited too long to get the word out, we were afraid no one would know of it."

Dougherty said initial interest had been largely positive.

Sarah Kieweg, assistant professor specializing in biofluids who works with a collaborator in Kansas City, said she would support a regular bus between the two campuses. Not only would a bus allow her to leave her car in Lawrence for her husband to use, she said, but she would also be able to work during the ride.

The trial run would have only one run to and from Kansas City in the morning and one in the evening. Dougherty said they would like to increase the number of busses and runs if the trial proves successful.

The bus is expected to run Sept. 2-26, pending administration approval. Anyone willing to pay the bus fare would be eligible to ride.


KUgirl1118 9 years, 6 months ago

I agree that $125/month sounds like a much better deal.

mvierth 9 years, 6 months ago

We have a breakbox with the prices, but just to get it up here:$4.50 for a one-way ride if fewer that 10 trips are purchased.$4 for a one-way ride if 10 or more trips are purchased.$160 to purchase 40 rides (Four weeks of round trips).These are tentative, keep in mind.

KUgirl1118 9 years, 6 months ago

When will we find out if this passes? I would begin riding the bus to my internship at KU Med the day that it starts!

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 6 months ago

Reminds me of the days when a carful of strangers would lease a lemon and make the hop to Wichita! "Sarah Kieweg, an assistant professor specializing in biofluids...."Marion... looks like a match made in heaven!

1029 9 years, 6 months ago

There needs to be a better deal for the multi-ride pass. Maybe a month pass for $125 (having nothing to do with the number of times one rides during that month). I would think whoever is investing in this bus would love to have a guaranteed $125 coming in each month. I'd take it every weekday if it was $125 each month, but $8 a day is barely less than what I pay for gas and I-70 tolls each day. I'll sacrifice the wear and tear on my car and enjoy the faster commute if I only save a buck or two a day.

outsideobserver 9 years, 6 months ago

hawkperchedatriverfront needs to understand the meaning of the word "trial" as it is used in the article. The word trial is used three separate times. In this case the use of the word would imply that these bus plans are in their preliminary stages and therefore subject to change to fit the needs of the yet unhatched program. If the reporters start to compose their stories in a form that will make sense to hawkperchedatriverfront the remainder of the readers are apt to feel that they are being talked down to.

earth2la 9 years, 6 months ago

The price may seem high, but remember folks: it is just a TRIAL STUDY which has to support itself. IF the route is permanently established, the price may not be as high.If this route would benefit you, please participate in the 30-day trial... even though the ticket price isn't as cheap as we'd all like. More than likely, you will still save money.Seriously interested riders may send an e-mail to be placed on an e-mail distribution list to receive more information about the trial such as the website (which be active in a few days) and how to purchase the Commuter Pass.Rockchalk! Jayhawk! KU!

McShindig 9 years, 6 months ago

Woah, dude. Before you start rippin on the reporting, did you not see if was a trial run? Which would imply that being a "trial" it would only run that chunk o time.

mvierth 9 years, 6 months ago

Hawk -If you look down the left rail, the tentative prices are listed there.- Mark

taucetiman 9 years, 6 months ago

Please please please make this happen. I am KUMC student and round trip for me cost $15, even carpooling with one other is still expensive. Just in my program their are four people who live in Lawrence and I see the KUMC parking strickers on cars here in Lawrence all the time. They had a trial bus run last fall for only a week(gas 2.75ish) but few people rode it. It made two round trips in the morning and two in the evening with nothing in between, a couple of run around lunch time would be great (if you had a class from 9am to 11am on Fridays you wouldn't want to wait until 5:30 to go home)

skootermonkey 9 years, 6 months ago

I live near KU Med Center but work on the Lawrence campus. Taking the bus from KU Med Center would cost me $8 a day with the purchase of a pass but would only take me one hour to get to Lawrence. Taking the K-10 costs me $7 a day (gas plus bus) but it ends up taking me 1 1/2 hours to get to work.My biggest issue will be time. What time will the bus be running?

tinlizzy 9 years, 6 months ago

hawkperchedatriverfront- the fare on the T is already $1.

earth2la 9 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for all the blog commentary! It is great to see all the interest. Please submit e-mail to to be put on a distribution list for more information as it becomes available...Important facts for all to consider:--This is a TRIAL STUDY ONLY -- if everything can be negotiated and approved between the contracting bus company and KU. The trial is NOT approved yet!!--The trial study must support itself financially. Hence the prices quoted are TENTATIVE. They may go up a bit more to support the cost of a 4-week trial period. That does not mean the price will remain the same SHOULD the route be established permanently.--The sole purpose of the trial is to determine the level of KU, KUMC and community interest in steady-state ridership, and how effective this bus route can be.--After much research, we have discovered there is no TIME-EFFICIENT way to get directly from KU Lawrence Campus to the KUMed Center Campus. This bus would go directly between the two.

sjschlag 9 years, 5 months ago

I'll drive this route, if it works out with my schedule. Who knows, it might just work! I'm really excited to hear about how this program turns out! I think that this could be the start of something huge! Write your state legislator. Tell them to help out projects like this.

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