Archive for Wednesday, April 1, 2009

City Commission approves bus route

While catching a bus ride between Lawrence and Johnson County is about to cost more, the city approved a new city route to improve transit options.

April 1, 2009


The city and Kansas University in August will take their largest steps yet toward combining their public transit systems.

City commissioners unanimously approved the creation of a new jointly operated bus route that will take riders from downtown through the KU campus and to the retail and apartment complexes on South Iowa Street. The route would run every 30 minutes, and may run multiple buses to handle what is expected to be heavy demand from students and university employees.

Commissioners also approved the idea of the city and the university publishing a joint route map to make it easier for riders to use both systems.

“Our ultimate goal is to help you design a system that looks pretty seamless to the user,” said Mark Swope, a consultant with Olsson Associates. “For riders, it hopefully won’t look like they are changing from one system to another.”

The new route will begin in August. Swope said the new route won’t cost either the city or university more money to operate because the new route will allow three other routes to be consolidated.

Olsson Associates — who will continue studying the system — also recommended that the city begin using smaller buses for routes in North Lawrence, and possibly in parts of eastern Lawrence.

Commissioners approved the recommendations on a 4-0 vote. Commissioner Rob Chestnut was not present. KU’s Transit Committee already has approved the new route.

Commissioners also:

• Approved a request for $5,000 in guest tax money to support the Tour of Lawrence bike race for July 4 and July 5. Commissioners also approved the use of several downtown streets that will serve as part of the race course, and authorized city staff members, including the police and fire departments, to donate services totaling about $12,000. The city will use guest tax money to pay for those services as well.

• Officially received the final report from the Mayor’s Climate Protection Task Force. But commissioners did not take action to implement the key recommendation of the report, which called for a new sustainability coordinator position to be created in City Hall. Instead, commissioners asked staff to research whether existing personnel could handle those duties, and to bring up the idea of creating a new position during the 2010 budget.

• Approved an ordinance allowing the keeping of chickens, but not roosters, in the city limits. People keeping chickens must meet certain space requirements and other code provisions.


Danimal 9 years, 1 month ago

Man I hope they don't screw this busing integration up. Smaller buses you say? Hogwash, what would Lawrence do when the seemingly inevitable flood of ridership comes? Seriously though, I could have told them that (about the smaller buses on less used routes). If the Transportation dept. for the city and KU would give me their ridership data broken down by the hour and usage I could have better proposals than this for them in about 2 weeks time. And I'd do it all for, let's say, 2 grand? That's a steal because I'll bet the city paid these clowns from Olssssssson a quarter mill.

Jonathan Becker 9 years, 1 month ago

Nothing says increased home value like chickens in the yard. What special interest backed this one?

Chris Ogle 9 years, 1 month ago

The City has no business providing bus service for KU on Wheels. Yes, ridership stats will show a large increase per revenue hour for the MT. But that is not really the purpose of the MT

If MT wants to increase boardings even further, they can always see if the School District will allow them to take over some routes... That would be a jump in rider stats too.

The school district, and KU Transit both have funding sources for student transportation.... Lawrence city leaders don't have any idea what they are doing, or what is coming down the pike of student transportation.

sunflour 9 years, 1 month ago

xbusguy, you're missing the point. KU on wheels will pay for the route, when it normally runs (M-F, 7a-6p, when classes are in session) and the city will pay for the route for evenings and Saturday service. If you read the Olssen report at, that's where it says how this would work.

average 9 years, 1 month ago

xbusguy -

First, this is cost-neutral to the city over what's been the case for years.

Ignoring students entirely, KU is still the largest employer in the city. Of people with houses, who pay sales taxes, etc. If we have a bus service at all, and its focus is on transportation to jobs, KU will be served by it, and probably needs to be served more than was the case under the previous "T" arrangement.

Chris Ogle 9 years, 1 month ago

sunflour (Anonymous) says…

xbusguy, you're missing the point. KU on wheels will pay for the route, when it normally runs (M-F, 7a-6p, when classes are in session)

We will see, won't we..... Weststar is next... while our water dept is reading the water meter, they might as well read the Weststar electric meter. Both are just meters, even though city supplies water, and Weststar does the electricity. Kinda like KU on Wheels and MT (they both run buses you know.)

Chris Ogle 9 years, 1 month ago

Good logic average, KU on Wheels ridership tops 14,000 per day.... yes, per day.... KU on Wheels fleet is over 40 units, and MT has less than 10. With your common sense, we might as well [provide all the rides.... (Sales tax increase... again)

..... what do you mean it is more cost effective to buy a car in KC.... Oh that's right, Lawrence has taken over KU transportation department, so our sales tax is a little higher. But the new car itself is (cost neutral), maybe something else had an effect on the "final" purchase.

Back to buses, maybe we should examine "cause and effect" before go to the "cost neutrall" blanket statement. .

average 9 years, 1 month ago

Cost-neutral is exactly what I mean.

If you hate the fact that the "T" runs on campus at all, you're about 7 years behind the ball.

The "T" will spend no more on crossing campus than it ever has. KUOW will spend no more on going downtown than it ever has. They will, though, coordinate. I fail to see this as a problem.

There are non-student bus-riding staff at KU. Students drive on city-paid streets (and would drive more on those taxpayer-funded streets without bus service). The more people ride the bus to KU, the fewer non-taxable KU parking lots are needed.

Chris Ogle 9 years, 1 month ago

Average-- hope I didn't offend you.... I try to add some humor while bitching online.... it was nothing personal.. but after reading my comments.... I probably should think before pluckin away at the keyboard,. Sorry about that.

I still think the city is opening a can of worms here..... But you never know.....

sunflour 9 years, 1 month ago

xbusguy, students pay their own fees to pay for KU on Wheels, and absolutely none of your precious sales tax money is going to go to funding KU on Wheels routes. Lawrence certainly isn't taking over KU's transit -- they're just going to work together to get more "bang for the buck" as far as efficient service, on one route for now. Would you rather spend your money on something that is less efficient?

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