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KCMO city leaders ready to launch new on-demand ride service 'Iris'

Posted at 4:56 PM, Mar 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-07 17:56:12-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After Monday's announcement of a new app-driven ride service called Iris, Kansas City, Missouri, city leaders held a press conference Tuesday to give more information on the ride service.

Iris will launch in the Northland on March 15 and then across KCMO later this year.

KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas gave a reason why the vision for Iris is so far-reaching.

“For years and years, we’ve heard about the fact that our Northland transit and bus connections aren’t where they need to be,” Lucas said. “And so we’re making sure through this program that we take that important and indeed bold step to make sure that no matter where you live in Kansas City, you have access to the doctor, to work, to a job, and we make sure that that’s something available for everyone at a good and fair cost.”

Iris will operate similarly to Uber, dropping off users within a quarter-mile of their preferred destination.

KCMO’s 1st District Councilwoman Heather Hall expressed excitement for the project before pulling out her phone and showing Iris’ companion app, “Iris by Ride KC.”

The app is already available for download in the Apple App Store and should be released on the Google Play Store in the next few days, according to KCMO Public Works Director Michael Shaw.

It divides the Northland into several zones, represented by color-coded areas on a map.

You can travel within your zone, across different zones or to other areas such as the Kansas City International Airport or Zona Rosa.

Traveling within your zone will be the cheapest option, costing $3, while going from one zone to another will cost $1 more. Getting to areas like KCI will be considered a “premium service” and cost $10.

There is also the option of getting dropped off at a public transit node free of charge.

Kansas City Area Transportation Authority CEO Frank White III believes Iris is “very responsive” to taxpayers’ needs and, in turn, will make the city’s bus service “more efficient.”

KCMO’s 1st District Councilwoman Heather Hall believes transit in the area is not one size fits all.

“It’s a lot of varieties of different modes of transit that help everyone get to where they need to go in a safe and fair way,” Hall said.

She explained that there will be kinks to work out initially and asked for both patience and feedback as the ride service continues to grow.

“Let us learn how to make this a really great opportunity,” Hall said.