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Transit study recommends new express bus service to Kansas City International Airport

KCI
Posted at 12:37 PM, Mar 04, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Regional transportation planners released a transit study last week recommending new express bus service to meet demand to the new single terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

The study looked at demand for transit access to KCI from across the area, and the results pointed to two initial corridors:

- Downtown Kansas City, Missouri (with pick-up/drop-off options at Union Station or Convention Center area)
- Johnson County, Kansas, with a potential stop in Kansas City, Kansas.

KCI transit study.png

Planners estimate the service would need to operate for 18 hours a day, seven days a week with a frequency of once every 30 minutes. Additional stops could eventually be added in Lee’s Summit, Independence, Liberty and Leavenworth.

“The KCI transit study is a result of a strong partnership between regional agencies and stakeholders who share a common vision of providing efficient and reliable transit services to the airport,” KCATA President and CEO Frank White III said. “Together with our funding partners, we are excited to evaluate these new express and other local bus options that will serve both travelers and airport workers and enhance the connectivity of our region.”

LINK | Read the executive summary

The $200,000 study was first announced in February 2023, which officials citing future big events such as the FIFA 2026 World Cup as reasons to identify more robust transportation options.

Each of the different options would have different cost structures. Planners estimate up-front costs (busses, signage, etc) would range between $6 to $8 million, with an additional $3-6 million needed for annual operating costs depending on the route.

The cheapest route with potentially the highest demand would be the downtown KCMO to KCI route. Officials estimate the total cost to launch and operate the route with a stop at Union Station at roughly $51 million. A route from Overland Park’s Convention Center with a stop at Indian Springs in KCK would cost nearly $80 million over a 10-year span.

While transit planners have completed their study, it will be up to elected officials to decide whether to pursue the route and allocate funding.

LINK | KCMO gauging interest in rapid transit option from KCI to downtown

“We appreciate the opportunity to see the results of this informative study, which outlines possible transit opportunities throughout the metro to and from the Kansas City International Airport,” Johnson County Board of County Commissioners’ Janeé Hanzlick said in a release last week.

Hanzlick also serves as co-chair for the Mid-America regional Council’s Total Transportation Policy Committee.

“Johnson County Transit is about to embark on a strategic planning process which will review all aspects of transit services and this report will help inform that effort,” she said.

More information about the transit study is available on MARC’s website.