Jacksonville, Fla. – The term innovation has become a big word in the transportation industry. Generally defined as a new idea, creative thought or new imagination in the form of a device or method, most tend to focus the term around emerging technologies. However, a number of transit agencies are making significant strides where innovation provides the greatest impact for the end user: the pocketbook.
With local officials unanimously approving funding to eliminate fares for all bus riders, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) is poised to become the next trendsetter. Locally, JTA operates a slightly smaller bus system. Is this a model worth exploring in Jacksonville?
In early December 2019, the Kansas City city council approved a resolution requiring a set aside to allow riders to use local buses for free, beginning in 2020. Already providing free rides on the city’s streetcar system, the $8 to $9 million set aside would cover all revenue previously generated from $1.50 per ride fares and $50 monthly passes.
Viewed as monumental and meant to reduce barriers to access to people, according to Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, “this is going to improve the lives of so many and help fuel the local economy.”