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Kansas City

County Club PlazaMay 7, 2014

County Club Plaza
May 7, 2014

As is the case in many cities across the United States, Kansas City used to have an extensive network of streetcars that was discontinued as private vehicles became more popular.  Cars ultimately came to dominate in Kansas City, and the result is a transit network with infrequent service on most routes.  At its peak, Kansas City had over 300 miles of streetcar lines.  However, the last streetcars were discontinued in 1957.

On December 28, 1965, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) was founded by the Missouri and Kansas legislatures through a bi-state compact.  It took over the bus routes that had been previously operated by the Kansas City Public Service Company in 1969.  In 2005, it launched the “Metro Area Express” (MAX) bus rapid transit service on Main Street.  MAX features specially branded buses and stops, real time arrival information at each stop, and dedicated bus lanes.  A second MAX corridor opened on Troost Avenue in 2011.  Additional MAX lines are planned for Prospect Avenue and State Avenue.

A new streetcar line for downtown Kansas City was approved by voters in 2012.  Construction began in 2014 and the KC Streetcar is expected to enter revenue service in the spring of 2016 on a 2.2 mile route connecting River Market to Union Station.

Other local governments in the area operate bus services, including Johnson County, KS (The JO), Independence, MS (IndeBus), and Wyandotte County, KS (Unified Government Transit (UGT)).  These agencies, as well as KCATA and the KC Streetcar, are rebranding all their services under a unified “RideKC” brand starting in 2015.


The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) operates 69 routes, including the Main Street and Troost Avenue "MAX" BRT services, with an all-Gillig fleet.

Johnson County Transit (The JO)

Johnson County Transit is the transit agency for Johnson County, Kansas. It wass ounded in 1981 when Johnson County took over public transit service within the county from KCATA. Its services have been branded as "The JO" since 1986. Prior to that it was called Commuterride. The JO will be rebranded as part of RideKC starting in 2015. It operates 22 routes with a fleet of over 80 buses.