WICHITA, Kansas – After months of research and listening to public complaints, plans are under way for shorter trips to New Market Square through two new routes.
On Friday, the Wichita Transit System will finally brief the transit advisory board and city leaders of plans to introduce west side service improvements.
“This is a big project,” said Transit Director Stephen Spade. “Anytime you do a major service improvement it takes a lot of work. We’re really excited because this is the first service improvement we’ve seen in transit services in Wichita for probably 10 years at least, and its being made possible by a federal grant.”
Spade says that grant is worth $800,000 a year for the next three years.
“We didn’t have the ability out of the local budget to do this. We now have the ability to introduce significantly better services for the next three years,” said Spade.
Starting April 14th, routes will carry riders from either West Maple or West Central straight to New Market Square.
“Many riders have to take the West Maple out to what is now the West Side Connector,” said TransitAssociate Planner Phillip Zevenbergen. “It’s just the circulator on the west side that drives around in circle and for some of them it takes over an hour and a half to get there. Now having two options that come directly out of downtown, some of the places that took a long time to get to their travel time will be greatly reduced.
Shorter rides aren’t the only new additions. New bus stop signs with reflectors will be placed at each new location and unlike any of the other stops, buses will be allowed onto the property, giving riders practically curbside service.
“This new access bringing them right to the front door. They’ll basically be able to walk right straight out of a shop, wait at the bus stop sign for the bus to show up and get right on the bus, and they won’t have to walk a long distances with a lot of bags in their hands.
Wichita Transit will offer free rides to the new locations from April 14th to April 26th.