As we look at Transit as a burden, KC looks at it as an investment in workers

What a concept! KC has made public transit FARE FREE and said it will only cost them $8 million a year, but the economic impact is well worth it. DUH!

“I think it would make the bus system stronger, not weaker, and would probably bring in more revenue, not less.” 

I also loved this quote from the Editorial board at the KC Star when people asked where they will find the money;

“A good first step would be to stop giving away tax revenue to developers.

Yeah, maybe the AL Ed board should send the same message to our city leaders. Stop the corporate welfare in this city and we can find the money for all kinds of public programs.


#1 D@ily Spin on 12.07.19 at 1:30 pm

Transit is being used. It’s not empty buses anymore. The pay for most unfilled jobs is $10/hour. You can’t own a car and pay rent for that. People will not stay here if there’s not a working wage. They should move to Kansas City. Perhaps free mass transit will become inevitable when all that’s left here is professionals. KC has a good idea.

#2 D@ily Spin on 12.07.19 at 1:47 pm

Kansas City has professional sports teams and an airport with many more flights. The sales tax rate in Wyandotte County is only 1%. State income tax for those living in social security is only 3%. City government is democracy, not oligarchy. They have better weather and many venues such as Jazz Fest.

Are city leaders careless about retaining residents?

#3 Theresa stehly on 12.07.19 at 3:05 pm

Scott, good point. Let’s think of this service as “Workforce Development”.

#4 matt johnson on 12.07.19 at 6:41 pm

must be the new math- not charging fares (presumably the only source of revenue), thus no revenue at all; but this “would probably bring in more revenue”; please explain that for me

#5 l3wis on 12.07.19 at 7:02 pm

MJ, I haven’t read their argument yet, but I am assuming it has to do with providing transportation for workers who pay taxes instead of subsidizing people to sit on their asses because they don’t have the means to get to work. I have long argued with city councils over the years that public transportation is a HUGE investment in our community. It reduces carbon emissions, it reduces car traffic, it’s better for the roads and street maintenance, it gets people to work. Will FREE FARES ever pay for themselves on the face? Nope. But on the back end they do, or at least I think they do. The experiment KC is doing will be a fun one to watch. Maybe it will fail, but in a year, if it doesn’t, I guarantee other major cities will be clamoring to do the same thing.

#6 l3wis on 12.07.19 at 7:06 pm

I would also like to add, that we would not have to re-invent the wheel here. SF already subsidizes Paratransit, and gives free rides to youth and veterans. I think a better pilot program would be to allow free bus rides for 4 months and see what happens.

#7 D@ily Spin on 12.08.19 at 10:20 am

Without transit fees, there’d be a lot less overhead. No making change and no accounting personnel. Transit runs now at a deficit that would be the same or less. If there’s no fee, there’s no obligation for on demand service. There would be more people working filling much needed services and paying more sales tax. Some students would take the city bus rather than school buses. Less cost and more reliability for the school district.

One thing for sure about this town is anything free will have an overwhelming response.

#8 "Woodstock" on 12.08.19 at 12:47 pm

“‘Workforce development’ is a Republican term. It’s an idea to get the government to pay the employment development costs for employers, who don’t pay enough. Whatever happen to ‘on-the-job training?'”

#9 matt johnson on 12.08.19 at 1:52 pm

but this does not add revenue for the system; other tax collection may go up but that is not what the article said; also lower costs (ie no change making) really doesn’t make sense unless there are two workers on the bus- I think the drivers were making change; fewer workers also does not add to revenues but only reduces costs