Informational, Infrastructure

Public Transportation in Prairie Village

Posted by Bonnie Limbird

Public transportation in Prairie Village? I don’t hear those two things together in the same sentence very often.

My family likes to take public transit in every city we visit as tourists: Chicago, San Francisco, NYC, Boston… We WOULD like to use the Kansas City area transit system (buses) more often, but it just doesn’t pay off logistically, financially, or environmentally for us. Now, I think I know why…

I recently pulled up the app on my phone to see where my closest bus stop is, and this is what I found:

The purple area is a VERY rough outline of PV (I know I left out some jogs in the boundary), and the blue lines are the bus routes. I believe we can safely call Prairie Village a PUBLIC TRANSIT DESERT. If you don’t have a personal vehicle, your options are extremely limited.

MARC Survey

By coincidence, the Limbirds were randomly selected this year as one of 70,000 households in the KC metro to participate in the Mid America Regional Council (MARC), KDOT, and MoDOT ‘How We Move KC’ survey. Monday all three of us, Chris, Abi, and I, logged every single stop we made around the city, how we got there, where we parked, what we were doing there, and how long we stayed. This regional transit survey data will be used to identify existing deficiencies in the transportation system in the Kansas City region, such as how the top 15 routes in the KCATA system carry 75% of daily riders. 🤯

One of the questions we were asked at the end of the survey was why we didn’t use public transit at all that day, and I responded that it was a lack of convenient bus stops. I imagine that, upon further inspection, schedules and length of rides might have been barriers as well.

Barriers to Use

Public transit isn’t for everyone. Some other barriers to riding public transit include visual impairments or other “diversabilities”, lack of planning tools, daily work travel, and unpredictable weather (Kansas City, am I right). I found this quote from Robbie Makinen, Chairman KCATA, interesting: “You may not personally use public transit, but every day you depend on about a hundred people who do.” People who use the bus to get to their jobs at hospitals, in food service, at banks, and more.

You also may need to look to a public transit option if, like us last winter, you were down to one car for two drivers for about two months because of an unfortunate fender bender. Closer stops and more options would have made riding the bus a viable option for us in that situation and a big help!

Free Transit

If you’re a UMKC student, your tuition covers free bus rides. If you’re a Veteran, the KCATA and the Veterans Community Project partnered to provide free rides Monday through Friday. But neither of these offer much help getting Prairie Village residents to school or work outside of Prairie Village if the nearest bus stop is 10+ blocks away.

Smaller micro-transit options would also be amazing for our middle- and high-schoolers to get back and forth to school and activities, particularly in inclement weather when walking or bicycling isn’t feasible. Is anyone else thinking street trolley!?!? 😂

What Do You Think?

So, tell me what you think? Do you think public transportation in Prairie Village could use more options? Would you use public transit within PV and/or to areas outside PV and back if there were more options? If not, what are your barriers to using public transit? Answer these quick questions below to let me know!

Do you think PV needs more public transit options?

  • Yes (100%, 2 Votes)
  • No (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 2

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Would you use public transit if PV had more or better options that suited your needs?

  • Yes (100%, 2 Votes)
  • No (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 2

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What are your current barriers to using public transit? (Select up to 2)

  • Length of bus ride or number of stops to get to your destination (50%, 2 Votes)
  • Proximity of bus stops (25%, 1 Votes)
  • I don't want to ride a bus. (25%, 1 Votes)
  • Lack of route options (0%, 0 Votes)
  • No routes to your destination (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Other (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 2

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me! I hope to be able to use this input in the future as your Councilperson as Prairie Village implements the Bike-Ped Plan, and Council has discussions about electric scooters like Bird and Lime (coming to Overland Park soon as a pilot program), bike share options like KC Bcycle, and other creative micro-transit options.

If you want to learn what the benefits of public transit are, click HERE.

Take care and reach out if you have any questions or concerns,


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