Kansas City is making headlines across the country – and even the globe – for its bold step toward zero fare transit. In early December 2019, Mayor Quinton Lucas and the city council showed unprecedented leadership and a new level of support for public transportation by voting unanimously to direct the city manager to identify up to $8 million from the city budget to fund free bus service.
“$1.50 is worth more outside the farebox than inside the farebox.”
- Robbie Makinen, KCATA CEO and President
But don't take our word for it. Here's the research:
A study was conducted by the Center for Economic Information in the Department of Economics at the University of Missouri Kansas City to better understand the economic impact of the proposed zero-fare policy.
Based on the preliminary analysis, the proposed zero fare policy will improve the quality of life in the Kansas City area.
Regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will increase between $13,615,461 and $17,930,968. The proposed zero-fare policy would have a meaningful impact on the economic livelihood of KCATA’s passengers and those new passengers who may now be motivated to use bus service. For those living paycheck to paycheck, as most Americans are, even an additional $50 (the cost of a monthly bus pass) per month of income can make the difference in deciding which bills to pay.
Where will the money be spent if not in the fare box?
Insurance Carriers $448,834
Research shows there will be tax revenue increase.
There will be an injection of tax revenue into the regional economy. Local and state government tax revenue will increase by $679,217.
■ Sales tax - $311,242
■ Property tax - $220,409
■ Additional minor tax collections
MPTA Research Shows Economic Impact
Missouri Public Transit Association (MPTA) released the findings of a six-month study to show the economic impact of public transit in the state of Missouri.
Altogether, on an average annual basis, spending by the public transit industry, its employees and riders in Missouri supports 29,180 direct and indirect jobs and $3.67 billion in economic activity.
On an average annual basis, spending by the public transit industry, its employees and riders in the Kansas City Area supports 6,310 direct and indirect jobs.
On an average annual basis, $786.4 million in economic output is generated in the Kansas City Area by direct and indirect public transit operations.
“People ride public transit for two reasons – to make money and to spend money. That’s why public transit is an economic development program with social benefits.” – Robert M. Lewis, FAICP, CEcD
We're Ready for Zero Fare
It Starts with a Plan - Kansas City’s journey to zero fare began in 2017 when the Veterans Pass was announced enabling all Veterans in the region to ride RideKC for free. More than 2.5 million fare-free trips have been taken by veterans for jobs, school, family and all sorts of services. In 2018 we launched fare-free Student Passes for 9th – 12th graders in four major school districts. More than 70,000 student trips have been logged. In August 2019 the RideKC Opportunity Pass was introduced to Safety Net providers who provide this pass to lifeline clients. And on Dec. 8, Prospect MAX launched with a free promotional fare on one of the busiest routes in the system.
We’ve made SAFETY improvements in preparation for Zero Fare transit.
100% of RideKC vehicles are equipped with a safety partition for operator safety.
Additional safety officers have been hired.
We updated our continuous riding policy so that riding is safer for everyone.
25% of Riders are Already Riding Fare-Free
Opportunity Pass - KCATA's Zero Fare Program for Non-Profits