Archive for Thursday, December 21, 2006

Campus express to start in January

December 21, 2006

A one-time proposed pilot program that would have provided bus service between Lawrence and Johnson County has "morphed" into a service that focuses on college campuses.

Chuck Ferguson, deputy transportation director with Johnson County Transit, said the bus service, which starts Jan. 17, would connect park-and-ride stations at the Lawrence campuses of Kansas University and Haskell Institute to similar stations on the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park and Johnson County Community College. The service will operate from about 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Fridays. The fee is $2.50 for a one-way trip and $5 roundtrip.

The program is funded for one year with a federal air quality improvement grant, state funds and county contribution, Ferguson said. The limited program morphed from a proposed broader pilot program that was to test the appeal of commuter service on the Kansas Highway 10 corridor, he said.

"It morphed into a more targeted service," he said. "It will be an express on K-10 with no stops. That's the only way to run this campus-type connector. Getting off the highway would change everything."

KU assistant dean of student Danny Kaiser said the route will draw interest from KU faculty, staff and students who normally commute between the two counties. But he added it was open to all.

Ferguson said he knew there was interest in De Soto and with the K-10 Association for commuter service between Johnson County and Lawrence. Transit always hopes new services will be popular enough to be expanded, but other obstacles would have to be overcome to develop a wider K-10 commuter service, he said.

"The problem with a more general commuter service is we don't have enough of a distribution system

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