Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2007

Officials looking for young summer transit riders

June 7, 2007

Officials looking for young summer transit riders

Happy with the adult riders De Soto's FlexRide transit system has draw in its first year of operation, city officials are hoping to attract younger riders.

De Soto planning director Kim Buttrum said the city is encouraging teens to use the bus this summer to get to the De Soto Family Aquatic Center or the De Soto Library. The bus would be particularly helpful for those teens living in Clearview City or Prospector's Point apartments, she said.

The rides are free, although donations are accepted. Riders younger than 12 years of age, must be accompanied by an adult.

The bus is in De Soto every Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Tuesdays, it leaves Clearview City at 10 a.m. with scheduled stops at Prospector's Point and the library before arriving at the De Soto Senior Center at 10:25 a.m. It then heads east to Morse's Market, Valley Springs Apartments and two stops in west Shawnee before returning to Clearview City at 12:10 p.m. to start the route again. It makes one swing through De Soto from Clearview City to Morse's Market from 2:20 to 3:05 p.m.

On Wednesday, the bus runs the route from Clearview City to Morse's Market five times from 10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

What makes the program unique is the ability to deviate from the routes to offer curb-to-curb service so the wheelchair-lift equipped buses can pickup seniors or others who can't get to one of the scheduled stops. Those wanting to request such a ride should call (913) 397-7300.

Buttrum said if the teen riders to the pool from west De Soto proved popular, the daily schedule could be changed to accommodate young riders.

"That's why it's called FlexRide," she said.

FlexRide was introduced in July 2006 as a joint program of the city of De Soto and Johnson County Transit with help from the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Mr. Goodcents Foundation. The city agreed to contribute $10,000 to subsidize the program in 2007.

The program is averaging from five to seven riders a day, most of whom ride from Clearview City to the De Soto Senior Center for meals, health screening and companionship, Buttrum said.

"That figure may seem like a high price for our handful of regular transit users, however, I've had conversations with some of these folks and this service truly is their lifeline to the outside world," she said.

De Soto Multi-Service Center coordinator Jodi Hitchcock agreed, saying the transit program was the only way some of her clients were able to visit the center.

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