www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Wichita to host Special Olympics North America softball tournament -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Via Christi to offer 2 events to help people enroll for insurance -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Sedgwick County withdraws from National Association of Counties -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Kansas House panel holds hearing on marriage -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Community leaders coming together to discuss ending domestic violence -2/11/2015, 4:13 PM

Parkinson's Disease Support Group to meet in McPherson -2/5/2015, 12:05 PM

Cited owner's case includes 2-day jail stay -2/5/2015, 12:05 PM

Smoky Hills Audubon Society to host free program on protecting birds -2/5/2015, 11:10 AM

Shuttle crosses many paths -2/5/2015, 11:10 AM

Jury acquits man for aggravated assault -2/5/2015, 11:10 AM

Second police officer to appeal firing to City Council -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Highway closed for repair of ruptured gas line -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Drop, Cover, Hold On -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Bill would let home-schooled students play on public school sports teams -2/2/2015, 8:07 AM

Wichita school district's Choices Fair set for Thursday -1/28/2015, 4:07 PM

United drops nonstop service from Wichita to LA -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

Teen accused of assaulting girl with knife at school -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

Mission of Mercy to offer free dental care in Salina -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

As Kansas turns 154, five events that shaped our state -1/28/2015, 3:04 PM

Kansas Senate set to pass 'constitutional carry' of concealed guns, no permit required -1/22/2015, 12:07 PM

Kansas Senate committee hears from medical marijuana supporters -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Defendant in burglaries case ID'd in video -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Barber Co. manhunt was short-lived on Facebook -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Airport boss shocked with surprise honor on 30-year work anniversary -1/22/2015, 11:04 AM

Meetings to discuss goals of education -1/22/2015, 11:02 AM

Wichita City Council could vote on marijuana issue Tuesday -1/22/2015, 11:02 AM

Salina woman's bank card fraudulently used -1/16/2015, 4:59 PM

Retiring judge marks end to an era -1/16/2015, 4:05 PM

Man accused of beating, shocking woman -1/16/2015, 4:05 PM

Wichita City Council votes 5-2 to move ahead with library plans -1/13/2015, 2:50 PM

Restaurant employee arrested for allegedly adding to tip -1/13/2015, 2:49 PM

Misdialed 911 calls from cellphones waste taxpayers' money -1/13/2015, 2:49 PM

Mahindra to launch Midwest distribution center in Lyons -1/13/2015, 2:49 PM

County commission votes Shadwick chairman -1/13/2015, 2:44 PM

Dr. Donna Sweet earns award from American College of Physicians -1/9/2015, 3:05 PM

Boeing on track with deliveries of Poseidon jets to the Navy -1/9/2015, 3:05 PM

Prosecutors receive additional reports in child torture case -1/9/2015, 3:04 PM

Politico: Huelskamp flip-flops on Speaker vote -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

No-till farming focus of winter conference in Salina -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Negative publicity costly to county -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Hutch man pleads guilty to assault on officer -1/7/2015, 11:00 AM

Final person sentenced in connection with beating of Salina woman -1/7/2015, 10:59 AM

City Council to consider higher storm water utility fees -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Change for the better -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Sylvia home deemed total loss after fire -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

New commissioners respond to county issues -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Man arrested in connection with alleged rape -1/5/2015, 12:00 PM

Man shot dead in Haysville during reported break-in attempt -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

Cold front plunges much of Kansas into deep freeze -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

Access TV looking to increase quality -12/30/2014, 11:02 AM

Voting for grants will end on Christmas Day -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Santa Claus welcome year-round at Hutch home -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Marquette tyke gets big wish; family destined for Disney World -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Kan. death has spurred work on virus -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Hospice rep goes to bat for nonprofit -12/23/2014, 10:56 AM

Cirque du Soleil coming to Wichita -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

V-Plan transmission line now in service -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Plains pupils: Pluto's a planet -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Hutch United Way campaign slips further from goal -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Hutch inmate charged with sexual assault -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Colorado teenager injured in 1-vehicle wreck on I-70 -12/20/2014, 4:00 PM

Salina Journal hires attorney to pursue names of county commission candidates -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Hays resident to sign copies of his book in Salina -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Grandview Plaza shows another clean audit -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

Eighth-grader earns educational opportunity -12/17/2014, 11:01 AM

koch121514 -12/15/2014, 9:56 AM

Cattle rustlers hit several counties -12/14/2014, 6:13 PM

Michael McDonald brings soulful sounds of Christmas to Stiefel Theatre -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

McCarville enjoyed Kan. Supreme Court work -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

Constructing gingerbread houses en masse -12/12/2014, 12:02 PM

City redefines 'perennial violator' -12/9/2014, 11:59 AM

Feast day to shine with celebration, anniversary -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Ed board has lesson for 5 eyeing seats -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Century-old Christmas letter still has meaning -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Thirteen apply for commission seats -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Max Heim selected interim president of Colby Community College -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Gold coin gives needed boost to Salvation Army kettle campaign -12/9/2014, 10:56 AM

Abilene's Garfield Elementary has potential -12/5/2014, 5:54 PM

Man arrested for shoplifting at Salina Walmart -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

Former school counselor sentenced for rape of 13-year-old boy -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

Design for Central starts taking shape -12/5/2014, 4:51 PM

Kansas highway projects to proceed as state grapples with budget -12/4/2014, 2:00 PM

Foreclosures continue to fall in Kansas -12/4/2014, 2:00 PM

Sedgwick County trying to renegotiate IRS building deal -12/4/2014, 1:59 PM

Wichita police find 75-year-old woman -12/4/2014, 1:50 PM

High Touch acquires Overland Park technology services firm -12/4/2014, 1:50 PM

For five decades, TV anchor Larry Hatteberg stayed innovative, kind -11/29/2014, 5:58 PM

Details are sketchy on robbery at Kwik Shop -11/29/2014, 5:58 PM

Animal shelter director expected to take job in Amarillo -11/29/2014, 5:58 PM

Kobach on schedule to address Hutch tea party -11/29/2014, 5:57 PM

Some like it not: Graffiti unwelcome -11/29/2014, 5:57 PM

Defendant in Fairmount Park attack now charged with capital murder -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Weigand shuffles executive leadership -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Share the Season: Son's hospital stay put mom behind on bills -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Sedgwick County property tax bills went out this week, some incorrectly -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Injured vet, family find reasons to be thankful through hard times -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

Foster dad pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter in baby's death in hot car -11/26/2014, 2:54 PM

WSU to dedicate upgraded lab to study electrical power -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

Wilbur Middle School employee placed on leave after arrest -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

Wichita investors announce plan for southeast Kansas casino -11/24/2014, 4:55 PM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Proposed 1-cent sales tax would add, expand Wichita bus routes

Published on -8/4/2014, 8:47 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

By Kelsey Ryan

The Wichita Eagle

(MCT) Nearly every day, Yosef Wanger rides the bus to Wright Career College, where he's studying computers.

Wanger's main mode of transportation, Wichita's transit system, awaits a crucial decision on its future Tuesday.

"It really benefits me," Wanger said Thursday afternoon as he waited for his transfer bus to take him home. "You don't have to pay insurance, you don't have to pay the gas. It's been really helpful.

"Until you really need to go somewhere like to school or work, you don't really see the need (for the bus system). But the bus system is what keeps Wichita going and moving.... It gives me a sense of independence."

If the City Council votes Tuesday to approve it, a 1-cent sales tax will be on the November ballot. Wichita's transit system would be one of several projects to receive public funds.

City officials estimate the sales tax would generate about $400 million over the next five years, funding a new water supply ($250 million), street maintenance and repair ($27.8 million), job development ($80 million) and transit ($39.8 million).

"One of my goals is to make sure that we don't ever hear that the lack of transportation is the reason why someone couldn't get a job, medical attention or education," said transit director Steve Spade. "We should have a system that doesn't have those kinds of barriers for people."

As part of the proposed transit plan, city officials hope to add and expand routes in 2015 and 2016, increase peak-hour service in 2016 and add evening routes until 11 p.m. starting in 2017.

"The public was saying 'You don't go all the places we need to go and when we need to get there. You don't cover enough of the city,'" Spade said.

Spade wants to expand from the current 16 routes to have more that go across town -- the first steps away from the traditional "spoke and wheel" model that requires going downtown to transfer.

"It's pretty typical for a Midwestern city where the route radiates from downtown. But people don't always want to go downtown," Spade said.

Some of the proposed route expansions for 2015 and 2016 include:

-- Extending the East 17th Street route from Wichita State University to North Rock Road and Bradley Fair.

-- Adding a crosstown route from 31st Street South to 29th Street North along Hillside.

-- A new route connecting Douglas from West Street east to Woodlawn or Towne East Square.

-- A new crosstown route along 21st Street connecting North Rock Road and NewMarket Square.

-- Connecting the West Maple and East 17th Street routes.

-- Connecting the East and West Central routes.

Expanded routes would mean a growing fleet of buses. Currently, about 35 buses run during peak hours, Spade said. The plan would allow up to 52 buses to run during peak hours by 2017.

He said he also wants to improve peak-hour service so buses run more often than once every 30 minutes.

It's an idea that Teresa Johnson, who has been riding the bus for about 10 years, supports. She uses it go to school, work and the store on weekdays. Without it, she would "be up the creek without a paddle" since she doesn't drive.

She thinks the extended routes and hours would be worth a 1-cent sales tax.

"It helps a lot of people get to their jobs and be able to function in the Wichita area," she said.

The number of rides taken on the transit system in 2012 was about 2.25 million and in 2013 it was about 2.15 million. So far this year, it's followed the same trend and is "slowly eroding," Spade said.

"One of our challenges is 'How do we show the value of the system to the community when all they've gotten to see is it operating at a very low level?'" Spade said.

"We should have more people choosing to ride the bus. If you look at other communities, it's a service people choose to consume, but to do that we have to have a service that's competitive and starts to meet needs."

Spade attributes the drop in the number of riders to the city's decision several years ago to cut service on the west side and to raise fares.

"Rather than generate additional revenue, it resulted in the loss of ridership," he said. "It's not really good business to cut the quality of service and raise your fare at the same time. We're hoping this fall to study our fare structure and what we might do to stimulate ridership and increase revenues."

If the proposed sales tax is put on the ballot and approved by voters in November, Spade said the transit department will seek additional input from the public to prioritize the route changes.

(c)2014 The Wichita Eagle

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos