Northeast Chamber of Commerce discusses Independence MAX and Employer Pass Program at monthly meeting

Elizabeth Orosco
Northeast News

Tuesday, November 27th, the Northeast Chamber of Commerce held their monthly luncheon to discuss the Employer Pass Program and plans for Independence MAX bus service.

Residents and local business owners in the Northeast gathered for a presentation by Shawn Strate, Planning Manager with Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), on the proposed Independence MAX, a bus rapid transit line that would stretch along the densely-populated nine-mile span of Independence Avenue, connecting downtown Kansas City to downtown Independence.

A study was conducted early this year by KCATA to determine if incorporating a bus rapid transit line along Independence Avenue is feasible and to seek an optimal way to connect these two destinations. Public meetings have been held to address questions and concerns of those living and working along the Avenue.

Some unique features of MAX include frequent service, traffic signal priority, fewer stops, MAX stations with lighting that are larger than average bus stops, dedicated bus lanes, interactive kiosks, off-board fare collection, distinctly sleek-designed vehicles, and unique branding. In addition, one of the customer-friendly MAX features includes real-time arrival information that helps transit customers know exactly when MAX will arrive.

This would be the fourth MAX transit line in Kansas City in addition to Troost, Main St, and Prospect. Main MAX opened in 2005 and Troost MAX opened in 2011. Prospect is still currently under construction. Both routes have positively impacted the community with improved job access, streetscape improvements, transit-related economic development, improved safety, and public artwork.

KCATA estimates Prospect MAX project will cost approximately $54 million. The project will be funded through a mix of federal and local funds and service is anticipated to begin in 2020.

The Independence MAX project could result in the first East-West BRT route in Kansas City. While it is still in its embryonic stages, if approved, it would be roughly six or seven years before services are offered to the community. The proposal is in such early stages of development there is no estimated cost at this time.

Ultimately, this project would result in a more frequent and reliable form of transportation for those living and working along Independence Avenue.

JoLene Taylor with RideKC also spoke during the luncheon, highlighting the Employer Pass Program, an incentive for employers in Kansas City to offer a 31-day bus pass at a reduced price to employees.

Currently, a regular bus pass is $50 and is good for 31 days on all MAX, local RideKC routes (numbers 1-499) and 519, 563, 569, 571 and 595. The Employer Pass Program would allow employers to pay a portion of that cost (between $5 and $45) and Ride KC would take an additional $5 off. If employers and RideKC both contributed $5, this 31-day pass would be reduced to $40 for employees.

This offers employers a host of benefits. Contributions toward the cost of a bus pass are tax deductible, it would give employers an edge in hiring, and it would promote public transportation that could assist businesses that have limited parking space or limited budget for parking lots.

This reduced pass would also be an advantage to employees.  With a discounted bus pass, employees would be saving money on the pass itself as well as not purchasing as much fuel. Workers would also not put as much wear and tear on a personal vehicle and are offered two free taxi rides home every year in case of an emergency.

RideKC also offers a  free one-day pass for riders who download the new app, available on both Apple and Android. Riders can pay their fare, plan their trip, and track their ride via the app. To get the app, search “RideKC” in the app or Play Store, or visit
KCATA and three area school districts also offer a new Student Pass Program that give ninth through 12th graders free, unlimited access to public transportation throughout the region.

The one-year pilot program is designed to connect students to opportunities for jobs, internships and extracurricular activities outside of regular school hours.

Veterans in the community receive bus passes for free. All U.S. Veterans may visit the Veterans Community Project at 8900 Troost Ave to sign up and receive a free pass.

Students currently enrolled at UMKC, MCC, KCAI, and KCKCC receive a student I.D. which doubles as a free bus pass.

Reduced fare cards are also available to youth ages 6-18, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and Medicare card holders.

For more information on the proposed Independence MAX project, visit To learn more about the Employer Pass Program, visit

Bus passes can be purchased through the RideKC app, on-board the buses, online at, at the RideKC Headquarters at 1200 E. 18th St., or at all official pass outlets.

Comments are closed.

  • Operation Santa kicks off today at Della Lamb, serving over 1,000 local residents

    December 7th, 2018

    This project will serve over 1,000 low-income families, giving them all the items needed for a full Christmas.

    Congressman Cleaver announces $25 million grant to improve Buck O’Neil Bridge

    December 7th, 2018

    The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant will include creating a wider bridge span, separated facilities for pedestrians bicyclists, and connector ramps.

    KC Streetcar offers holiday performances for riders

    December 5th, 2018

    Johanna Pounds Editorial Assistant Northeast News This holiday season, the Kansas City Streetcar is holding its second annual Holiday Jam. […]

    Delivery services offer tips on keeping packages safe this season

    December 5th, 2018

    Johanna Pounds Editorial Assistant Northeast News Online shopping season is upon us. Kicking off with Cyber Monday, online sales increase […]

    Animating the world around us: A profile on Ben Radatz

    December 5th, 2018

    Reese Bentzinger Editorial Assistant Northeast News Even though animator Ben Radatz moved from Kansas City earlier this year to Los […]

  • Kansas City Fire Department commemorates 30th anniversary of six firefighter’s ultimate sacrifice

    December 5th, 2018

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News The Kansas City Fire Department and the community gathered November 29, to commemorate the 30th anniversary […]

    Historic homes welcome crowds during annual Homes Tour in the Northeast

    December 4th, 2018

    Visitors were able to walk through the homes, meet some of the owners, and see the remarkable restorations that have taken place.

    Online enrollment for KCPS Signature Schools begins today

    December 4th, 2018

    Online enrollment for Kansas City Public School signature schools begins today. Each Signature School has its own enrollment standards and is free for any qualifying child that lives within the KCPS boundaries.

    KC Council debates, holds Paseo name change item until late December

    November 30th, 2018

    After a short but contentious Council debate, the Paseo name change item was held yet again.

    Della Lamb hosts 44th annual Operation Santa

    November 30th, 2018

    Della Lamb Community Center is hosting its 44th-annual Operation Santa, and is still in need of donation items.

  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    retorts illustrated by bryan stalder

    Bed & Breakfast on Gladstone Boulevard

    Northeast News Now in its fourth year of operation, the Inn at 425 remains a labor of love. The evidence […]

    Anatomy of a Hack Piece

    Once again our ol buddies over at The Pitch magazine have broken new ground in an attempt to remain relevant […]