KS: TMTA Bus Riders 'Understanding' of Changes

Riders of the Topeka Metropolitan Transit Authority's buses have been understanding about recent changes, Janlyn Nesbett-Tucker, Topeka Metro's chief executive officer, told board members Monday.

Fares increased and Metro also eliminated evening/Sunday general public taxi service effective Oct. 1. It also will reduce the paratransit lift service to meet ADA requirements beginning Nov. 1.

Nesbett-Tucker said Topeka Metro had seen a significant number of riders in September purchasing passes for October, November and December.

"People have been very understanding," she told the Transit board, which met at 3:15 p.m. Monday at the Quincy Street Station, 820 S.E. Quincy. "We are all having to do more with less. The economy has really dealt a lot of agencies significant blows."

While Topeka Metro has received complaints, Nesbett-Tucker said employees have worked closely with customers to help them understand the need for the changes.

The board also approved a request for proposal from Houck Transit Advertising, which is based in St. Paul, Minn. Houck has handled advertising on buses for Topeka Transit for the past two years, Nesbett-Tucker said.

Tom Houck told board members Houck Transit Advertising has been in business for nearly 90 years.

"Our formula has worked very well for us," Houck said.

He also explained that Houck employees handle all sales calls, negotiate contracts, design signs, put the advertisements on the buses, take care of billing and collecting.

Advertising on buses generates about $24,000 per year for Topeka Metro. Houck said it has the potential to generate between $30,000 and $60,000.

Ann Marie Bush can be reached at (785) 295-1207 or ann.bush@cjonline.com