Wichita Transit officials April 14 announced two new west-side routes that are part of planned efforts to expand and improve service following feedback from riders and residents.
During a 10 a.m. news conference outside of New Market Square shopping center, Mayor Carl Brewer joined council Members Jeff Longwell, Janet Miller, Jeff Blubaugh and Transit Director Steve Spade to promote the new west-side routes, which will make stops at the popular, west-side shopping center and destinations downtown. City officials thanked New Market Square officials for the partnership that created the new routes.
The two new routes serve residents along West Maple and West Central. Both routes will operate every 30 minutes during transit business hours (5:45 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.), Monday through Friday and on Saturday (6:45 a.m.-6:45 p.m.) During a promotional period, from April 12 through 26, service on both routes is free.
In addition to the two new routes, Wichita Transit will implement a neighborhood feeder service in selected areas on the west side to better connect riders in low-demand areas to the fixed-route system. Riders can schedule the front-door van service during peak hours (6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.), Monday through Friday. The route improvements were announced on Monday but took effect on Saturday, April 12.
The west-side service improvements are part of ongoing community-driven efforts to improve the transit system, which is facing service, funding and operational challenges. The improvements were implemented following feedback from a 2012 Community Outreach Study, an online community discussion through Mind Mixers, an analysis of recommendations in the Wichita Transit Long-Range Plan, and a series of public meetings across the community in November 2013. In September 2013, Transit was awarded a three-year federal grant totaling $800,000 a year to fund the improvements.