For Kansas City residents with disabilities, it’s difficult to rely on bus schedules to get from place to place — even with paratransit options.
Starting May 1, Kansas City residents with disabilities will have access to an on-demand option. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority recently developed the ride-hailing app RideKC Freedom On-Demand, which will start a one-year pilot serving areas both north and south of the Missouri River.
Like Uber, users can download the app on their phone to request a ride. Customers may pay with credit or debit cards via the app, or pay with cash in the vehicle. For those without access to a smartphone, RideKC will also have a call-in option.
“We can’t solve all of our transportation needs with a big 40-foot bus,” KCATA CEO Robbie Makinen said in a release. “That’s why KCATA is continuing to innovate and work collaboratively with the private sector to provide the best mobility solutions for the region, whether that’s a bus, a streetcar, a taxi or a bike.”
Unlike existing paratransit options for people with disabilities that must be done a day in advance, the app enables customers to call taxis every day, at any hour. Customers must request a ride within the designated service area, and will pay a slightly higher fare if the trip takes them out of the service area.
Although RideKC Freedom On-Demand was built specifically with people with disabilities in mind, its goal is to provide fast, affordable cab rides for everyone.
“RideKC Freedom is unique in that the service concept was created first to better serve persons with disabilities, and then build out for everyone,” Makinen said in a release. “Traditionally, transit agencies create service for the masses and then try to figure out how to serve persons with disabilities. We have done the opposite here.”
Americans with Disabilities will pay $3 for the first eight miles of service and $2 for every subsequent mile. Non-ADA customers over the age of 65 will pay $5 for the first eight miles and $2 for every subsequent mile. General public customers will pay $10 for the first five miles and $2 for every subsequent mile. Each single fare enables customers to bring along three guests with them at no additional charge.
You can download the RideKC Freedom app on iOS and Android devices starting May 1.