Kansas City launches new ‘mobility-on-demand’ ridehailing service


The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), in partnership with Transdev, has launched an app-based mobility-on-demand public transit service called RideKC Freedom On-Demand, which enables customers to summon taxis on any day and at any time.

The one-year ridehailing pilot uses RideKC Freedom On-Demand, a new app-based transit option that begins with a strong core service for persons with disabilities, and builds out to provide fast, affordable cab rides for everyone. Scheduling can be done when it is convenient and does not have to be done a day in advance like the current paratransit system requires. Customers can pay with credit or debit cards in the app or in the vehicle, as well as cash in the vehicle. There is a call-in option for those who do not use smartphones.

From the beginning of May, Freedom On-Demand will serve areas both north and south of the river. Customers must start their trip within the designated area to qualify for the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) reduced fares. If their trip takes them out of the service area, they will pay a slightly higher fare on the return trip. Customers can download the free RideKC Freedom On-Demand app for either Google or Apple devices.

ADA customers have a personal paratransit number that identifies them as certified ADA customers, so they are automatically charged a lower fare. All other customers using the app will simply pay the required cab fare. A single fare enables customers to bring three guests with them at no additional charge. As an added bonus, a portion of the regularly priced fares on non-ADA trips will be returned to KCATA by its taxi partner Transdev, to reinvest in transit service.

“We can’t solve all of our transportation needs with a big 40ft bus,” said Robbie Makinen, KCATA president/CEO, who lost his sight nearly five years ago and became dependent on public transportation. “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. RideKC Freedom is unique in that the service concept was created first to better serve persons with disabilities, and then build out for everyone. 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.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).