Wichita Transit is conducting a connecting communities study evaluating the demand and support for connected transit service to Andover, Derby, Haysville and Maize.
“It’s not just about connecting people into Wichita, it’s about connecting people to where they want to go,” said Wichita Transit Associate Planner Philip Zevenbergen.
The city created a comprehensive market analysis in May of 2018. In June, transit employees hosted several community meetings and stakeholder discussions to get an idea of what kind of transportation would be wanted and what would be feasible.
On Wednesday, Wichita Transit hosted a transit alternative community meeting in Maize showcasing the route options based on public feedback.
“We do have some data that shows over 85 percent of the individuals in these communities who live here work in Wichita or work somewhere else, so when you are talking about connecting communities it’s about not only connecting where you live, but connecting where you work,” Zevenbergen explained.
Of the four communities, Zevenbergen said residents in Haysville, Derby and Maize seemed to have the most interest in connected transit.
“It would help quite a bit. That’s all I can say because that’s what it boils down to,” said Edna Christ.
Christ, 70, lives in Wichita. However, she commutes by cab to a dialysis center in Maize three times a week.
“That’s about all I can do is sit here and wait for them,” Christ said.
Christ used to rely on her family members to take her to and from dialysis, but a majority of them are at work when she needs to go.
She said it would save her time and money if she could use public transportation to get to and from her appointments.
“That would simplify the matter quite a bit,” Christ said.
A business owner just outside of Wichita city limits and near Maize told KSN she would also welcome the transit service.
“It would do a lot to connect Maize to the City of Wichita, make things in the City of Wichita more accessible and make living in Maize more accessible. Right now, we don’t have that bridge so this would be a good bridge for that,” said Woodard Mercantile Owner Leslye Woodard.
The goal is to have a transit plan in place by the end of July. The city then expects to create a funding and implementation plan in August and September.