Officials review public transportation plan

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
This image demonstrates what vans used in a Leavenworth public transportation program will look like.

Leavenworth officials hope to launch a public transportation program early next year in partnership with The Guidance Center.

"This is something we've been talking about for a few years," said Julie Hurley, director of planning community development for the city of Leavenworth.

Hurley and Keith Rickard, executive director of The Guidance Center, reviewed plans for the program this past week during a meeting of the Leavenworth City Commission.

Hurley said the transportation program will be a demand-response operation in which people will be able to call a phone number or use an app to arrange for rides.

She said this type of service "usually is a best first option for cities that don't have experience with transportation."

She said rides initially will be limited to within the city limits, but this could change if there is an increase in demand.

Hurley said The Guidance Center will handle dispatching and delivery of the transportation service.

The Guidance Center is a community mental health center.

"That seemed to be a pretty good fit since they already provide transportation service for their clients," Hurley said.

She said the new program will be operated separately.

"We're looking forward to it," Rickard said.

According to Hurley, discussion about the amount for fares is ongoing. She said city officials want the fees to be in line with what the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority charges for similar programs, which is $2 each way.

The Leavenworth public transportation program initially will be funded with grant money awarded through the Kansas Department of Transportation as well as $62,000 in matching funds from the city.

Hurley said the fleet for the new program will initially consist of three vans.

Rickard said there will be two full-time drivers for the program Monday through Friday. He said the third van will be used as a backup.

Images of vans with proposed graphics for the programs were included in a packet that was created for the City Commission meetings. The images depict vans with the words "Ride LV" and "Micro Transit" on their sides.

Because of supply chain delays for vehicles, Hurley does not know when the vans will be available.

"Startup service is really dependent on when we get those vans," she said. "We're hoping that will be early 2022."

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR