Public transportation: an underrated and underused jewel

The Kansas City bus system is incredibly convenient and useful. This makes me wonder why so many people are skeptical, or even afraid, of riding the bus.


by Anna Ronan, Writer

On the way to the bus stop from STA, I always notice a few key things; all the student drivers when I cross an intersection, the people sitting in the windows at restaurants like Andres and Spin and the sound of the hustle and bustle of the Plaza not too far away.

While I am lucky to have a dad who is willing to drive me to school in the mornings, he and my mom get off work at a much later time than I get out of school.

I ride the bus because it is one of my only options. I can’t drive by myself yet, since I don’t have my license. I could wait around for an hour or two until one of my parents gets off work, bother friends every day by asking to go to one of their houses, or even just go and study at the library. Most days, though, I just want to get home. So, logically, public transportation is the way to go.

One of the things I hear most often when I tell people I ride the city bus is, “Isn’t that dangerous?” The answer to that is no, no it is not. The bus is not a scary place. Every time I get on the Main Street Bus towards the River Market, I am greeted by the sound of mindless chatter between complete strangers. I often hear people talking about the most recent baseball game, what’s been going on in Kansas City, and sometimes even politics.

Maybe it’s just because I grew up near downtown, but the bus rarely seems scary to me. While some buses are more well kept than others, the seats are almost always clean and the drivers are almost always nice.

I remember one of the first times I rode the bus. I didn’t know what I was really doing, and, now that I look back, everyone on that bus could totally tell. When I got on the bus, the kind driver gave me a transfer card and my fare card. When I looked back, the bus was completely full. When I started walking towards the seats, I didn’t realize that the driver would immediately pull away from the stop. I ended up stumbling across and almost landing on top of an old woman! Thankfully, she was nice about it, and the man behind her stood up and gave me his seat. It was so, so embarrassing.

While it only happens every once and awhile, I certainly get asked if I’m in the right place. I’m one of few people of my combined race and age demographic that uses the city bus. I mean, picture this- a short white girl in a Catholic school uniform with a backpack twice her size boards the bus. It’s not something that you would generally expect.

I see people that most wouldn’t expect to see on the bus- two chefs working on the plaza. A college student who straps his bike to the front of the bus. An Asian mother with her young daughter. A grandmother teaching her grandson how to ride the bus. It’s a really diverse place in a city so separated.

Another great plus to the bus is that it’s pretty cheap. For a student with a reduced fare card, it’s 75 cents, and normally it’s only a dollar and 50 cents. The buses are almost always on time, and they run every ten minutes to a half an hour. They stop at almost every block and are quick to leave from stops. And, at least for me, I don’t have to walk all that far to get to a stop.

The Kansas City public bus is so, so underrated. It’s diverse, it’s cheap, and it goes all over the city. Take the time, learn to be comfortable on the bus. It’s really worth knowing how to ride it.

Because, hey, we’re all just people trying to get somewhere.