In need of a lift? Kansas City leaders announced a new ride service called Iris, which will provide on-demand pick-ups and drop-offs through app-based technology.
“This is the future of transit,” City Manager Brian Platt said. “No more is it a fixed route that moves along a certain path at a certain time.”
The new technology has two big purposes:
- Better connect people to existing public transit (filling in coverage gaps)
- Provide flexible shuttle services to specific destinations
"[It’s] responsive and reactive,” Platt said. “It’s like Uber or Lyft or any kind of ride-share service you get now, except at a lower cost at a higher scale.”
Some KCMO residents don’t have easy transit options. Leaders discussed how transportation accessibility has been a major concern for Northlanders.
“Many of our neighborhoods, my own neighborhood, virtually has no bus services.” Deb Hermann, CEO of Northland Neighborhoods, Inc., said.
Iris is live for residents north of the Missouri River as of March 15. Leaders plan to expand coverage south through the Plaza by April 27 (aka the NFL Draft). The goal is to encompass the whole city by the end of July.
Users will have 24-hour access to rides. Officials said pick-up and drop-off sites will never be more than a quarter-mile away.
The service can also provide new routes for specific events — think: festivals, sporting events, and the World Cup.
Cost for riders:
- From pick-up to transit hub | Free
- From pick-up to other stop | $3
- From one zone to another | $4
- To destinations (KCI, Zona Rosa, etc.) | $10
Cost for the city: $8 million, annually
Drivers: Licensed zTrip employees will operate purple, branded Iris vehicles
Wait time: Maximum 20 minutes
Accessibility: Options for wheelchair lifts and bike storage
Precedent: Platt initiated a similar service in during his previous role in Jersey City, resulting in “incredible success.”