FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kalamazoo, Mich - Youth Mobility Fund partners are pleased to announce that Youth Mobility bus passes will once again be honored during all Metro operations hours beginning the morning of Monday, February 3. This concludes the pause that has been in effect for the passes between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. on weekdays.
Students will continue to use their school-issued ID cards that have been validated with a sticker and opt-in form through the end of this school year, a system that was put in place in November 2019 to address technical limitations of the initial bus cards. The opt-in forms can be turned in to the administration office at the four schools (Norrix, Central, Phoenix, and KILP) for a validation sticker until June 1. Passes remain valid until new cards with improved technology are issued next school year.
The founding program partners, Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS), City of Kalamazoo, and Metro, as well as new program partner, the Kalamazoo Youth Development Network (KYD Network) are committed to the original vision of the program, “To get young people where they need to go in Kalamazoo so they can get where need to go in life.”
The program partners encourage everyone in the community to help support a positive rider experience on Metro buses and to contact Metro directly by telephone or email for the most current and complete answers to concerns or questions.
A Growing Partnership
The partners are taking major steps to improve the program by building and deepening relationships in the community. “We started out thinking this was just about transportation but learned quickly that it is really about youth development in a larger sense,” said Steve Brown, Coordinator of the program’s supporter, The Foundation for Excellence. Brown went on to say, “KYD Network stepped up to offer vision and leadership around centering youth input, including organizing a Youth Mobility Affinity Group to meet moving forward.” The first meeting attracted 42 people, mostly students, providing feedback and ideas on the program. Future meetings are announced through the KYD Network’s Facebook page and elsewhere. The partners will focus their attention on gathering input, expanding outreach, and implementing program improvements over several coming months.
Youth Mobility by the Numbers
Since the beginning of full operations in August 2019, over 120,000 trips have been taken on Metro buses by 9 through 12 grade students at Loy Norrix, Kalamazoo Central, Phoenix, and Kalamazoo Innovative Learning Program (KILP). This represents 12% of all Metro ridership. A non-scientific online survey of young riders conducted by Metro this winter received over 1,000 responses, with approximately 70% coming from Central and 30% from Loy Norrix. Approximately 50% responded that they used the bus pass, with 64% using it for after school activities, sports, and tutoring; 37% to travel to and from work; 31% to travel to and from school. Over 50% students reporting using the pass multiple times daily.
On March 10, 2020, voters will be asked to consider a millage to support Metro bus system in Kalamazoo area.
WHAT IS THE MILLAGE REQUEST?
Voters will be asked to consider a millage of up to .90 mills for five years beginning in 2021 to support the Metro public bus transportation system.
HOW IS PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FUNDED?
An important component of public transportation is voter approved millages which currently represent 36% of Metro’s operating funds. Additional funds come from Federal Grants (10%), State Grants (34%), Fares (18%) and other sources (2%).
HOW MUCH WILL THE MILLAGE COST A HOMEOWNER?
The cost of the 0.90 millage request for a homeowner whose home has a taxable value of $50,000 ($100,000 market value) is approximately $45 a year ($0.12 per day).
HOW WILL THE COMMUNITY BENEFIT?
Both the economy and the quality of life for people in the greater Kalamazoo community benefit from reliable transportation. Metro operates seven days a week, providing an important mode of transportation for employers and their employees, seniors and students, including those with disabilities. The fixed route bus system, along with the county-wide Metro Connect system, gives everyone in Kalamazoo access to public transportation that is safe and reliable year round.
WHY ASK FOR A MILLAGE?
Metro-provided surveys have shown that over 70% of Metro riders use the bus five or more days a week with 88% not having a vehicle available to access work, doctor appointments or shopping. The millage allows Metro to continue to provide a vital service to the entire community, making it so the service is here when needed. Rides were taken more than 2.8 million times last year. Even if you currently don’t use public transportation, it will be there when you do need it. Improved services will help people working later night hours and provide access to Sunday activities.
WHO GETS TO VOTE?
Voters in the cities of Kalamazoo, Parchment and Portage; the townships of Kalamazoo and Comstock (Precincts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7), as well as the eastern portion of Oshtemo Township (Precincts 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9), will be asked to approve the millage request on March 10, 2020. The millage, if approved, will replace the current 2015 millage which expires in 2020.
For more information, visit kmetro.com or call (269) 337 - 8087
Our new bus stop signs are popping up around town to gather feedback. Let us know what you think through our comment form at http://www.kmetro.com/contact or message us.
Here's were new signs are at currently: https://drive.google.com/open…
Highlights of the new sign include:
Better reflective sign for passengers and drivers to see.
Bus Stop Number for use with myStop Mobile app or when calling dispatch to provide location.
Text to Stop Information. With the new Text to Stop, the times are estimates for arrival times. Remember to be at your stop 5 minutes prior so that we can stop safely.
Contact information via phone and website.
Braille information on the bottom of every stop sign stating that sign is a Bus Stop. Location information is also being updated as well so that bus stop locations are accurate for websites using the coordinates.
For more information, call us at 337-8222.