The first day of the Flint Hills Area Transportation Agency’s (ATA Bus) fixed-route transit system was greeted enthusiastically Monday morning.
“It’s the first of many fantastic days with fixed routes,” Anne Smith, director of ATA Bus, said.
The system includes two bus routes, one running from the northwestern part of town to the southeast and one running from the southwestern part of the town to the northeast. The routes, which intersect on the K-State campus, will be served by 14 buses and one minivan. Rides running hourly will be free this week in honor of the start of the system. ATA Bus is still operating its on-demand service as well.
The city is not providing any funding the system, but ATA Bus remains in talks with the city about the use of right-of-way for bus stops and also about signs. Currently, the agency is exploring options for those elements on county land and private property.
Smith told county commissioners Monday that interest was already building. “We have had some businesses call in wanting a bus stop in front of their businesses,” she said.
The agency is also working to update its website and will break ground on its new building June 15.