In 2012, Johnson County Transit (JCT) began operating The JO Xpress, an enhanced bus service comprised of four commuter express routes that travel along I-35 linking Johnson County, Kansas with downtown Kansas City, Missouri. This enhanced bus service features Bus on Shoulder (BOS) operations during the morning and evening rush hours from 95th Street to the Johnson/Wyandotte County Line near Lamar Avenue.
The JO Xpress buses can travel on the shoulder when traffic on I-35 has slowed to less than 35 miles per hour, thus bypassing congested areas. Buses can’t travel more than 10 miles faster than the traffic on the highway and won’t exceed 35 mph. So, if traffic is moving at 20 miles an hour, buses on the shoulder will be traveling at 30 mph. BOS operations were planned and coordinated with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and the Kansas Highway Patrol.
In the first year of The JO Xpress and BOS service (2012), ridership on the four routes increased by 12 percent compared to 2011. The JO Xpress buses traveled an estimated 1,350 miles on the shoulder in 2012 with no reported safety incidents.
Other enhancements include new and improved park and ride stations that have been completed at the following locations:
- 137th & Antioch, Overland Park (The JO Connex and Route 673)
- 151st & Antioch, Overland Park (Route 673)
- 122nd & Strang Line, Olathe (Routes 660, 661, and 672)
- Sheridan at Kenwood, Olathe (Route 661)
- Great Mall, Olathe (Routes 661, 670, and 672)
Background and Future Expansion
The JO Xpress is the result of the I-35 Fixed Guideway Corridor Alternatives Analysis (Link pdf 0.5Mb) completed in 2008. The study evaluated the feasibility of various transit alternatives on the I-35 corridor, including commuter rail, light rail, additional express bus service, high occupancy vehicle lanes, and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). After an extensive analysis and public participation process, BRT was chosen as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA).
Further study of the corridor resulted in the I-35 Fixed Guideway Phased Implementation Plan (Link pdf 1.73Mb), completed in 2009. This plan recommended the implementation of Bus on Shoulder service for the I-35 corridor, with enhanced transit stations at park and ride facilities along express routes.
JCT continues to monitor Bus On Shoulder operations in order to plan for the expansion of the BOS network. The recently-completed I-35 Corridor Optimization Plan adopted by KDOT includes recommendations to expand BOS north to the Missouri state line and south to 135th Street/Santa Fe. Link: http://www.ksdot.org/pdf_files/OptimizationPlan2013-06-26.pdf