Walmart decision scrambles bus routes

Mike Genet

The bus stop at the Blue Ridge Crossing Walmart is going away in 2022, but transit officials say service to the area won't be diminished. 

The Kansas City Area Transit Authority posted this week that starting Jan. 2, RideKC buses will no longer serve the stop near U.S. 40, Interstate 70 and Blue Ridge Boulevard, as Walmart is “terminating access to the bus stops adjacent to the shopping center.”  

RideKC will adjust several routes to nearby stops, the transit agency said. 

Among the six affected routes are the 570 Blue Express, which stops near Walmart on the way to and from downtown Kansas City, and the IndeBus 302 Blue, which runs from the Independence transit center down Crysler and Sterling avenues. 

Walmart told KCATA in late September that the lease would be terminated, Petrina Parker, KCATA spokesperson said via email, though the retail giant did not give a reason. 

A spokesperson for Walmart told The Examiner that the bus stop area had become a safety concern, due to littering, loitering and crime. 

KCATA said it will add stops on 43rd Street at Carlisle Avenue (directly behind Walmart) and at Blue Ridge Boulevard, in addition to the existing stop on 43rd at Sterling Avenue.  

RideKC also has bus stops on Blue Ridge just south of 43rd Street, and at the triangle of U.S. 40, 43rd Street and Crysler Avenue. 

“Customers still have access to Blue Ridge Crossing and all of the shopping center amenities,” Parker said. “They will simply catch the bus at one of the three nearby stops. Service to this area is not being reduced as part of this change.” 

The change comes a few years after KCATA moved its bus stop to the Walmart parking lot from a commuter lot in between U.S. 40, I-70 and Blue Ridge Boulevard. That lot, which is owned by the Missouri Department of Transportation and generally is not used, could become the site of a new Blue Ridge ramp to I-70, depending which bridge replacement design MoDOT chooses next year for Blue Ridge.