Independence’s newest shuttle service took exactly 25 minutes round trip on its fixed route Tuesday morning, just as promised.

Independence’s newest shuttle service took exactly 25 minutes round trip on its fixed route Tuesday morning, just as promised.

But come Friday, dubbed one of the busiest shopping days of the year, it’ll be anybody’s guess as the shuttle competes with shoppers in their vehicles, on a mission.

The city of Independence offered its elected officials and staff members a sneak peak at the new Inde*bus, a small shuttle that will provide transportation for those shopping this holiday season. The Examiner has broken down the service step-by-step to help residents determine their needs and whether to save a fuss by choosing Inde*bus:

Step 1: Think about your shopping needs on Black Friday and the Saturdays that precede Dec. 25. Do you plan to shop with family members and friends? Does bumper-to-bumper traffic make you nervous while driving? Do you want to relax, let someone else do the driving and not have to worry about finding a parking space? If you answered “yes” to even one of these questions, Inde*bus is probably your best option. After all, your tax dollars did fund the service.

Who: Area residents and those who find themselves accessing Independence’s busiest retail corridors on 39th Street and Jackson Drive

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Dec. 5, 12 and 19

But wait. I start my holiday shopping at 5 a.m. on Black Friday. Why isn’t Inde*bus available until 10 a.m.?

“Usually, those 5 a.m. shoppers are on a mission,” said Vernon Meckel, mall manager at the Independence Center. “They go to this store, to that store, so they want to get in and out as fast as they can.”

Inde*bus will run every 20 to 30 minutes on its two routes, so for those who prefer to sleep in a bit and shop later, there’s no need to rush.

Step 2: Access the Independence Events Center’s south parking lot at 19100 E. Valley View Parkway. While traveling eastbound on Interstate 70, take the Little Blue Parkway exit and immediately go right at the stoplight. Travel behind Independence’s “restaurant row” to access the events center’s parking lot with 400 to 500 spaces available.

Step 3: Choose which shops you would like to access in your Black Friday shopping experience. The Independence Center HotShot will provide direct service to and from Independence’s indoor shopping mall.

For more walking-intensive, outdoor shopping experiences, choose the fixed route that includes 10 stops in a loop along Hartman Heritage (World Market, Beauty Brands, Dress Barn and K&G Superstore); Independence Commons (Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Marshalls and Kohl’s); and Bolger Square (JCPenney, Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods).  

Be aware that the Inde*bus will remain within the normal traffic flow and will not access a separate bus lane. The city developed the Inde*bus route on back streets like 37th Street to avoid 39th Street congestion, City Manager Robert Heacock said.

Cost: None – well, you won’t be responsible for paying $5 for a taxi service, essentially. The Independence Events Center’s Community Improvement District is already funding the $28,600 service with the Kansas City Transportation Group.