Wichita will pay to learn what community wants from bus system

Wichita transit officials will contract with a firm to conduct surveys and outreach to learn more about what Wichitans want from the city bus system.

Wichita City Council members approved an $87,000 contract with Olsson Associates on Tuesday.

The city paid for 20 percent of the contract. Federal grants picked up the rest.

The move comes as the transit system faces deficits and is considering raising fares and eliminating Saturday service.

But transit officials say previous surveys indicate people want better service, and a University of Kansas report recommended more routes and extended hours.

Depending on public input, the city may consider a voter referendum to use a small portion of sales tax money to help improve the bus system.

The report will probably come out in December.