Topeka Metro Bikes at Quincy Street Station bike rack

Topeka Metro Bikes program ends July 30, 2020

TOPEKA, KAN. (June 30, 2020) – At its June 29, 2020 board meeting, Topeka Metro board members made the decision to cease operation of the Topeka Metro Bikes (TMB) bikeshare program effective July 30, 2020. A year ago, the board approved creating a community task force to find solutions to continue the bike share program in Topeka, whether it remained with Topeka Metro or not.

Topeka Metro sought cost proposals from bike share companies for operational management and to equip the bikes with more up-to-date tracking technology at a significantly lower cost than in the past. Topeka Metro located a vendor that was willing to take over the maintenance and operations of the program, however, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a delay in moving forward, then in May, the company said they would no longer be providing bike share services for Topeka Metro.

Topeka Metro and the community task force were not able to find another viable option for Topeka Metro to continue operating the program, and subsequently, the board voted unanimously to end bike operations as of July 30, 2020.

Topeka Metro Bikes began in April 2015. Thank you again, to the TMB members and especially to Capitol Federal, who was a generous sponsor and advocate of the bikeshare program. We also thank the dedicated staff of TMB who have such a passion for bikeshare and cycling in our community.

Topeka Metro continues COVID-19 safety procedures

TOPEKA, KAN. (June 22, 2020) – At the June 19, 2020 Topeka Metro committee meeting, the board of directors voted to extended social distancing measures to help keep bus operators and passengers safe.

Topeka Metro continues to enact safety procedures followed by many transit agencies throughout the country, as well as follow health guidelines from the CDC and local health department to protect customers and employees. This includes requiring rear door entry to the fixed route buses for anyone who does not require the ramp or need the bus lowered. ADA customers can board from the front. Fares are also waived for all fixed route and paratransit buses through the month of July. This will assist with social distancing challenges that bus operators face when working closely with passengers during trips.

Topeka Metro General Manager Bob Nugent said, “Although the stay-at-home order has been removed, we want to remind people that COVID-19 is still active. To help prevent the spread of possible infection, we are asking passengers to wear masks and maintain social distancing whenever possible.”

Nugent added, “We have made every effort to provide solutions to protect the health of our employees and passengers, while continuing the mobility needs of our community. Our #1 priority is safety for all while traveling.”

Topeka Metro launches next phase of bus tracking app

TOPEKA, KAN. (May 13, 2020) — In January of this year, Topeka Metro launched a new real-time bus tracker app that allows passengers to track the location of their bus. The app and website, DoubleMap, has allowed passengers to find their bus, receive important notices, and view the buses in real-time.

The latest feature enables passengers to access arrival estimates via SMS text messaging. The phone number provided on each bus stop sign can also be called from a phone to get arrival information.  Each Topeka Metro bus stop has an assigned specific ID posted, which passengers can send to a designated DoubleMap number for an estimated time of arrival within seconds. This enhances the user experience for the bus passenger and helps reduce customer service calls at Quincy Street Station.

General Manager Robert Nugent said, “We’ve had positive feedback from those who have used the DoubleMap app and website. This latest capability will add a few more tools to allow the passenger to quickly get the information they need when taking the bus.”

The website to access Topeka Metro’s DoubleMap is http://topekametro.doublemap.com/map/. The app can be located in iTunes or Google Play under DoubleMap.

Bus passengers asked to wear face masks on bus

Topeka Metro is encouraging all bus passengers to wear a mask when riding the bus. It is not mandatory, but when in public, it helps to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Governor Laura Kelly recommended all Kansans wear face masks while out in public, saying new evidence suggests some people without COVID-19 symptoms can transmit the virus before getting sick.

Because of that, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment recommends Kansans use cloth face coverings while in public. Also attached is a link to the KDHE’s website with information about masks.

Bus operators are heroes too

TOPEKA, KAN. (April 13, 2020) With all the talk of the heroes in our community, state and country regarding healthcare workers, police, fire, and grocery store personnel braving the Coronavirus pandemic, a group that is overlooked are the public transit operators. Topeka Metro acknowledges the dedication of our bus operators coming in each day to transport those in the city who rely so heavily on public transportation. Especially during this time that we are all facing as a nation, these employees deserve recognition as well.

Topeka Metro General Manager Bob Nugent said, “In the difficult times we have been facing it is amazing to see the dedication and professionalism of our drivers and staff. To countless people in our community, they are the vital link to essentials such as food and medical services.”

Recently, Topeka Metro implemented free fares on all fixed route buses and directed those who do not need a ramp or are using a wheelchair to board at the rear entrance of the bus. This was an extra measure taken to help prevent close contact with the public and encourage social distancing on the buses.  Topeka Metro has our buses deep cleaned every evening and has provided gloves, hand sanitizer, wipes and tissues for each bus operator. Our entire staff have been practicing social distancing at Quincy Street Station and our administrative office, including our break rooms.

Topeka Metro is proud of the service we provide to our community, and we want to make sure that the bus operators receive appreciation for their part in putting themselves at risk during this pandemic.

“I ask everyone to join with me in offer thanks to these great people. They are true heroes,” said Nugent.

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COVID-19 Rules for Fixed Route Buses

  • If you feel ill or have COVID-19 symptoms, DO NOT ride the bus! Call your health care provider first or the emergency room before you travel anywhere. If you do ride the bus, you could infect others.
  • Essential trips only. Idle riding is not permitted.
  • Social distancing – please try to keep at least 6 feet in-between you and others while you are in Quincy Street Station, waiting to board the bus or if you can, while on the bus.
  • Passengers are only to be inside Quincy Street Station if they are purchasing media, using the ticket vending machine, or using the restroom.  Passengers are to maintain 6 feet distance and leave the facility after completing their business.
  • Personal hygiene – Make sure that when you cough that you cough into your elbow and not your hand. If you sneeze, please use a tissue or handkerchief. Throw away tissues as soon as you can. Please do not toss them on the bus floor.
  • Washing hands for at least 20 seconds after using the restroom, sneezing or coughing or when you have touched your face.  We realize that is not always possible to do right away, but if you have hand sanitizer or wipes, those will do until you can get to some soap and water.
  • Remember to regularly sanitize touchable surfaces such as cell phones, electronics, phones, remote controls, door knobs, counters, etc.
  • We will allow people to pick up to-go food at restaurants, however, the food must be wrapped up so as not to spill and the food may not be eaten on the bus.
  • Since Shawnee County is under a “Safer at Home” order until April 30th, trips must be for medical appointments, to obtain groceries or other essential goods. See the Shawnee County order and list of essential services at this website:   https://www.snco.us/HD/Document/media%20releases/03252020_safer_at_home_FAQ.pdf

Topeka Metro implements free fares & rear door bus boarding on all fixed route buses March 25, 2020

TOPEKA, KAN. (March 24, 2020) The Topeka Metro board held a meeting on Tuesday, March 24, to discuss COVID-19 safety precautions. After discussion, the board unanimously voted to adopt a no-fare policy as well as rear door bus entry to improve social distancing inside the buses.

These changes will begin on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 and are in effect until Thursday, April 30, 2020. This will be for all fixed route buses only.

Topeka Metro general manager Bob Nugent said, “We have worked to come up with a solution we believe will enhance the safety of the bus passenger and the bus operator. From what we know about COVID-19, fewer interactions person-to-person will help decrease the odds of virus transmission.”

Nugent went on to say that “As an essential service to this community, we feel strongly about the safety and health of our passengers and our employees. Our hope is that by taking these steps, we can get people to where they need to go and instill a sense of safety that may make them feel better.” 

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Topeka Metro’s response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

General Manager Bob Nugent and Tom Baumgartner, Safety and Security Supervisor for Topeka Metro, have issued a notice regarding how Topeka Metro is being proactive in doing all that we can to make our transit agency safe for our passengers and employees during the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Below is the letter outlining steps we are taking.  You can click on the link to view. Thank you for your attention to this.

https://topekametro.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-Letter-from-GM-PDF.pdf

 

 

Topeka Metro launches real-time bus tracker app

TOPEKA, KAN. (January 21, 2020) — Topeka Metro bus passengers can now track the location of their bus in real-time. This can be done through the Internet or by downloading an app.

The name of the system is DoubleMap, which uses global positioning (GPS) to track the location of buses in real-time. By making this information available to passengers it makes using the system easier and less confusing to use.  It also will help to cut down on phone calls to Topeka Metro’s customer service, allowing representatives to assist with other issues.

Some of the features are:

  • Choosing which routes you want to view
  • See the buses traveling in real time on a Google map
  • Locations of each bus stop
  • Save your favorite routes for easier access
  • Rider alerts such as detours and delays

General Manager Robert Nugent said, “We are excited introducing this technology to our community as it will allow for easy access to information about our service in real-time.”

Nugent said that following the DoubleMap implementation, Topeka Metro will follow up with another system that will allow passengers to get real-time information by texting a designation number.

“This is all about customer service and helping make our service more user-friendly by putting it in the hands of the passenger.  It saves time and instills passenger confidence as to when they can catch their bus.”

The Kansas Department of Transportation and the Federal Transportation Administration funded the grant for the Wi-Fi and DoubleMap app project.

The website to access Topeka Metro’s DoubleMap is http://topekametro.doublemap.com/map/. The app can be located in iTunes or Google Play under DoubleMap.

 

Topeka Metro now has Wi-Fi on fixed route buses

TOPEKA, KAN. (December 20, 2019) – Bus passengers are now able to surf, post, and tweet while they ride the bus. Topeka Metro recently introduced free Wi-Fi throughout its fleet of 26 fixed-route buses.

Topeka Metro is implementing Wi-Fi to improve the onboard experience for passengers as well as to pave the way for major technology enhancements.  Additional technology upgrades will arrive in the first quarter of 2020. First, a smartphone app and online map that show real-time bus locations, routes, and stops will be launched. Wi-Fi on the bus allows passengers to access this information as they ride.

The second onboard technology project is Topeka Metro’s automatic interactive-response phone and text system that allows passengers to call or text a phone number to find out when their bus will be arriving at a given bus stop.

General Manager Robert Nugent said, “Free public Wi-Fi and ‘where’s my bus?’ technology are among the most often requested improvements to our service. We’re confident these will significantly improve the experience for our existing passengers, and we hope it will also help attract those who have not tried us out yet.”

These technology projects are funded by a grant received from The Kansas Department of Transportation and the Federal Transportation Administration. Topeka Metro is working with DoubleMap, a provider of  innovative intelligent transportation system (ITS) for public transit and university systems. Keep watching for the rollout of our latest technology updates in 2020!

For route and schedule information, call (785) 783-7000 or visit www.topekametro.org