This is me excited to ride the Kansas City streetcar today.
Can’t you tell by my nifty T-shirt? I won that T-shirt last year in a twitter contest where I tweeted in 140 characters or less why I was so excited to ride the Kansas City streetcar.
Today I wore my special t-shirt downtown to ride the streetcar on the 2nd day of operation. I wanted everyone to know that I fully supported this new investment in downtown Kansas City.
I arrived with my family around 1:30 pm and the River Market was buzzing like I had never seen on a Saturday. Parking was hard to find and since I work in the area, I was able to snag a company parking spot.
We walked three blocks over to where the action was, ate a great meal at Cascone’s Grill and jumped right on the new streetcar at the stop directly outside of the restaurant.
The plan was to take the streetcar to the Crossroads area – jump off to check out the new restaurants and shops and hop back on to Union Station where I heard there was a carnival taking place.
The cars were packed with people. Even with the air conditioning blasting at full blast – the 90 degree air outside made it hard to keep cool inside with so many people. At every stop, more people tried to jam themselves on the cars. (Shout out to the annoying woman who decided it would be a great idea to bring a bike on board with 200 of her closest friends.)
By the time we made it to the Crossroads District, my daughter wasn’t feel well. It was clear we we were going to have to abandon our plans and head back to our car and call it a day. We quickly crossed the street and were able to jump on another streetcar headed back down towards the River Market.
The streetcar was humming along the route when we were right before the North Loop stop at 7th and Main.
Then we sat…
When you have a child who doesn’t feel well, it seemed like forever, but probably we sat for 10 minutes. People started pushing the button to open the doors and left the cars. The driver made an announcement,
“The streetcar in front of us has broken down. We are waiting for the car to be removed so we can continue.”
All of the doors towards the right side of the car suddenly opened and then a police officer came jumped on board. He told us that the car had a door problem and that we all needed to get off the car. He mentioned something about buses coming, but no real details were given.
People left the streetcar.
Some took pictures with the broken down streetcar.
Some had the officer take their picture with the broken down streetcar.
I went up to the employee working on the platform and asked what we should do? When were the buses coming? When I realized he had no idea what we should do, I recorded this video.
We waited and no buses came. I looked around to flag down a cab. And then I snapped back into reality and remembered we lived in Kansas City. No cabs were coming.
I looked across the highway at the River Market and realized I parked about as far on the other side of the River Market as you could get. My poor child wasn’t feeling well so I went back to look for the officer to see if he could provide some assistance. In what seemed like an instant – the officers were all gone. They left us all to figure it out on our own.
So we all started walking across the highway to the River Market.
My family made it back to the car – exhausted and with a story to tell.
Now here is the rant part starts so hold on and buckle in….
I get that there are going to be issues with the streetcar. I don’t have it built up to be some sort of ride at Disneyland. It’s public transportation – and public transportation can have serious problems (see recent Metro fire in DC) – but it’s DAY 2! I don’t work for the streetcar, but at this point you can consider me a free consultant….
- Have a back up plan more complex than just WALKING!
- Communicate that back up plan to all employees! ALL EMPLOYEES! Even the guy standing on the platform!!! That is why everyone has cell phones. No one should be unaware of what is happening in 2016! The same message should be delivered by all employees to concerned passengers.
- See #1.
- This city and your route are NOT THAT BIG – activate your back up plan within 5-10 minutes and then communicate that to people!
- I love that the police were in on picture taking part of this mishap, but stick around long enough next time to see, if after the novelty wears off, if people actually need help.
- If I wasn’t clear enough – see #1.
Ultimately, time will tell if this streetcar will be a success in this town. Day 2 has me wondering, but I will ride it again and give it another chance. I will just be sure my Uber app is ready to go as my backup plan and not depend on the city to have my or my family’s back.