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Kansas City Airport Officials Imagine Disney World-Style Transportation Around The New Terminal

Lisa Rodriguez
KCUR 89.3
Airport officials at KCI are looking into getting rid of the buses that shuttle people from the economy lot to the terminal, but any change is years away.

As construction continues on a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport, aviation officials are considering different ways to make the trip from the parking lot to the terminal more efficient.

As part of an agreement with the rental car companies, the department is considering an automated people mover, or APM, that would run on a fixed schedule.

“You can do the Disney World-type thing or something that’s like down at the Orlando airport," said David Long, deputy director of aviation. "Is it on rails? Is it wheels? Is it an automated system or is it a drivable system?" 

Long said the aviation department is launching a study to understand if it’s financially feasible and exactly what a “people mover” would look like.   

Long said as part of the plan, the economy lot would be moved closer to where the new single terminal will be. Also, a new system would not make multiple stops like the busses do. 

“The real thing is the APM would actually have one stop, where everybody would go to that one spot," said Long.

That could prevent frustration for some Kansas City travelers.

Jen and Liz Smith found themselves watching a shuttle bus drive past on a Friday afternoon this holiday season. Jen was at the stop while Liz was busy parking the car. 

“Right when we got here, the buses came, but I was the only one here," Jen said.  

Still, any changes to the current system are years away. Airport officials are currently in the process of selecting a company to study the cost of building and operating an APM, which will have to be approved by the city council next year.

The study could also find that the current system is the best option at KCI. 

“Whether or not we go with the APM system or we don’t I think this overall process gives us an opportunity to sit back and say, ‘What are we doing right and what can we do better,’” Long said.   

Long said he would love a new system to be completed by the opening of a new single terminal in 2023, but he acknowledges that may be overly optimistic. 

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @larodrig. 

Slow news days are a thing of the past. As KCUR’s news director, I want to cut through the noise, provide context to the headlines, and give you news you can use in your daily life – information that will empower you to make informed decisions about your neighborhood, your city and the region. Email me at lisa@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @larodrig.
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