Would you be more likely to take a city bus if you could schedule it on your phone? That’s the thinking behind a new public-private transit partnership in Kansas City, Mo.

Launched in March as a one-year pilot, the service known by the mouthful moniker Ride KC: Bridj allows Kansas Citians to request pickups from vans that offer more flexible stops than traditional bus routes. The average ride costs only $1.50, the standard city bus fare.

The collaboration between the Kansas City Area...


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