Research results: KC streetcar is a win for Downtown businesses

Ninety-seven percent of survey respondents credit the streetcar with having a positive impact on their retail business

According to a recent survey of small businesses located on the KC streetcar route, business is good and many are seeing an uptick in both revenue numbers and foot traffic.

In a unique partnership, the City of Kansas City’s Biz Care Office, the Downtown Council and the Streetcar Authority conducted a survey of retail businesses located directly on the streetcar route. This survey was performed during the fall of 2016 and includes data from May through September 2016.  Forty-one small businesses participated in the survey with a sampling from each district along the streetcar route. Businesses ranged from restaurants, retail shops, bars & pubs, and coffee shops.

“Much attention has been paid to new development along the streetcar route,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.  “This was an effort to better understand the impact of streetcar operations on existing businesses, many who have been with us since before construction.”

“The City is committed to working with Downtown businesses to make the most of this important investment,” said John Pajor, City of Kansas City, Mo.

Of those businesses that participated in the survey, 97 percent credited the streetcar with having a positive impact on their business and 80 percent have experienced a positive change in revenue. This revenue percentage aligns with the 83 percent of participants that expressed a positive change in foot traffic.

“We are excited about the benefits the streetcar is bringing to Downtown businesses and look forward to what the future holds,” said Mike Hurd, Director of Marketing of the Downtown Council.

In addition to seven multiple choice questions, there were two questions asked that allowed businesses to elaborate on what streetcar related improvements they’d like to see that would benefit their business.  Of the 26 that responded, nine expressed interest in expanding the streetcar line and six expressed interest in either additional parking or a park & ride lot for transit users.

The KC Streetcar opened to the public on May 6, 2016.  In 2016, the streetcar logged nearly 1.4 million trips with a daily average of 5,830.