Kansas City Airport Trains (MCI)
Kansas City International Airport is located approximately 15 miles from central Kansas City, and is regarded as quite a large airport in the United States of America, as its passenger traffic exceeds ten million each year. Although its IATA code may be more appropriate as KCI, it is officially recognised as MCI, due to its former name of the Mid-Continent International Airport. This American airport is modern and efficient, and has all the facilities required by its passengers. There are also several forms of ground transportation available, however, currently no direct Kansas City International Airport trains run between the airport grounds and the city.
The airport of Kansas City is located in the state of Missouri, and to the northwest of the central city area. It consists of three runways and three terminal buildings, which are referred to as A, B and C. Currently there is no central terminal building at the airport (each terminal contains its own check-in facilities, baggage reclaim areas and departure gates), however, there are major plans to improve the layout of the airport, and to expand its facilities. In later years the airport may consist of just one large and central terminal building. Terminal A may be modified accordingly, while Terminal B is to be demolished. Terminal C will then become an office building. In the meantime, passengers will go the terminal that is used by their airline company, and will check-in for their departure flight. Arriving passengers will collect their luggage and make their way out to the ground transportation area, which currently has buses and taxis available. There is no train station at this airport.
Kansas City at the present time also does not feature any light rail systems. In the past several proposals have been made to implement trains in the city, however, they have all been defeated by voters. The proposed plan would be to fund a light rail line from Vivion Road and North Oak Trafficway to Bruce R. Watkins Roadway and 63rd Street, and the line would cross into Cass County, Jackson County, Clay County and over the Missouri River. These areas include the most concentrated employment and residential areas, as well as many of the city’s/region’s important institutional and cultural attractions. It would have been about a fourteen mile transit corridor.
Since that the initial proposal for light rail was declined, an alternative option needed to be brought into consideration. The North/South Corridor is another option, running from Vivion Road in the Northland to Meyer Boulevard in the south, and this line would also pass many significant areas of the region. Phase II of the Alternative Analysis is currently being completed by the KCATA. Perhaps if light rail does come to Kansas City, it will also include a line to the Kansas City International Airport, which will provide a very convenient form of transport for passengers.
Although travel by train in America is not as popular as what it was in the early twentieth century, Amtrak still runs several intercity routes between the major cities of the country. The Kansas City Union Station was built in 1914, and was then the third largest train station in the United States. On October 30 of this year the ticket counters opened and the first trains began to run in and out of the station. The station was extremely popular for many years, however, by 1950 the demand for railway transport began to decline. The Kansas City station became more of a ‘white elephant’, too big for its operations, and was difficult to maintain. The station building therefore began to deteriorate. However, in 1972 it was listed on the Register of Historic Places, and in 1996 plans for the station’s improvements and restorations were approved.
Although there may be a hope of a new light rail system in Kansas City, and perhaps a line to the Kansas City International Airport, passengers must for now rely upon the public or private bus services that are offered to and from the terminal buildings. The public bus route 129x operates about twenty-five times a day, between 06:00 in the morning and night, and travels to the downtown bus centre from where further bus connections are available. The bus stop at the airport is located at Terminal C. Passengers who have arrived at another terminal can take the red inter-terminal shuttles to the public bus stop at Terminal C. A trip on the public bus will cost just $1.50. Alternatively, private shuttle services can be arranged from companies such as AERO Shuttle Express, Elite Shuttle of Kansas City, Quicksilver Airport Service and Best Express Shuttle, or taxis are available outside of the terminal buildings.
Further details regarding any form of ground transportation at Kansas City International Airport is available from the airport volunteers, dressed in red-brick blazers, or passengers can call the airport information centre at 816-243-5237.