Humble beginnings characterize the birth of our system. KCTS started in March of 1975. “Dial a Ride” operated on a limited schedule until 2017. At that time the transit agency had one bus and one driver and provided nearly 7,000 rides inside Kimball County.
KCTS saw the creation of the first regional transportation option by going out of the county to the nearest activity centers of Scottsbluff and Sidney. At this time, KCTS also started taking non-emergency medical transportation/Medicaid riders, improving access to specialty medical services and assisting people who had been taken by ambulance to larger hospitals get home.
The following year, KCTS developed a groundbreaking plan to expand services across state lines to Cheyenne, WY and Fort Collins, Loveland and Denver, CO. The expansion also included transit services to the Nebraska counties of Deuel, Keith and Lincoln. Kimball County has been an important partner in assisting Deuel County maintain existing public transit service in their county, by contracting with the County to manage and provide staff for the service. The coordination and expanded service area connected residents and visitors to critical services.
The vision for a new transit facility led to the purchase and complete renovation of a historic building in downtown Kimball despite COVID. The project attracted one million dollars in federal funding to the community. In addition to the new facility and expansion of services, new dispatch/scheduling software was implemented to bring improved efficiency and accuracy.
The growth of transit in the Panhandle region shows no signs of slowing down. The agency implemented a new intercity route providing airport service covering over 200 miles to Denver International Airport and Western Nebraska Regional Airport. KCTS will also begin the addition of regional routes to give greater access to villages and between rural activity centers. A new micro-transit checkpoint service is being planned to account for local population growth.
KCTS ridership continues to grow with the increase in transit services and with the new economic activity in the Panhandle region. The KCTS vision is to be a transit resource for all residents and visitors, including children, elderly, employers, disabled, those training for jobs, or for those needing to travel, or need better access to medical services or groceries.