Two Kansas City entrepreneurs are nearing the launch of the city-subsidized Kansas City Strip, a trolley system that will connect several bar and restaurant-heavy neighborhoods along an 11-mile route and allow bar-hoppers to jump on and off the trolley for a nightly fee of $15 or a monthly fee of $35. The public opening is set for April 10.
Bill George, who is a Kansas City transportation mogul with airport shuttles and a taxi company, joined forces with Bill Nigro, a former nightclub owner, and they decided the trolley system was such a great opportunity that it was worth the gamble. These two entrepreneurs believe the timing has never been better for a project like this. “Whatever we can do to get more people out to Kansas City, to experience the nightlife and the different neighborhoods, that’s critical to the overall health of Kansas City,” George told the Kansas City Star last week. For Nigro, the Kansas City Strip will remove the two main reasons people don’t travel around for nightlife in the City of Fountains: crime and DUI checkpoints. “We’re going to solve those issues,” he added.
The project got off the ground last year after receiving $100,000 in tax dollars from the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund and an additional $295,000 from the City Council; of that amount, $95,000 is a grant and the remainder is a secure loan that must be paid back over five years. After securing the funds, the pair looked around the country for models to replicate but couldn’t find anything similar to what they were looking to do. “No one is really doing it on the nightlife segment that I’m aware of, like we are,” George told the Star.
George and Nigro plan to offer trolley service from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and they are supplementing five trolleys with five mini-buses to ensure customers see a vehicle every seven to 10 minutes. “This isn’t about getting drunk,” Nigro told the Star. “This is about experiencing Kansas City’s food and drink from some of the oldest to some of the newest of what we have in this town.”