Building a Better System
More frequent service. Faster travel times. Enhanced amenities. These are some of the suggestions customers have shared as part of a Comprehensive Operations Analysis (COA) of the agency's bus operations.
The COA is a complete rethinking of DART's bus service. The agency has held numerous sessions to solicit public input and conducted extensive field-level analysis to better appreciate the customer's experience with the system.
DART knows the riders' perspective is critical to optimizing service levels. The study has given planners a greater understanding of the service environment by identifying passenger facility limitations and assessing accessibility.
Recommendations from the COA effort will be documented in the Moving You Forward 10-Year Service Plan. This plan will guide potential service change opportunities through the year 2025.
"Bus service is the backbone of any transit system," said Rob Smith, DART's assistant vice president of planning and development. "The agency is committed to meeting the needs of existing riders, and to better attract prospective ones."
According to Smith, the agency already has identified some key bus corridor improvements that will enhance the entire DART System. He pointed out that the hub-and-spoke design has served as a good foundation, but not everyone needs to go downtown.
"We've heard loud and clear from the public that many of our routes are too indirect," Smith said. "Most of the proposed routes are going to run straight north-south or east-west, making the bus system more convenient and much easier to use. It's what our customers are asking for."
Bus service changes will be implemented incrementally, but the broad strokes already are taking shape in DART's planning department. Short-term improvements, occurring in the next five years, may include more frequent service and better weekend service on high-volume routes. Next will come proposing new routes to augment or replace existing ones.
One objective is to provide better connections between Uptown and Downtown Dallas, and to surrounding neighborhoods in the city center.
"There is a demand for a one-seat ride between Uptown and other major corridors, such as Jefferson and Gaston avenues," Smith said. "We're looking at the best ways to accomplish that."
The Moving You Forward 10-Year Service Plan is the first phase of updating the Transit System Plan to the year 2040. During the second phase, DART will evaluate longer-term projects and programs that will address current and future regional mobility needs, including major service changes, asset replacement, capital expansion and state-of-good-repair projects, as well as how the agency will finance each. The 2040 Plan must be approved by the DART Board of Directors. Board action is scheduled for later this year.
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