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Putting all the Pieces in PlaceCapital expansion adds infrastructure
DART's build-out comes at an opportune time for the local economy. During the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, it's putting people to work and pumping revenue into area businesses. And the slowing in the construction sector has translated into beneficial pricing for the design and building of major capital projects.
Prime Time for Growth
"For transit agencies with money to spend, this is the time to invest in infrastructure," says DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas.
Through a combination of shrewd longterm planning and good fortune, DART is doing just that – and on a grand, even spectacular, scale.
Making the Bus Connection
While DART's long-term vision involves expanding the rail network, this multimodal agency knows more than rail is needed to meet the transit demands of this sprawling, congested region. And while 244,000 jobs in the service area are within walking distance of a rail station, DART can serve four times as many by persuading commuters to take a bus to connect to and from rail.
By the end of this year, the agency will put into service the first of a new fleet of safer and more efficient buses. They will feature accessible low-floors, quick-deploying ramps, clean-burning compressed-natural-gas (CNG) engines and security camera systems. There will be 452 new large (30- and 40-foot) buses on high ridership routes, and 123 smaller (26-foot) buses on other fixed and Flex routes. The full fleet conversion will be complete in 2015.
"For transit agencies with money to spend, this is the time to invest in infrastructure."
- Gary Thomas
DART President/Executive Director
Attracting New Ridership
With the ongoing light rail expansion, the DART System grows physically bigger and reaches a broader population base. Major employment centers – like the downtown Dallas Central Business District and various medical districts – have easy access to DART service and thus are prime marketing targets to encourage ridership and drive Employer Pass sales.
And with the Green Line open, light rail ridership is growing again. DART’s iconic yellow trains have caught the attention of a new audience of citizens who are now trying public transit for work commutes and entertainment trips.
"The long-term expectations are positive for the transit industry and every indicator shows that Americans want more public transportation, not less," says Michael Melaniphy, president/CEO of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the international organization for the bus, rapid transit, and light and commuter rail systems industry.
All these factors keep DART bullish on its role in improving mobility and being catalyst for economic development now and in the future.
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