This morning I mentioned in Leading Off that I think DART could help its bus ridership numbers (which have dropped) if it overhauled its bus model. Well, look-y here: it’s a new bus design that DART plans to roll out. New benefits include: better A/C and composite flooring, which promisses a smoother ride.
Righto, great, great. But this is what I’m excited about: check out those new, sexy wheelchair ramps! I know. Very exciting. Why? Well, the current way people with wheelchairs, walkers, children’s strollers, etc. get on and off the bus is by riding the lift, which moans and groans and takes about three to five minutes to get one person on or off the bus. I ride the Bus 11 up and down Jefferson Blvd. There are a lot of clinics near Jeff and many mothers with young children who ride that route. On most days, we stop at nearly every corner for a wheelchair or stroller. Often, more than one person needs to use the lift at each stop. It makes the ride nothing short ofÂ torturous.
So, the new bus should help somewhat. Next up for making buses better: designated lanes marked-off with curbs, built-out bus stops that allow for wheelchair boarding without the use of a ramp (which will be easier now that the newÂ busesÂ have lower flooring), and lots of street paint and signage to make finding and learning the bus system close to as intuitive as streetcar systems tend to be. Because I think streetcars are swell, but the point of the project is to have better public transit for all, not a great streetcar line for a few.