Dallas Area Rapid Transit launched a new bus network today. It’s the biggest change to service the transit agency has made in decades, as I’ve written about before.
Bus riders, mount up.
It’s. Time. To. Get. Totally. Amped.
Just look at those dancing bus riders. Can you feel it?
Now that we’re well and truly amped—just completely geeked out, rip-roaring pumped—off of that snappy promotional video, here’s what you should know about the new bus network:
- It features fewer—but longer and more direct—routes. That’s what riders have told DART they want, and trial runs have seen increases in ridership and efficiency based on that model.
- That does mean riders may face longer walks to their bus stops, which could be an issue in a region where, historically, walking has been about as inconvenient as taking DART. (This new bus network should help change that.)
- It also means new bus stops and new routes. Change can be confusing. While the new map looks more elegant and decipherable than maps of the old network, riders may want to get newly familiar with their bus routes on DART’s GoPass app or online here. Google Maps also reflects the new routes.
- It also also means that some areas, particularly in the suburbs, will have fewer bus routes. To mind that particular gap, DART has expanded its GoLink zones, in which riders can dial up an Uber-like shuttle service to give them a ride.
- Everybody rides for free this week. To coincide with the launch, DART is not checking tickets through Sunday. Through Valentine’s Day, fares are half-off for anybody using “contactless” payment.
This is the first day of the rest of DART’s life, and could bode well for what’s ahead. Free rides for a week could—likely—turn into free rides for Dallas area students on a more permanent basis. Free rides for everyone forever—much less likely, but it’s fun to float this balloon—could maybe someday eventually be sort of vaguely considered, who knows? More funding for even more frequent routes could and probably should be on the horizon as well.
Today is a big deal for DART, with the potential for much bigger deals ahead. It’s a good week to ride the bus.
Let’s watch that video again, in Spanish this time.