DART News Release
Media Relations Contact:
December 7, 1999
Officials pleased with 6.5% gain
DART Ridership Grows for Third Consecutive Year
For the third year in a row, DART's total ridership grew, with fiscal year 1999 passenger trips reaching 91.2 million.
"It's especially gratifying to see 6.5 percent more riders in Fiscal Year 1999 -- that's 5.5 million more passenger trips and a real testament to the growing popularity of public transit," said DART President/Executive Director Roger Snoble.
FY 1999 DART Ridership Up 6.5%
"In 1999, we focused on identifying what our customers wanted and giving it to them," Snoble added. "For example, we added Blue Line light rail service from downtown to Mockingbird Station to ease crowding on our northbound rail lines."
Opening the Addison Transit Center was another essential component of the agency's bus service improvement program. The new transit center is located between Quorum Drive and Addison Road, just off Addison Circle. It was one of the first major projects to open during DART's five-year expansion program and it replaced the Prestonwood Transfer Point and the Loos Stadium Park and Ride. The transit center, with parking for 205 cars, features a climate-controlled waiting area with seating, restrooms, telephones, vending machines, drinking fountains and news racks.
"For our rail customers, we have worked hard to leverage the success of light rail into ridership gains across the board, and we're looking forward to more ridership gains as our expansion and upgrades continue in rail, bus and HOV lanes," Snoble said.
DART has begun major rail expansion projects on both the Red Line to Plano and the Blue Line to Garland. The Red Line is expected to reach Richardson in 2002 and Plano in 2003, while the Blue Line is expected to reach White Rock Lake in 2001 and Garland in 2002.
Bus ridership positioned for continued growth
While overall bus ridership was up in FY 1999, bus ridership declined in Farmers Branch and Rowlett. DART already is taking steps to reverse those trends as well as increase ridership in Carrollton. In June, DART restructured routes in Carrollton and Farmers Branch. Officials note changes to the 44 and 322 routes in Farmers Branch and the introduction of new routes in Carrollton along Trinity Mills and Frankford, the 333 and 344, are already generating more riders.
DART officials said bus route detours and schedule changes to accommodate construction on State Highway 66 and Dalrock road were the primary causes for ridership losses in Rowlett. However, the completion of the highway work and the opening of the new Rowlett Transit Center in spring 2000 should lead to ridership gains.
DART FY 1999 Bus Ridership Systemwide
HOV usage nets greatest gains
"The gains in HOV lane usage continue to be a high point at DART," Snoble said. "With 3.4 million more passengers in 1999, HOV lanes have clearly demonstrated their viability and will continue to be a significant part of our multi-modal strategy." DART and the Texas Department of Transportation are adding 11 miles of new HOV lanes from downtown Dallas south on Interstate 35 and U.S. 67 to Interstate 20. Scheduled to open in 2001, the lanes are expected to save commuters about 15 minutes daily.
Other new HOV projects in the planning stages include the I-30 Ferguson Road HOV ramp and the Stemmons HOV ramp that will connect to the North Carrollton Transit Center. Construction on both projects is scheduled to begin in 2000.
Non-fixed route services improve
DART vanpool usage grew nearly 88 percent in 1999, from 161,700 passenger trips to more than 303,000. Employees drive and ride in DART-provided vans. The service provides transportation for employees who work late shifts or in areas where bus and rail service are not as accessible.
DART more accessible than ever
More mobility impaired customers of DART Paratransit made the move to regular bus and rail services in the past year. "We've taken extra steps to expand the accessibility of our bus and rail system," said Snoble. "We've added hundreds more wheelchair-accessible bus routes and our automated telephone system for scheduling trips. At the same time, we're providing more and better travel training to help customers with disabilities use regular transit services."
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