Dallas Area Rapid Transit plans to continue operating the Collin County Rides program for an additional four months after Oct. 1 when services were initially slated to expire.

The gist

DART’s board of directors approved a resolution to execute agreements with Allen, Fairview and Wylie for extending the program during an Aug. 22 meeting. Under the agreements, DART will provide services through January before the Denton County Transportation Authority is expected to take over the program.

The extension will be funded by the three municipalities receiving service, according to a staff presentation.

How we got here

Staff from DART, DCTA and North Central Texas Council of Governments have been working since July to ensure service continuation.

On July 13, the Regional Transportation Council approved up to $1.8 million for DCTA to continue the program in Allen and Fairview. Wylie is evaluating different transit options and was not included in the DCTA’s program proposal.

The DCTA board of directors discussed next steps for assuming control of the program during a July 27 meeting. DCTA’s program proposal plans up to three years of service in Allen and Fairview, which is estimated to cost $1.6 million.

During the meeting, DCTA CEO Paul Cristina said the agency could assume control of the service no later than Feb. 1.

“When this first came up, the message was, ‘Hey this’ll go very quickly; all these pieces are in place,’” Cristina said. “The dominoes will just start to fall, and we’re looking at an Oct. 1 start date. As we start to have these conversations we say, ‘This is a little more complex than we were thinking.’”

By the numbers

The Collin County Rides program is available for seniors age 65 and older or those with a qualifying disability, according to DART’s website. In order to qualify for the program, they must be a permanent resident of Allen, Fairview or Wylie.

Under the program, users can travel anywhere within Collin County as long as the origin or destination of the trip is within their resident city.

More than 400 users were registered with the program as of April.