Less than a year after the Denton County Transportation Authority began offering demand-response service in Frisco, the transit service and Frisco officials are considering expanding service into Plano.
DCTA began offering services in Frisco on Dec. 1, 2015, for the elderly, disabled and those who need transportation for medical services.
DCTA buses in Frisco are running at capacity, and many riders are asking for transportation into Plano for medical visits, DCTA President Jim Cline said.
“The service is driven by seniors and disabled folks and people that need to go on medical trips,” Cline said. “… People have doctors in different places.”
DCTA ridership in Frisco started at 191 riders in December and peaked at 410 riders in March, a growth of nearly 115 percent. In June, 326 riders used DCTA’s demand-response service.
Frisco City Council may consider expanding DCTA’s contract during a meeting in August to include rides into Plano. If Council votes to expand the contract, the changes could take effect immediately and would not have to wait for when the current contract expires, said Paul Knippel, Frisco director of public works and engineering services.
“From what I understand, [DCTA] is having to turn riders away right now for folks requesting a ride into Plano,” he said. “All of that comes with a cost, and all of that has to be evaluated against the benefits.”
The demand-response service in Frisco currently offers rides into McKinney and Allen. If DCTA began offering rides into Plano, it could involve adding a third bus with the same service schedule that is currently available, which is 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, Cline said.
The extra bus would allow the service to have the same schedule while accommodating for the additional time it takes to travel to Plano, Cline said.
Some stops being considered within Plano include Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Plano Cancer Institute and The Medical Center of Plano.
“We want to be responsive to the city of Frisco,” Cline said. “Based on the feedback we’ve gotten in public meetings and from individual calls from folks who come in and try to schedule trips into Plano, this is a logical progression of where we are.”
As the city and DCTA look to expand the contract, Cline said other cities have expressed interest in DCTA to provide transit services.
“This is an interesting time for DCTA,” he said. “In a time where in many parts of the country they’re losing ridership, it’s actually really encouraging as we look to expand our services in our member cities.”