DART board hones in on hybrid concept for ridership redesign as vote is delayed to November

About 55% of DART’s bus service currently focuses on high-ridership routes, while the rest is used to provide coverage, according to Mark Nelson, director of transportation for the city of Richardson. (Courtesy DART)
About 55% of DART’s bus service currently focuses on high-ridership routes, while the rest is used to provide coverage, according to Mark Nelson, director of transportation for the city of Richardson. (Courtesy DART)

About 55% of DART’s bus service currently focuses on high-ridership routes, while the rest is used to provide coverage, according to Mark Nelson, director of transportation for the city of Richardson. (Courtesy DART)

Richardson and Plano would likely see little to no impact in coverage should Dallas Area Rapid Transit board members choose the hybrid approach for DART's bus redesign.

Coverage maps presented at an Oct. 20 meeting of the DART board, which featured a hybrid balance of a 75% focus on high-ridership routes and a 25% focus on providing coverage, showed no changes in coverage for Plano or Richardson. Oak Cliff and surrounding areas showed the largest changes in coverage based on this concept.

These planned routes for DARTzoom may change slightly in order to reach the ridership and coverage ratio desired within the range of the hybrid model, which allows for 70%-75% ridership and 25%-30% coverage, according to Rob Smith, DART's assistant vice president of planning and development. Adjustments to reach preferred ratios could include adding the frequency of parallel routes to help boost those with lower frequency, he said.

“There’s more than one way to achieve this end result, so there is some flexibility here,” Smith said.

Despite some requests to see detailed maps at each percentage point within the hybrid option’s range, Todd Plesko, vice president of service planning, encouraged board members to first direct staff as to which range they prefer for the initial concept of the redesign. Determining how much ridership might change at that level of detail is extremely difficult without knowing where high-frequency routes will be located, Smith said.


“We’ll be able to isolate that better once we’ve actually developed a full network [for which] we know the level of service on each individual route, and it is hard right now for us to pinpoint that exactly,” Smith said.

By approving a concept and percentage range, staff can begin designing with the flexibility to adjust as designs are presented to cities and the public, Plesko said. There will be opportunities for the board to adjust the final ratio later in the process, he said.

About 55% of DART’s bus service currently focuses on high-ridership routes, while the rest is used to provide coverage, Richardson Transportation Director Mark Nelson told the board at an earlier meeting.

The hybrid approach would provide roughly 73% of residents with transportation within a half-mile of their homes, and 25%-30% of routes would operate at a frequency of every 20 minutes or better—an increase from the current concept and a middle ground among the five concepts presented to the board, according to Plesko.

A vote on the ridership design concept was delayed to the board’s next meeting, Nov. 10. The board is expected to vote on the initial concept by a simple majority vote, but will also be briefed on the requirements for a supermajority vote during a redesign process at the same meeting, according to Chairman Paul Wageman.

Wageman previously weighed in on the option of a two-thirds vote during the planning process; he said the board must be uniform in its decisions as early in the redesign as possible.

Following a vote for the concept of the redesign, staff will prepare and present a draft for the bus network plan in January, at which time a public hearing would be called following any needed modifications.
By Liesbeth Powers
Liesbeth graduated from Baylor University with a degree in new media journalism in December 2018. She gained her newspaper experience as a staff writer and multimedia editor at her campus paper, The Baylor Lariat. Liesbeth joined the Community Impact team in August 2019, where she reports on all things Plano and Richardson, including Plano City Council and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.


MOST RECENT

This extension to the agreement, initially termed to end in January 2021, will allow for the university to perform field tests on the 44 air-quality monitors built for Plano. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plano continues air-quality partnership with UT Dallas

The air-quality partnership between the city of Plano and the University of Texas at Dallas has been extended until December 2021.

D'Ambrosio's #1 Pizza Pub will offer customers a friendly environment to enjoy a more contemporary style of Chicago deep-dish pizza. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
D'Ambrosio's pizzeria opens in Grapevine and more DFW news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

From both counties, there have been 5,824 reported cases in Plano as of Nov. 23 and the city has 665 active cases. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Tracking COVID-19: Plano cases climb, county hospitalizations surge

COVID-19 hospitalizations are tracking record-high numbers since data was recorded at the beginning of June.

Collin County commissioners unanimously approved a $2 million allocation of federal funding to continue reimbursements of local food pantries. (Screenshot courtesy Collin County)
Collin County allocates additional $2M in CARES funding for local food pantries

Collin County commissioners allocated an additional $2 million in federal funding to the Collin CARES program to continue reimbursements for local food pantries.

Laura Colangelo
Q&A: Laura Colangelo discusses challenges facing private schools during pandemic

Colangelo said private schools have adapted to remote learning and other obstacles in 2020 despite less revenue and a 9% decline in enrollment statewide.

Mock-ups for each of these walls will be visible within each city from Nov. 20-Jan. 29. (Courtesy Dallas Area Rapid Transit)
Mock-ups of sound walls for Silver Line project available for viewing in Plano, Richardson

Mock-ups for each of these walls will be visible within each city from Nov. 20-Jan. 29.

texas health breeze urgent care concierge desk
New urgent care center in McKinney, plus four more DFW-area business updates

Here are five businesses that opened recently in the Greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.

chilangos tacos
Chilangos Tacos opens in Plano, plus three more DFW-area restaurant updates

Here are four restaurants that opened recently in the Greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.

A redevelopment project for the former Plano Market Square Mall received unanimous approval Nov. 16 from the Plano Planning and Zoning Commission. (Community Impact staff)
Plano Market Square Mall redevelopment and four more top DFW updates

Here are the five top stories from Community Impact Newspaper’s past week of Dallas-Fort Worth-area coverage.

Schools now have the power to temporarily suspend on-campus instruction if “a significant number of the instructional staff at the campus is impacted due to a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak." (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Education Agency authorizes schools to close doors for 14 days due to coronavirus-related staffing concerns

Campuses can now instate a hybrid or fully remote instruction model for up to 14 days if adequate instructional staffing is not possible due to high numbers of COVID-19 cases among employees.

This strategic plan will help the coalition and the varying organizations in Collin County working to prevent homelessness focus their efforts and define big-picture goals in both the short- and long-term, officials said. (Chase Autin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Collin County Homeless Coalition launches 5-prong action plan for preventing, relieving homelessness

This strategic plan will help the coalition and the varying organizations in Collin County working to prevent homelessness focus their efforts and define big-picture goals in both the short- and long-term, officials said.