DART officials report 55% hit to ridership since March

Dallas Area Rapid Transit saw a 55% decrease in ridership since March. (Courtesy Dallas Area Rapid Transit)
Dallas Area Rapid Transit saw a 55% decrease in ridership since March. (Courtesy Dallas Area Rapid Transit)

Dallas Area Rapid Transit saw a 55% decrease in ridership since March. (Courtesy Dallas Area Rapid Transit)

Dallas Area Rapid Transit has seen a dramatic decline in the number of passengers using its services since the coronavirus pandemic took hold earlier this spring, according to a July 7 board presentation.

The transit agency saw a 55% decrease in overall ridership since March 13, according to the presentation. The Trinity Railway Express and the Light Rail saw the biggest impacts, with respective decreases of 75% and 64%.

“What is happening here is not unique to the Dallas area or the DART service area—it’s happening worldwide,” said Todd Plesko, DART’s vice president of service planning and scheduling.

DART anticipates continued declines due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 as well as major event cancellations, such as the State Fair of Texas, which brought millions of riders to DART, Plesko said.

The agency initially expected to serve almost 71 million riders in the 2020 fiscal year but is now projecting 48 million riders.


DART officials said the situation should improve by March 2021, when it expects ridership to increase by 10%.

In April, the agency implemented emergency changes to service, including modified bus routes and schedules. It also limited entry on buses to the back door only.

DART will hold a public hearing August 11 to discuss proposed changes, such as adjusted frequency on core bus routes and rail services; discontinuation, modification or replacement of nine low-performing bus routes; and continuation of emergency service on 62 bus routes.

To find out more, visit www.dart.org.