D-Link Ridership Higher Than Expected, Will Get Even Better With Route Improvements

The D-Link has to be considered a success. The city-funded, DART-operated, free-to-ride circulator has done what it was created to do: connect many of Dallas' entertainment districts -- Bishop Arts, Downtown Dallas, the Arts District and Victory Plaza -- at a reasonable frequency. It's the only bus line that runs at least every 15 minutes during all of its operating hours.

Monday, the city found out that residents and visitors are actually riding the thing, too. Before the D-Link began running in November 2013, DART projected an average of 517 riders would take the hot pink buses each weekday. In January 2014, D-Link ridership exceeded that number for the first time -- 549 riders got on the buses every weekday -- and the most recent month reported by DART, October 2014, saw an average of 1,060 people use the D-Link each weekday.

Those ridership numbers come in spite of the bus line's confusing route and limited hours. The D-Link makes two loops and frequently splits in two and only runs between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

One of the splits is soon to be corrected. Because Houston Street downtown is now two-way, the D-Link will be able to travel up Houston toward Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum as at comes north into downtown from Oak Cliff, rather than coming up Market Street as it currently does.

Keith Manoy, one of City Hall's senior transportation planners, said that additional changes to the D-Link will be considered after November 2015, when the Oak Cliff streetcar is scheduled to begin running. At that point, Mannoy said, the D-Link is expected to stop running to Oak Cliff. The portion of the line not covered by the streetcar will be replaced by additional service.

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