D-Link Ridership is Modest, But Officials Say Dallas' Free Downtown Shuttle Shows Promise

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

It's still far too early to declare D-Link's two-year pilot program a success or to gauge the long-term popularity of a free downtown shuttle. But after nearly two months in operation, officials say they're pleasantly surprised.

"It's exceeded our expectations so far," says Downtown Dallas Inc. president John Crawford, whose organization is splitting the $1.4-million annual bill with the city and DART. DART spokesman Mark Ball adds "we're pleased with what we're seeing."

See also: D-Link, Dallas' Free Downtown Shuttle, Rolls Out This Morning

The numbers so far aren't eye-popping. Statistics provided by DART show daily ridership averaging several hundred people, with a peak on Saturday nearing 500:

Monday: 377

Tuesday: 372

Wednesday: 381

Thursday: 402

Friday: 357

Saturday: 488

Compared to the region's other high-profile (albeit not free) new bus route, Arlington's MAX, which has daily ridership of around 250, the figures are solid. But with D-Link shuttles making 96 runs per day -- 48 in either direction -- the buses aren't exactly packed. Most days, the average ridership per bus hovers south of four.

That doesn't discourage Crawford, who is quick to point out that D-Link is starting from scratch and had a relatively modest rollout.

"I'm hopeful we'll continue to improve the numbers and also hopeful that we can expand the service, going to places like Deep Ellum, Farmers Market, other areas that are being" developed, Crawford says.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.