DART Survey Results Show Riders Are Pretty Decent Transit Planners

The results are in from a survey we told you about earlier this month in which DART riders about things like frequency and what the agency could do better as it preps its latest 10-year plan.

Turns out, the riders did a really good job.

On the frequency question, the one where only one of the choices could reasonably be described as frequent, the results were overwhelming. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed said 10-15 minutes was "reasonable frequency" for peak hours. Not a single person said 45 minutes or 60 minutes was frequent. In each of the other time frames DART asked about -- midday, night and weekends -- respondents also chose the most frequent option available (20 minutes).

Now, the survey has moved to a second phase. It's soliciting ideas for service improvements from riders. So far, 165 ideas have come in and most of them are actually pretty good.

Late-night rail service is suggested multiple times and seems like a no-brainer for the agency. It's a good PR move -- think of the claims DART can make about fighting drunk driving -- and it will finally stop the questions about why day passes expire at 3 a.m. despite the agency not having a single service that runs past 2 a.m.

Other popular ideas include streamlining and simplifying bus service and providing restrooms at train stations, something Unfair Park has personally desired on more than one occasion.

Kay Shelton, a DART project manager, says that while implementing more rail service would be difficult, changes to bus service could come sooner rather than later.

"[Adding late night rail service] can be examined, but we're trying to do all of this within the existing budget that we have and we're focusing this effort more on the bus system," she says.

Morgan Lyons, DART's assistant vice president for communications, said that the survey process is ongoing, and the agency may come back to the public for ideas multiple times as DART plans its long-term future. He said he appreciates the engagement of those he continue to participate in the survey.

"We wanted to break out of that usual five, six or seven people who come to every public meeting and have the same five, six or seven issues every time you have a public meeting," he says. "I think we've all been pretty pleased with the level of engagement and the variety of ideas."

If only ideas could pay for the D2 line, then we might be getting somewhere.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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