Dallas Council Members Say Bus Network Overhaul Can’t Wait

Dallas's winding, confusing bus routes are ripe for rethinking, and the City Council wants to act fast. Map: DART [PDF]
Dallas's winding, confusing bus routes are ripe for rethinking, and the City Council wants to act fast. Map: DART [PDF]

In 2015, Houston implemented a top-to-bottom bus network overhaul to turn around flagging ridership by bringing frequent service to more of the city at more times. That example has inspired cities around the country to look at the way their own bus networks are structured with fresh eyes.

Among the agencies that took an interest in a bus overhaul was Dallas’s DART. But there wasn’t much urgency, with DART’s timetable pushing improvements for riders several years out into the future. Meanwhile, DART’s ridership has been dropping (one local pundit recently called it the “worst transit agency in America”).

Now, thanks a more engaged Dallas City Council, it looks like DART is turning a corner. The council has appointed a slate of DART board members who are pressing for change sooner rather than later, reports Julie Fancher at the Dallas Morning News:

The Dallas City Council voted unanimously last fall to make overhauling the bus system a top priority. That decision was cited in a recent effort to replace several of the city’s DART board representatives.

Four new DART board members — Catherine Cuellar, Dominique Torres, Ray Jackson and Jon-Bertrell Killen — were named earlier this month. Each said they’d push hard to fix the bus network. And board member Patrick Kennedy, who started his term in January, told the council’s transportation committee last month that he has been working closely with DART staff on issues plaguing the bus system.

It’s fascinating to see how smart, committed political leadership can jolt a transit agency to get its butt in gear to help riders.

More recommended readin today: The State Smart Transportation Initiative looks at research about the relationship between marijuana legalization and auto crash risks. Urban Milwaukee reports that city kids are appealing to council members for safer streets. And Seattle Bike Blog reports that after the city-funded Pronto bike-share system shut down, two private firms are competing to launch at nearly the same scale.

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