The Route Less Taken

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As part of both National Transportation Week and National Police Week we’re showing you how we look out for your ride in our “Your Ride, Our Lookout” series. Today, embrace something new and discover a few of DART’s services you may not know about.

When you think of DART, you may only think of trains. Hopefully, you think of buses, too. There’s a lot more to DART Bus Service than you might think – unique services tailored to the communities they serve.

The typical bus route is referred to as “fixed-route.” These routes come to the same stops at scheduled times, adhere to a time table and, as the name implies, stick to the same itinerary from day to day. But there are two other types of service offered by DART: On-Call and FLEX.

On-Call is a curb-to-curb, on-demand service restricted to specific neighborhood zones. All On-Call buses link to the DART Rail System or a transit center – and they also connect to neighborhood services like shops, restaurants and more. The service is economical, efficient and easy: just pick up the phone, and your ride will be there within an hour to deliver you directly, anywhere within the zone. (Patrons also can make reservations as much as a week in advance.) There are currently eight On-Call zones, and the ride is covered by a local fare or day pass.

FLEX service is something of a hybrid – it offers fixed-route advantages and curbside convenience. FLEX buses have conventional bus stops and a route that they follow, but they can veer off the established course to drop customers off anywhere within a designated FLEX zone. There are currently six of them. Like On-Call, the service is covered by a local pass.

On-Call and FLEX are win-win solutions for neighborhoods where ridership demand may not warrant fixed-route service. They save DART (and the tax-paying public) money, while providing excellent, personalized service to residents.

There are other non-traditional bus services, as well. For example, DART Shuttles operate like regular buses, but with shorter routes. Most shuttle services operate directly between a rail station and a specific destination – such as SMU or NorthPark Center. They are generally subsidized by the entity they serve.

Then there is DART Rapid Ride Route 987, which travels along Forest Lane and Alpha Road.  This route was designed as a pilot program, and offers fewer stops– allowing for faster service. It also has more frequent service than ordinary bus routes. Customers may see more Rapid Ride routes in the future.

For more information about DART On-Call, visit DART.org/On-Call. If you’d like to learn more about our FLEX Service, visit DART.org/FlexService.

Stay tuned to this week’s “Your Ride, Our Lookout” series to learn more about our police officers and how DART gets you to your destination.

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