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DART News Release

Media Relations Contact:
Morgan Lyons

December 21, 2000

Ridership grows 3.5 million

DART marks four straight years of ridership gains

For the fourth consecutive year, DART's total ridership grew, with fiscal year 2000 passenger trips reaching 94.7 million, for a 3.8 percent gain.

"In 1996 we set out to double our ridership within five years, and we're almost there," said DART President/Executive Director Roger Snoble.

FY 2000 DART Ridership Up 3.8%
(Reported in number (millions) of passenger trips, Fiscal Year 2000 ended 9/30/00)

DART Service FY 2000 FY 1999 % Change
Bus 48,573,480 47,405,540 2.5%
Light Rail 11,433,540 11,345,640 0.8%
Trinity Railway Express 767,260 647,620 18.5%
HOV Lanes 33,059,730 30,930,200 6.9%
Vanpool 341,420 303,790 12.4%
Paratransit 559,090 597,040 - 6.4%
DART System Totals 94,734,520 91,229,830 3.8%

"For light rail, the emphasis of the past year was our expansion to Garland and Richardson in 2002 and Plano in 2003," Snoble added. "Although construction at Park Lane station slowed the rate of light rail ridership growth, we were still able to sustain our momentum and add more riders."

DART's most recent milestone is the December 18 opening of Cityplace Station - DART's first subway station -- just north of downtown Dallas. DART will open White Rock Station in the fall, and the new Park Lane Station will open in 2002.

In addition to a new Park and Ride in Rowlett, DART also opened new bus passenger transfer facilities in West Dallas and Cockrell Hill. Other bus improvements leading to ridership gains included expanded DART On-Call service (curb-to-curb bus shuttles), improved Trolley-Bus routes and the ongoing installation of new bus shelters and other passenger amenities.

Bus ridership up again
For the fourth consecutive year, an increasing number of commuters turned to the DART bus system as an alternative to the car. Overall, bus ridership rose by 1,167,860 trips or 2.5 percent. "We're very pleased to see bus ridership grow in our member cities," Snoble said. "We're particularly proud of our gains in Rowlett. The route changes we made in late 1999 and into 2000 have paid off."

Ridership was also up on the two major Farmers Branch bus routes (321 and 322) and the Route 247 Express. However, overall ridership in Farmers Branch was down due mostly to a shift in trips from previous park and ride locations in Farmers Branch to the Addison Transit Center. DART also expects planned service improvements to Routes 321 and 247 to stimulate additional ridership in the coming year.

DART FY 2000 Bus Ridership Systemwide
(Reported in number of passenger trips)

Member City FY 2000 FY 1999 % Change
Addison 380,000 235,000 61.3%
Carrollton 772,000 719,000 7.3%
Dallas Area (includes Cockrell Hill, Highland Park, University Park) 40,252,000 39,735,000 1.3%
Farmers Branch 197,000 211,000 -6.7%
Garland 2,474,000 2,362,000 4.7%
Glenn Heights 161,000 125,000 28.3%
Irving 1,877,000 1,742,000 7.8%
Plano 912,000 880,000 3.6%
Richardson 978,000 879,000 11.3%
Rowlett 116,000 100,000 15.9%

Thanks to the introduction of nearly 500 new state-of-the-art buses, more customers with disabilities were able to choose bus and rail service over Paratransit service in the past year. Approximately 38,000 fewer trips were made on Paratransit in FY 2000. With the addition of even more new buses in the coming months, DART is scheduled to reach its goal of operating a fully accessible transit system by the end of 2001.

HOV expansion sparks ridership gains
Nearly 2.1 million more passenger trips were made on DART's High Occupancy Vehicle lane network in the past year. More than 105,000 commuters use the lanes daily. During the summer, DART and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) began operation of part of the new HOV lanes from downtown Dallas south on Interstate 35 and U.S. 67 to Interstate 20. Scheduled to open late next year, the lanes are expected to save commuters about 15 minutes daily. The HOV lanes have helped stimulate interest in vanpools. DART vanpool usage grew more than 12 percent in 2000, from 303,000 passenger trips to more than 341,000. Employees drive and ride in DART-provided vans. The service provides transportation for employees who work late shifts or in areas where bus or rail service are not as available.

New stations, services in store for FY 2001
Fresh from the successful launch of the Trinity Railway Express commuter rail service in Tarrant County in September and the opening of the Southwest's first subway station earlier this month, DART is on track to make major additions to its system in the next year.

Starting January 1, DART's Paratransit Services will become even more convenient as the agency rolls out 100 new vans and 70 comfortable sedans. The new vans have sturdy, oversized wheelchair lifts and can accommodate up to 11 customers. Both the vans and sedans are equipped with new mobile display terminals that will help the operator plan trips more effectively.

In the fall, DART will open White Rock Station, the first light rail station on the northeast corridor that will ultimately connect Garland and downtown Dallas in 2002. Light rail construction in Richardson and Plano is on schedule. Service to Richardson begins in 2002 and in Plano in 2003.

The Fort Worth T and DART are scheduled to open two downtown Fort Worth stations for the Trinity Railway Express late in 2001. About that same time, DART and TxDOT will complete work on the 11-mile HOV lane connecting south Dallas County with downtown Dallas via South I-35E and U.S. 67 Marvin D. Love Freeway.

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