13 years ago
Cristen Perkowski

Waiting at the bus stop will become a tiresome experience this spring as the frequency of buses on campus could be reduced.


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Fewer buses will circulate through campus if proposed route modifications are passed by the Dallas Area Rapid Transport (DART) Board of Directors March 23.

DART plans to eliminate route 358 and extend existing route 562, the only two current routes servicing UTD, as part of the May 2004 DART service modifications. Twenty-one other DART bus routes are also under review.

If the proposed modifications are passed, route 358 will be replaced with DART On-Call service and route 562 will continue on Campbell past Hillcrest Road to serve the Addison Transit Center.

Intervals for route 562 will increase from 20 to 30 minutes during rush hour and from 45 minutes to hourly during midday, according to Katharine Eagan, DART project manager.

“Realistically, most of the students are on the 562 (rather) than the 358 connection on Waterview to UTD,” Eagan said. “Unless we get lot of comments, we will eliminate (358).”

DART does not profit from transit services, Eagan added. ?Although passengers pay a fare, each person’s trip is additionally subsidized by DART.

To make the trip economically viable, DART’s target subsidy is $4.30 per rider, but the current subsidy is $13.90 for route 358, Eagan said.

Eagan also said the July 2002 expansion of the DART light rail into Richardson and Plano coincided with a significant drop in ridership for route 358.

This resulted in its quarterly performance at less than 50 ?of DART’s standards.

Compared to DART’s targets, route 358 underperforms with regards to passengers per trip, passengers per mile and subsidy per passenger.

But faculty and students who ride 358 don’t agree.

“Ridership has increased gradually over the past year I have been using (DART),” said Jay Dowling, UTD professor. “The bus drivers are not under the impression (358) is losing ridership and there are plenty riders, particularly at (the southern section) of the route.”

Dowling sold his second car because DART was so convenient and worries that cutting service sendpercent of DART’s standards.

Compared to DART’s targets, route 358 underperforms with regards to passengers per trip, passengers per mile and subsidy per passenger.

But faculty and students who ride 358 don’t agree.

“Ridership has increased gradually over the past year I have been using (DART),” said Jay Dowling, UTD professor. “The bus drivers are not under the impression (358) is losing ridership and there are plenty riders, particularly at (the southern section) of the route.”

Dowling sold his second car because DART was so convenient and worries that cutting service sends the wrong message to students.

“Just when we should be reaching out and encouraging more and more local students to come to UTD, we find access to campus being diminished,” Dowling said. “(Eliminating route 358) makes the campus that much less accessible.”

DART plans to serve the area enclosed by Campbell to Belt Line and Hillcrest to Floyd with their On-Call service.

DART On-Call is a premium service that takes passengers by van. It costs $70 per month, Eagan said.

“DART On-Call service is not providing a good substitute for the route,” Dowling said. Although the proposed route changes are not as drastic as last year’s cutbacks, which included $13 million in bus routes and $21 million in administrative costs, Eagan said “we have to lose money efficiently.”

“Although (ridership) is stabilizing and there is a slight increase, (route 358) is still below what the board sets as standard,” Eagan said. “Even with removing the northern section, (route 358) is still only meeting half the board’s performance (requirement).”

Route 358 costs $819,000 annually. Eliminating the northern section of the route would reduce operating costs by $280,000 but Eagan said the statistics still leave route 358 below acceptable ridership standards.

“Instead of increasing the service of DART buses’ to UTD, the officials are doing the opposite,” said Puneet Gupta, freshman telecommunication engineering major. “Being an international freshman, I don’t have access to a car. This is really disappointing as it will put me and other international students (at a) great inconvenience.”

The DART Board of Directors will vote on the proposed changes March 23 and implement any modifications May 17. ?s the wrong message to students. ?”Just when we should be reaching out and encouraging more and more local students to come to UTD, we find access to campus being diminished,” Dowling said. “(Eliminating route 358) makes the campus that much less accessible.”?DART plans to serve the area enclosed by Campbell to Belt Line and Hillcrest to Floyd with their On-Call service. ?DART On-Call is a premium service that takes passengers by van. It costs $70 per month, Eagan said. ?”DART On-Call service is not providing a good substitute for the route,” Dowling said. Although the proposed route changes are not as drastic as last year’s cutbacks, which included $13 million in bus routes and $21 million in administrative costs, Eagan said “we have to lose money efficiently.”?”Although (ridership) is stabilizing and there is a slight increase, (route 358) is still below what the board sets as standard,” Eagan said. “Even with removing the northern section, (route 358) is still only meeting half the board’s performance (requirement).” ?Route 358 costs $819,000 annually. Eliminating the northern section of the route would reduce operating costs by $280,000 but Eagan said the statistics still leave route 358 below acceptable ridership standards.?”Instead of increasing the service of DART buses’ to UTD, the officials are doing the opposite,” said Puneet Gupta, freshman telecommunication engineering major. “Being an international freshman, I don’t have access to a car. This is really disappointing as it will put me and other international students (at a) great inconvenience.”?The DART Board of Directors will vote on the proposed changes March 23 and implement any modifications May 17. ?