Comet Cruisin’ for a bruisin’

Shuttle service gets new buses, amended guidelines

Smrithi Upadhyayula
Mercury Staff

To help keep passengers safe, UTD parking and transportation services has installed sanitary features in its new Comet Cruisers and is now operating under updated guidelines and reduced hours.

Numerous campus services have had to make adjustments over the past few months, and the Comet Cruiser bus service is no exception. These shuttles serve UTD and the surrounding neighborhood and are different from regular DART buses in that they don’t require any form of pass or identification to ride. Passengers have expressed concerns online about the safety of the Comet Cruisers, especially since they serve more than just UTD students. New guidelines and modified routes aim to eliminate these issues.

DART announced route changes for the fall semester in a July press release. Except for Express trips, the East route is back in service from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. – 6.pm. on Sunday. The West route is no longer using the terminal on McCallum, but there will be two new bus stops on Campbell Road. Passengers on all DART buses and trains have been required to wear face coverings since July 3, and DART encourages them to comply with CDC recommendations for handwashing, sanitizing and social distancing while riding the bus.

The Comet Cruiser has also recently obtained three new buses. Director of Parking and Transportation Cris Aquino said the buses were acquired through a joint effort between UTD and DART in order to replace three existing buses that were nearing the end of their operating life. The new buses were placed into service earlier this month and have all the features of the current Comet Cruisers, including Wi-Fi and a passenger counting system. UTD Transportation has also included extra features on these buses to help protect passengers during the pandemic.

“We are equipping them with touchless hand sanitizers and mask dispensers to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Aquino said.