Special to The Dallas Examiner
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit Board voted on two new programs to enhance transportation that effect some areas of South Dallas as well as some elderly and disabled residents.
The board approved a 6-month pilot demonstration of their successful on-demand, personalized, curb-to-curb service called GoLink for areas around South Dallas and Fair Park.
Working with the South Dallas/Fair Park Transportation Initiative group, a survey was done of 200 residents of zip codes 75210 and 75215 that identified concerns that the pilot demonstration hopes to rectify.
Through the survey, the SDFP group noted that the South Dallas-Fair Park neighborhood has extensive bus and rail service, but that bus travel within the neighborhood can be difficult for very short trips, particularly to the recreation center and grocery stores. The area is currently served by three DART rail stations, MLK Jr. Station, Fair Park Station and Hatcher Station, as well as 10 bus routes.
Already available in Farmers Branch, Glenn Heights, Inland Port, Kleberg and Rylie, Lake Highlands, Lakewood, North Dallas, Park Cities, Legacy West, Far North Plano, North Central Plano/Chase Oaks, and Rowlett, the GoLink pilot for South Dallas and Fair Park will cost $50,000, include one dedicated accessible taxi, supplemented by Uber Pool, and cover an 8.5-sq. mile area.
The pilot is scheduled to begin summer of 2020.
DART’s board has agreed to expand its Rider Assistance Program by taking over a city of Dallas service used by seniors and disabled persons.
Dallas currently provides a last resort Senior Medical Transportation Program for low- to moderate-income persons who reside within the city and who do not qualify for other transportation programs.
DART already provides rider assistance in selected areas within its 700-sq. mile service area which allows eligible seniors and persons with disabilities to schedule and pay for transportation services from the user’s transportation subsidy account.
The city requested that the transit agency operate a similar program to replace theirs.
To be eligible for the new program, Dallas residents must be age 65 or older, or have a certified disability, but not eligible for DART Paratransit Services.
They must also present proof of residency, such as a government ID, a recent utility bill or other documentation that verifies residency.
Once approved for the program, eligible residents may purchase up to $100 in RAP value each month. During the first six months, Dallas will fund the total cost with a reloadable program debit card.
Starting the seventh month, each rider will be required to provide 25% of the card balance.
The program will operate approximately 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week and is intended for travel in the DART service area.
It will begin approximately 30 days upon being finalized by the city. The total program costs will be funded by Dallas using federal grant and city general revenue.
The maximum not-to-exceed amount for the term of the agreement will be $674,457.
DART officials also agreed to close its transit center waiting areas to enforce social distancing.
To ensure the health and safety of customers and employees, the indoor waiting areas at all transit center locations will be temporarily closed in response to the spread of COVID-19, but riders can continue to use the outdoor areas for boarding buses and light rail vehicles. On buses with rear doors, customers will also be required to board the vehicle through the rear access.
All Station Concierge personnel have been reassigned to monitor and amplify customer service initiatives and augment DART’s enhanced cleaning protocols on all bus and light rail vehicles.
Passengers are urged to practice social distancing while waiting to board DART vehicles and while on all buses and trains. That means maintaining a six-foot distance between fellow riders and the DART operator.
There are 20 DART transit centers impacted by the closures. Dallas centers include:
- Bernal/Singleton Transfer Location
- Central Business District East Transfer Center
- Central Business District West Transfer Center
- EBJ Union Station
- Hampton Station
- Illinois Station
- J.B. Jackson, Jr. Transit Center
- Lake June Station
- Ledbetter Station
- Red Bird Transit Center
- Westmoreland Station
Riders can learn more about both programs at http://www.dart.org, 214-828-6717, or for GoLink only, through the Dallas Senior Services Help Line at 214-670-5227. For information about the transit center closures, call the Customer Information Center at 214-979-1111.