Dallas Bus System Overhaul Rolling Out in January. Will it Succeed?

The Dallas City Council recently approved a long-awaited and much-delayed bus system redesign for DART. Riders should require fewer transfers and shorter wait times starting in January 2022.

September 16, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


BeyondDC / Flickr

"The long-promised and even longer-overdue overhaul of [the the Dallas Area Rapid Transit] bus system — neglected for decades while the transit agency focused on flashy rail projects — will finally roll out in January," according to a column by Sharon Grigsby.

According to Grigsby's assessment, the DARTzoom bus system redesign approved by the Dallas City Council at the end of August won't fix everything, but it's a decent start toward making the system faster and easier to navigate.

DART is selling DARTzoom as a benefit to riders—who should require fewer transfers and shorter wait times to get around the city on buses. Grigsby calls attention to three key changes designed to achieve those goals:

  • On-demand GoLink service "will be increased substantially — to a total of 30 zones — and become an even more essential part of the system."
  • All local routes "will run seven days a week from, at minimum, 5 a.m. to midnight, with some in service even longer."
  • "In some cases, bus routes are farther apart from one another, especially those that were bunched together."

Rob Smith, interim vice president for service planning, is quoted in the article describing the new bus system as a hybrid of a high-frequency grid and a hub-and-spoke layout.

"The new plan calls for DART to designate 22 bus routes and its four light rail lines as a 'core frequent network' in which the goal will be a maximum 15-minute wait at rush hour, 20 minutes midday and occasionally 30 minutes in late evening," explains Grigsby.

Grigsby provides more on the current state of the system and the political changes that spurred the system redesign across the finish line—after elected and political leaders pushed DART to balance the core city's best interests with a commitment to regional planning.

For more, see the existing system map, and the new DARTzoom map.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021 in The Dallas Morning News

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