Posted April 6, 2020

Effective, Sunday, April 12, DART will make more temporary reductions to its weekday service. Most DART Local Routes will operate the Saturday service schedule on weekdays. Service will be discontinued on a handful of Local Routes. There will be no impact to DART’s service on Saturdays and Sundays. These reductions account for where we have experienced decreases in ridership and the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our workforce.  The temporary service reduction will allow DART to utilize available employees to provide reliable service, while still ensuring the safety of our employees and riders.

Commitment to prevent overcrowding

We know many central Iowans continue to rely on DART to complete their essential transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please help us to keep our riders and our employees safe and healthy and only ride DART for essential trips, such as trips to essential work or to the grocery store or pharmacy. Our commitment to safety includes provisions to keep buses from overcrowding so our riders can practice social distancing. Please note that this means that buses may have to pass over customers at stops if they have become too full. DART has prepared for this possibility and will have smaller buses following large buses on busier routes during peak travel times to facilitate this.

Additional changes are possible

Further changes to service are possible as we continue to navigate through this pandemic. These decisions will be made by evaluating ridership data, considering the availability of our workforce and with guidance from public health and government officials.  

Temporary service reductions beginning April 12

DART will build off the temporary service reductions it made to its service on March 26, 2020 to make the further reductions detailed below. Please note that DART will restore its regular weekday service schedule as soon as safely possible based on guidance from public health officials.

Local Routes switching to Saturday service schedules

Many of DART’s Local Routes will follow a Saturday service schedule on weekdays under this new temporary service reduction. The following Local Routes will follow their Saturday service schedule as currently shown on ridedart.com.

Several DART Local Routes will follow a Saturday service schedule, with reduced service in the evenings, especially after approximately 8:30 p.m. Information on which trips will be eliminated from the schedule can be found on the route pages below.

Reduced weekday service on Local Route 5

DART will continue weekday service on Local Route 5 – Franklin Ave/Johnston.  Trips on this route will be reduced in the evenings by one trip. The last trip each weeknight on this route will now depart DART Central Station at 6:30 p.m., with the final return trip leaving the Johnston Public Library at 7:15 p.m.

Weekday service continues on Local Route 50

DART will continue to offer all regularly scheduled weekday service on Local Route 50 – Euclid/Douglas Crosstown.

Service suspended on certain Local Routes

Service on the following Local Routes will be temporarily suspended effective April 12.

No change to On Call or Flex Connect services

DART will continue to offer its regularly scheduled weekday service for the following services:

Reductions continue for several DART services

In the first round of temporary service reductions DART made on March 26, 2020, DART changed service for its Express Routes, reduced frequency on its D-Line shuttle to run every 15 minutes and suspended all trips on the LINK Shuttle. Under this new round of reductions, DART is not making any further changes to these routes.

In addition, DART Paratransit service will continue to end at 10 p.m. on weekdays and DART Central Station will continue to close at 10 p.m. on weekdays. There will be no change to the hours that DART Customer Service is open.

Updated route schedules

Under this new service reduction, DART will switch service on many routes to a Saturday service schedule. These schedules can be viewed online on DART’s route pages now on ridedart.com. To view the schedule, riders should select the “Saturday” option above the schedule on route pages.

DART will update the route pages so that weekdays reflect the new schedules after 9 p.m. the day before this temporary service reduction goes into effect. Riders who need a print copy of schedules can request one from DART Customer Service at DART Central Station. Given the temporary nature of these changes and the possibility that further adjustments may be needed, DART will not be printing new paper schedules at this time.

Each route above links to its route page on ridedart.com. Details on trips being removed from schedules on individual routes are available on these route pages.

Trip planning and real-time information

Due to this temporary service reduction, DART’s real-time planning tools and other third-party tools, including Google Maps, may be increasingly inaccurate. DART staff will work to update data for these tools, but these updates would not affect any additional temporary service changes DART may need to make in the future. Riders can still use these tools to view route maps or bus stop information.

Accurate schedules will be posted on route pages on ridedart.com. Riders needing assistance planning a trip or locating their bus, should call DART Customer Service at 515-283-8100.

Why we made this decision

Ridership continues to decline as Iowans are encouraged to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and practice social distancing. At the same time, DART is experiencing a shortage in available frontline staff while the region continues to deal with COVID-19. Reducing our services will ensure central Iowans still have the ability to get to work and essential services, while also reducing the number of drivers DART needs to operate the service. DART has a number of operators who fall in the high-risk category for COVID-19. This temporary service reduction will help DART ensure the safety of its employees by allowing those who are at high-risk, or those who have to take care for young children, to stay home.

Other measures DART has taken to ensure the health and safety of our employees and riders will continue until further notice, including our temporary fare suspension, the request for riders who are able to get on and off the bus through the back doors and our daily cleaning and disinfecting schedule for all vehicles. You can learn more about our proactive measures at ridedart.com.

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