DART is reducing weekday service hours, limiting service on select routes, and asking people to only ride when absolutely necessary

Posted: March 23, 2020

Effective, Thursday, March 26, DART is making temporary changes to its weekday service, including ending weekday service earlier on some routes and reducing how often some routes run. At this time, DART will continue to offer its regular service on Saturdays and Sundays. This temporary service reduction will help ensure the health and safety of our employees and passengers as well as account for the decrease in ridership we’ve experienced while our region continues to deal with COVID-19.

DART is committed to providing essential transportation to central Iowans during the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect the health and safety of our employees and passengers, please only ride DART when absolutely necessary to get to work or to other essential destinations like the grocery store and pharmacy.

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.  

Weekday service ending earlier on these routes

Service will end earlier for many of our Local Routes. Routes with service ending at approximately 9 p.m. on weekdays beginning March 26 include:

Routes with service now ending at approximately 10 p.m. on weekdays beginning March 26 include:

Routes with reduced weekday frequency

The following routes will adjust so that the buses run less often during peak travel times. These routes include:

Routes with NO CHANGE to current weekday schedule

The following routes already end service before 9 p.m. on weekdays, and therefore have no impact to schedules at this time.

  • Local Route 5 – Franklin Ave/Johnston
  • Local Route 8 – Fleur Drive
  • Local Route 10 – E University
  • Local Route 11 – Ingersoll/Valley Junction
  • Local Route 13 – SE Park Avenue
  • Local Route 50 – Euclid/Douglas Crosstown
  • Local Route 74 – NW Urbandale
  • Ankeny On Call
  • Bondurant On Call
  • Easter Lake On Call
  • Grimes On Call

Reduced service for Express Routes

Ridership has significantly decreased on several DART Express Routes as more central Iowans work from home. Because of this, DART is limiting the number of trips on all Express Routes to two morning, and two evening trips.

Reduced frequency on DART’s D-Line

DART’s free downtown shuttle, the D-Line will continue to operate on weekdays between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. However, frequency on the route will temporarily be reduced to run every 15 minutes, instead of every 10 minutes. The route will also run on 15-minute frequency on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Link shuttle eliminated

DART is temporarily discontinuing service on its Link shuttle in downtown Des Moines. This route primarily carried commuters from the Center Street Park & Ride to Cherry and Mulberry Street. Ridership on this route has drastically dropped, so DART is temporarily eliminating the route.

Reduced service hours for DART Paratransit

DART Paratransit operates on a schedule that mirrors the service span of DART’s Fixed Route services. Because of this, beginning Thursday, March 26, DART Paratransit service will end each weekday at 10 p.m.

Reduced hours at DART Central Station

DART is reducing the hours that DART Central Station (620 Cherry Street) is open to fit the new temporary service reduction. Beginning March 26, DART Central Station will close at 10 p.m. on weekdays. This does not change the hours Customer Service is open.

Updated route schedules

The schedule changes taking affect March 26 are available on ridedart.com. Customers requiring a print copy 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, which will update after 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25 to reflect the new service schedule.

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 its 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. Reducing our services will ensure central Iowans with no other transportation options 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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