DART made several changes to its service on Oct. 13, 2019. All changes for this major service change were cost-neutral. Because of this, DART had to eliminate, or shift, resources from underutilized services to better serve riders in other areas.
DART discontinued service on Flex Route 73 and replaced it with Flex Connect, a pilot project featuring on-demand service. Previously, Route 73 operated during peak travel commute times on weekdays, connecting residents to the Gloria Dei and Buccaneer Arena Park & Ride stops. The service had very low ridership, which is why DART opted to replace service with a new, innovative on-demand model that increased the amount of service available at a lower cost.
The Flex Connect pilot allowed DART to partner Uber and Yellow Cab taxi service to provide service within the Flex Connect zone. Flex Connect trips must start and end within the zone; with the starting point or ending point being one of the three designated transfer points within the zone: Gloria Dei Park & Ride, Buccaneer Arena Park & Ride or Merle Hay Mall. From these transfer points riders can connect to DART buses via routes 5, 14, 16, 50, 92 or 93. The service operates Monday – Friday, from 5:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. DART subsidizes 100 percent of the Flex Connect ride through the duration of the pilot program.
Flex Connect was designed to ensure that there are options to accommodate people requiring a vehicle with a ramp or lift, customers who can not, or choose not to, pay by credit card, or people without smart phones or those who wish to book a trip over the phone. The pilot nature of the program allows DART to adjust the service as necessary to meet customers' needs.
DART changed Route 74 from a Flex Route to a Local Route, discontinuing the flex zone. Upon hearing from riders, and analyzing passenger boardings for this route, DART discovered the majority of riders were not using the flex option on this route and were boarding at stops located along the existing fixed route.
DART maintained the existing schedule and route, and extended the route to the Walmart in Windsor Heights via University Avenue to serve additional employers along that corridor.
Riders with questions about this service change, or DART's public input process are encouraged to reach out to DART staff via email, or by calling DART Customer Service at 515-283-8100.