Officials Provide Update on DART 2035 Plan to Increase Ridership

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Gas prices may be down, but DART says its ridership is still up.

Some of them are Des Moines students.

“The first time I actually started riding was when I was in middle school,” said Roosevelt High School Junior Claretta Morris.

The public transit provides about 16,000 rides a day, and 3,500 of those are middle and high school students.

“It’s also good for us to introduce that younger population to public transit,” said Amanda Wanke, DART Chief Engagement and Communications Officer.

This month, the public transit is providing its first update on Dart Forward 2035. The long-range plan to not only increase ridership but also meet the mobility needs in the Des Moines area. Since 2011, DART has added new routes, made them run more often and offered Sunday service, all the while trying to keep up with the changing transit technology.

“We are looking at everything from mobile ticketing for our customers to new fare boxes that can use smart card technology. So how do we make it easier for people to ride,” explained Wanke.

Riders like Morris are in no hurry to drive.

“I will definitely keep riding the bus,” she said, “I think it's good for environmental reasons. I don't actually want to drive.”

DART is looking for your input. You can fill out a survey at www.ridedart.com. The public is also invited to attend one of the public meetings the week of Feb. 29 to March 2, 2016.