Friday night A-train service is back on schedule for the Denton County Transportation Authority.
Board members voted 7-5 Thursday to extend the service, overturning a vote from May 24 that would have terminated Friday night service after this week. Service will now continue into August under its current schedule and be modified along with the agency’s other schedule changes on Aug. 20.
Denton leaders had lobbied intensely to keep the Friday night service going.
“I was very pleased and proud they did that,” said Denton Mayor Mark Burroughs. “I believed there were issues that needed to be more fully vetted that address longer-term implications of Friday night service and weekend service generally.”
Burroughs and numerous officials from Denton, Highland Village and the Denton County Commissioners Court packed the room as lengthy debate went on about the fate of Friday night service.
Bill Walker, a small-cities representative who voted against extending the service in May, requested the service item be placed on the agenda and be revisited. He made the motion during the meeting.
He said immediately after the May meeting he thought his decision was wrong, and he tried to reach DCTA President Jim Cline to figure out how the item could be placed on the agenda again.
Denton representative Richard Huckaby and small-cities representative Tom Spencer debated statistics that showed the successes and failures of Friday night service.
Huckaby questioned the bar that the board set for success for the service last year.
Spencer maintained that the statistics showed the service to be a failure.
After the meeting, Burroughs said the board had to look at the Friday night service trial and see whether or not it was a reasonable experiment with enough time to build up ridership and to look at whether the service was used by enough patrons to make it worthwhile.
“It really wasn’t a good trial period because it did not meet the needs of the customers, so the staff recommended tweaking that plan and making it something customers could actually use,” he said. “I am very encouraged DCTA has shown it is flexible and responsive to its customers. It’s part of the reason we created a county transportation authority, it gives us that ability to be flexible and adapt and listen.
“You don’t get that with bigger systems. But we do get it because we have a Denton County Transportation Authority, and I am proud of the board and the action they took today.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is email@example.com .