The first quarter of the 2012-13 fiscal year has started out well for the Denton County Transportation Authority.
Recently released first-quarter ridership numbers show overall growth for the agency, with the most notable increase coming from the A-train.
The agency experienced a 3 percent growth during October, November and December in comparison with the previous year.
The A-train carried 42 percent more passengers during that period. The growth continues to be seen in January’s monthly ridership report, with the A-train carrying 43 percent more people than the previous January.
“Forty-two percent on the A-train, that’s huge,” said Dee Leggett, DCTA’s vice president of communications and planning. “We expected ridership to grow with the implementation of midday service, but 42 percent was even beyond our estimation. It clearly shows we’re heading in the right direction in terms of the service we’re adding on and a direct result of us listening to the feedback of our customers.”
In August, the agency added midday rail service closing the 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. gap in the schedule. It also expanded Friday night and Saturday service. In January, a weekday evening southbound A-train departure was added to the schedule to better serve university evening classes and later work schedules.
“Clearly, our customers have responded positively to these changes. As we plan for the next stages of service improvements, we are excited about what the future holds,” DCTA President Jim Cline said in a recent news release.
The future will be discussed Thursday, when DCTA staff will present proposed updates to the agency’s five-year operating and capital plan at the annual board retreat.
Leggett said that adding the midday service was the big issue at last year’s retreat.
This year, in addition to addressing capital needs and maintenance of the system, the plan focuses on improving the passenger experience with improved amenities and expanded bus and rail services, she said.
“If you look at what commuters will face in the upcoming months … gas prices, I-35E construction — those two together will make transit a very affordable and reliable commute option,” she said.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .