Denton County Transportation Authority officials held a quintet of public meetings in Denton, Lewisville and Highland Village and on the campuses of Texas Woman’s University and the University of North Texas to discuss proposed changes to the January 2014 service schedule.
Although attendance could have been higher at the meetings, officials were able to come away with feedback that will help them in the future.
Kristina Brevard, the agency’s vice president of marketing and communications, said the most attended meeting was the one Saturday at the Euline Brock Downtown Denton Transit Center.
“The advantage of having it in the lobby — we got to speak with a lot of passengers [who were] at the DDTC to travel,” she said. “They didn’t necessarily come to the meeting, but they were able to provide feedback.”
Proposed changes for January include providing consistent trip frequency on Lewisville Connect and to improve trip frequencies on Denton Routes 1 and 6.
“From our bus passengers in Denton, they were very excited to hear about the proposed changes to improve the frequency,” Brevard said.
Another large part of DCTA’s presentations were the changes agency officials were considering to the way students purchase passes.
Staff suggested two options, a pass available by semester or annually and reduced pricing for regional student passes or the second option of a pass that would need to be purchased each day of travel.
Staff looked around the region to see how people were buying tickets and accessing the system.
“Dallas Area Rapid Transit has a different program than we do,” DCTA president Jim Cline said. The transit agencies try to keep fares and the fare structure as similar as possible for ease of use for riders who travel on more than one agency. “We started reviewing our fares and wanted to make sure they were appropriate. We’re trying to encourage ridership, be fiscally responsible, but keep our cost in line with the growing rate of riders.”
Cline said the DCTA wanted to look at what made sense for the agency and the customer, hence the slight reductions in region pass pricing, which was a little high.
After taking in comments and discussions, Brevard said that the majority of students spoken to prefer the current system.
“The students who were interested in the new option were non-commuter students,” she said. “They were more interested in having the ability to buy a reduced day pass as opposed to buying the semester or annual pass. That’s one of the things to discuss and decide how we move forward.”
Brevard said staff received good feedback regarding the new and improved Go Guide.
“We recently had some focus groups concentrating on passenger information and trying to improve how we show our route schedule,” she said. “We got a lot of comments on that especially from some who participated in the focus group.”
Brevard said officials would have liked more feedback at all of the meetings, not just the large amount they spoke to at the downtown center.
“We would like to improve the attendance. We will continually be looking at additional ways to gain feedback,” she said.
Brevard said people could make use of DCTA’s digital tools to give their feedback such as the Go Request, which is available on the website.
It’s a tool passengers can use to tell staff how the agency is doing. She noted the social media tools such as Twitter that people can use.
“There are many different channels our passengers can use to talk with us,” she said.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.