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DCTA’s free ride good for UNT fans

We were already looking forward to New Year’s Day and rooting for the Mean Green against the University of Nevada at Las Vegas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, but now we have even more to cheer about.

The Denton County Transportation Authority is teaming up with the University of North Texas to provide a good way for fans to get to and from the game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas — a free ride on the A-train.

This is a big game for more reasons than one — it’s the Mean Green’s first bowl trip since 2004 and it will help put not only the university but also Denton and the entire North Texas area in the spotlight.

Service on New Year’s Day is not usually offered by the DCTA, but the agency will run a special game-day service on the A-train down to Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Green Line for fans with passes obtained from DCTA or UNT, said Kristina Brevard, DCTA vice president of marketing and communications.

The passes needed to ride the A-train are free and, beginning Thursday, they can be picked up at either the UNT athletics ticket office or the Euline Brock Downtown Denton Transit Center. There is a strict limit on one pass per person, so each rider must pick up a pass in person.

The free part of the ride is only to the Green Line — once there, passengers will have to pay DART’s fare for a trip on the Green Line.

The A-train, which runs between downtown Denton and DART’s Trinity Mills Station, will depart from Denton promptly at 8:30 a.m. on game day, Brevard said.

The A-train will stop at the Trinity Mills Station, where passengers need to transfer to the southbound DART Green Line train. Passengers must present their transit passes to DART fare enforcement on the Green Line trains.

The Green Line train will arrive at the Fair Park Station at approximately 10:11 a.m., and the Cotton Bowl is a short walk from the station.

Passengers must have their pass for the return trip because it will need to be presented to DART’s fare enforcement on the return trip to Denton.

Officials are encouraging passengers to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early to allow adequate time for parking.

Limited parking is available at the Downtown Denton Transit Center with ample parking available at the city’s public lot at Exposition and Hickory streets, Brevard said.

Jamie Adams, assistant athletic director of marketing for UNT, told us that officials want to make sure that everyone who shows up for the train will be able to ride, so they will be looking at the number of people who pick up a pass to see whether or not there will be a need to talk with DCTA about a second trip.

Like we said, getting to cheer on the Mean Green in a bowl game for the first time in several years is reason enough to celebrate, but we commend the DCTA and UNT for teaming up to sweeten the deal by providing free A-train service on this special day.

Thanks to them, fans won’t have to fight traffic on area freeways to get to Dallas in time for the kickoff.

That’s a huge incentive for Mean Green supporters, so we should be able to pack the Cotton Bowl to show the team how much we appreciate their standout season.

Sounds like a great way to start off the new year.