With work set to begin soon on the Interstate 35E expansion project, we believe the time has come for commuters to consider getting out of their cars and climbing aboard the A-train whenever it’s feasible.
The Denton County Transportation Authority has launched a yearlong marketing campaign to encourage the idea, and we hope that motorists are paying attention.
Normal traffic on the interstate is certainly no picnic, but once the 35Express project gets underway, the ongoing construction is expected to result in massive highway headaches and delays. All the pain and frustration should ultimately be worth it, but the payoff of expanded freeway capacity will be a long way down the road.
We understand that some people are reluctant to give up their personal vehicles to become A-train passengers, but considering the anticipated storm of traffic congestion, this could be the perfect time to try mass transit.
The change may not be as easy for some commuters as it will be for others and planning and coordination will be necessary to work out a travel schedule, but a little extra effort now should be well worth it when passengers can sit in comfort aboard the A-train and slide right by all the traffic tie-ups during the coming months.
And there’s something else to consider, as well. The more cars (and motorists) who can move off the highway to the A-train, the better for individuals who don’t have the option to take the train, said Kristina Brevard, DCTA’s vice president of marketing and communications.
The agency is looking to increase A-train ridership by 10 percent over last year with its new marketing campaign. The campaign will include billboards along the I-35E corridor, print ads, social media marketing, placards at gas stations and information on DCTA’s website at www.dcta.net.
“We are excited to launch our new campaign,” said Jim Cline, DCTA president. “DCTA is a leader in advancing public transportation alternatives, and with the upcoming I-35E construction, we wanted to inform commuters that the A-train is a viable option to help them avoid traffic and enjoy a hassle-free commute while traveling along the I-35E corridor.”
DCTA began A-train service in June 2011, and last September, the agency celebrated exceeding 1 million passengers on the A-train. Since the launch of the A-train, ridership has continued to grow.
“We have seen an increase in A-train ridership month after month since the launch of the commuter rail service,” Brevard told us. “With the construction on I-35E, we expect our ridership to greatly increase after construction has really ramped up.”
Officials said they also expect to be ready for ridership increases “the first time they shut down a lane on I-35.”
Why wait? Now is the time to visit the DCTA website and begin planning. The sooner residents become familiar with the A-train schedule and available connections, the better off they will be.
Avoiding the traffic nightmare the 35Express project will bring by taking the A-train will not only make life a lot easier and less stressful for individual commuters, but it should also help improve the overall traffic outlook for everyone.
Area commuters are fortunate the A-train is available to provide a viable alternative to driving and we encourage them to get on board.
Why fight traffic if you don’t have to?