Friday, August 26, 2011
Mesquite looks to join DART system
The proposed express commuter service would run between Hanby Stadium and DART's Lawnview Station in Dallas.
The city of Mesquite prepares to take another step in the process to gain access to DART with a public hearing scheduled at 6:30 p.m. on September 13 in the DART Board Room, 1401 Pacific in Dallas.
"This is the next step in the process to evaluate the sustainability of investing in a long-range passenger rail system for the citizens of Mesquite. If there is enough ridership on this commuter service to a DART station, then we will look into moving forward on the plans to set the stage for building a public/private passenger rail system," said Jerry Dittman, assistant city manager.
Mesquite is the first non-DART member city to seek access to the system. In order for Mesquite to be allowed into the system, the DART Board of Directors had to make a change to its policy on April 12 to allow contract service with non-member cities. After the change in policy, the city filed a request April 27 to initiate planning for a connection between Mesquite and the DART Lawnview station. The city received a response from DART on May 16 indicating that the agency would begin working on policies, procedures, service plans and estimates to make the connection.
The public hearing is part of the process and is being held to receive comments on the proposed contract to operate weekday express commuter service as part of the city's long-term light rail initiative.
The proposed express commuter service would run between Hanby Stadium and DART's Lawnview Station in Dallas, part of the DART Rail Green Line.
The non-stop service would operate Monday through Friday at 30-minute frequencies during peak periods. The service would make 14 round trips from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., catering to commuters. DART will use two existing 40 pax vehicles on the service. Riders will purchase a DART system ticket for $7 per day or $100 per month. All funds collected from ridership will be kept by DART.
The city will use the project to obtain ridership numbers to help it solicit private investors to fund the construction of a future rail line from the city to the Lawnview station. DART will collect the ridership numbers and provide them to the city.
The project will be reviewed after six months to assess its performance. The proposed agreement that the city will enter into with DART and Mesquite ISD, who owns the parking lot being used for the project, will be for a one year period with two option years available.
The city council approved an allocated of $100,000 as part of the Quality of Life Corporation's budget to cover construction of a shelter required as part of the agreement. Dittman said the city will use a best value procurement to acquire the shelter.
For information on the meeting, the public is encouraged to contact DART Community Affairs at 214-749-2543. For information on Mesquite's transit plans, visit cityofmesquite.com/communications/transit.
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