MESQUITE (CBSDFW.COM) – Getting to and from Mesquite is a little easier for commuters now.
Monday, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) expanded bus service to the city, and the long-term goal could bring even more public transportation options in the future.
The commuter shuttle runs every 30 minutes during the morning and afternoon rush hours, providing service from a park-and-ride lot near Mesquite’s Hanby Stadium to Lawnview Station in Dallas.
“I love it,” said Mesquite resident Elma Cortinas. “We were waiting for it for a long time.”
Commuter T.R. Loyd agreed saying, “I’m glad they’ve got it.”
Many commuters hope the new express bus route will save both time and money.
“I think it will actually save a lot of money, because I only live three minutes from here,” explained Laquitha Hasley, “and my kids go to Mesquite High School, so I can drop them off, park here get on the bus, go to work and I’m done.”
The service is a result of an agreement between DART and the City of Mesquite.
It’s the first partnership of its kind between the agency and a city outside of the DART network.
“The purpose is to help people who have to commute to Dallas or anywhere else serviced by a DART to have an option to just getting in their car and driving every day,” said Assistant City Manager Jerry Dittman. “We all know that we can’t build our highways fast enough in this region, so we’ve got to have other options.”
To ride on the new route, bus fare is $7.00 daily, $35 a week, $100 a month, or $1000 annually.
The fare also allows travel on all DART services, including the Trinity Railway Express, which runs all the way to Fort Worth.
“I don’t like getting stuck in traffic, and I felt it was more efficient,” said Cortinas, “I travel about 40 to 50 miles a day to get to work, so it makes it a lot easier.”
Loyd said part of his motivation came at the service station. “The gas, just the price of gas” he said, “It was costing almost $100 a week to go to and from work, that just adds up after a while.”
If the bus service is a success, Mesquite hopes to eventually bring rail lines to the city in the future.
“We’re trying to build mobility for the region, and the best way to do that is with a good solid rail system,” Dittman said, “You can move more people more efficiently with a rail system than you can any other mode of transportation.”
While a rail system is still years out, Dittman believes it will drive more development to the city, once it finally happens.