FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Beginning Sunday, Fort Worth’s west side cultural district will just be a quick dash from the city’s downtown.
Four brand new bright red buses, branded as “The Dash,” will start a circuit route connecting locations like Sundance Square, with the popular West Seventh area, museums and the new Dickies Arena.
Buses are expected to make stops along the route every 15 minutes, opening up a new daily transit option for residents, and a direct route to attractions for visitors.
While a service of Trinity Metro, the regional public transit agency, the Dash looks nothing like the blue and white buses on city streets.
The bright red color, script logos and LED lighting can be seen from a distance. The all-electric, battery powered vehicles are nearly silent. There are charging outlets, wifi and video info screens on board.
The seating wraps around the perimeter, designed to let passengers face each other and carry on a conversation as they ride.
“You sit in your little group and talk, and sometimes you might meet visitors and talk about what’s going on in town,” said Wayne Gensler, Trinity Metro’s chief operating officer of bus and paratransit, during an early ride across town Friday.
The Dash had been in discussions for years as a way to link the two section of the city, and provide traffic relief during crowded weekends.
The four buses and a charging station were purchased for just under $5-million dollars, using a grant from the North Central Texas Council of Governments. The city of Fort Worth and private business and organizations along the route contributed to paying for additional operating costs.
When the service launches Sunday, rides will be free through October 31, much like the early preview offered on TEXRail this year, the rail line that now runs from Fort Worth to DFW Airport.
Ride costs will be $2 one-way after that, or $5 for a day pass.
Gensler expects residents west of downtown to be the first to utilize the new service, followed quickly by the downtown work crowd, and tourists who may no longer need a car when they come to town.
“Go downtown have dinner,“ he said. “A responsible way to get downtown enjoy yourself and then get back home.”