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5/6/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

DART's 2003 report cites ridership increase, expansion plans



Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) recently released its fiscal-year 2003 annual report, which notes increased ridership and decreased sales tax revenue, as well as completed cost-cutting measures.

The agency’s light-rail ridership increased 24 percent due to an extension serving Garland, Richardson and Plano, Texas, which opened in 2002. However, DART lost revenue from a one percent sales tax that funds 80 percent of the agency’s operations.

In FY2003, DART cut operating costs $10 million by adjusting or eliminating routes, and increasing headways on off-peak service. The agency also cut $10 million in administrative costs by freezing salaries, implementing a one-time voluntary early retirement incentive program and cutting jobs.

But the agency increased monthly and annual pass sales through a new online and revamped annual pass program.

DART continued work on a 35-mile light-rail expansion, connecting downtown Dallas with Fair Park, South Dallas and Pleasant Grove to the southeast, and Carrollton, Farmers Branch and Las Colinas Urban Center to the northwest. When complete, the $2.5 billion expansion is expected to add 60,000 daily riders to the system.

The agency also began its 2030 Transit System Plan, under which officials are looking at employment and growth trends to identify key corridors that will require transit service in the future.


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