The operational experience of The T’s drivers would also prove indispensable in the effort to cut costs. Route 26 actually showed the second highest RPI of the system at 1.4, but still had room for improvement according to the bus operators on the Route Monitoring Committee. They suggested eliminating service on Route 26 after 7:00 p.m. in the evenings because the highest ridership portions of that route were also covered by Route 2, a larger bus which had excess capacity after 7:00 p.m.
A number of other suggestions from the Route Monitoring Committee and planning and scheduling staff were implemented as well, altogether reducing total bus hours by 4.5 percent and saving approximately $800,000 per year.
Even as The T’s planning team reduced service, it was simultaneously being challenged by residents, developers, its cities and region to continue planning for service expansions for its less dense outlying areas with at least four express bus park and ride stations, eventually to be coupled with train stations and bus feeders for the new commuter rail, which at its northern end will reach the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and ultimately connect with the two other transit agencies in the region.
In the meantime, The T’s planners are also taking advantage of stimulus funds and other capital grants to enhance its inner core service through transit signal priority, a new bus transfer center and its first bus rapid transit system, scheduled to start during 2011.
The interest and support by Greater Fort Worth and Tarrant County leaders for transit expansion to address congestion and mobility issues and future growth is so great that one of The T’s planners is currently dedicated to expediting the completion of a new 25-year strategic plan to help ensure an expanded and enhanced transit system for the future.