DCTA gathering feedback on proposed on-demand system transition

April 20, 2021
The restructuring proposal aims to expand service area, add “virtual stops” in lieu of fixed route stops, improve regional mobility, as well as the rider experience.

Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) has started collecting feedback regarding its proposed network restructuring that would see the authority transition to a mostly on-demand service system and cease operation of the majority of its fixed-route bus service.

Via would operate the GoZone on-demand service within designated zones using dedicated vans that will be wheelchair accessible. Riders would book a trip through an app, call DCTA’s customer service line or visit DCTA’s Downtown Transit Center to book a trip in person. Once booked, the rider would be directed toward a “virtual bus stop” where a driver would pick them up.

“With the proposed GoZone service, pick-up and drop-off points will multiply compared to the existing fixed-route service. So not only do the proposed GoZones cover more territory, but they also provide more virtual stops which is a major convenience factor for users,” DCTA Communications Coordinator Kayla Laird wrote in a blog on the proposed service.

GoZone would replace all fixed route bus service in Denton and Lewisville, with the exception of Denton Connect Routes 3 and 7. Additionally, the University of North Texas shuttle and UNT Lyft program will remain in operation to ensure transportation around campus.

DCTA will collect feedback on the program through June 25 in preparation for a July 2021 presentation to the board. The GoZone service is scheduled to launch in September 2021, but DCTA notes any significant change to the plan would result in a delay in its roll out.

The transition to GoZone service would be implemented in two phases. Phase 1 includes roll out of base service in Denton and Lewisville/Highland Village, Sunday and holiday on-demand service, a Sunday A-train replacement service, a late-night “guaranteed ride home” service, and a Saturday service hours extension. To aid in the transition between the two service plans, DCTA plans to operate both its fixed-route services and GoZone services during the first two weeks. Following that, only service on fixed-routes 3 and 7 will remain and operate in parallel with GoZone service to evaluate which meets riders’ needs.

Phase 2A, which would launch in early 2022 would expand GoZone service to Castle Hills and incorporate Access services and Phase 2B would include the addition of weekday late-night hours. The final phase’s launch is targeted for the summer of 2022.

“We are looking forward to the enhanced quality of service, increased service area and extended hours of service that have been proposed for GoZone service,” DCTA CEO Raymond Suarez said. “The proposed GoZone on-demand rideshare service will improve the rider experience, enhance service delivery and build our efficiency as a mobility provider.”

Feedback can be provided to DCTA via dctafeedback.net and an interactive map of the proposed service is available at https://dctafeedback.net/gozone/map#/.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.