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Transit agencies to begin surveys to gauge demand, meet needs

the TRE trainTrinity Metro riders will be surveyed later this year.

The first phase of a regionwide transit survey will begin Feb. 3. Dallas Area Rapid Transit, McKinney Avenue Transit Authority and Trinity Railway Express (TRE) passengers are being asked to help planners determine the demand on the system.

Funded through a partnership between the North Central Texas Council of Governments, DART, Denton County Transportation Authority and Trinity Metro, the surveys will be conducted in two phases.

The first survey is an on-to-off survey that will attempt to measure demand. Upon boarding, riders on the larger DART bus routes (at least 1,000 riders per day) will be handed cards by surveyors wearing blue vests. Riders will return the cards when they get off the bus. On DART and TRE trains, passengers will simply be asked at what station they will disembark.

A subsequent interview survey will be conducted involving DART, MATA, Dallas Streetcar and TRE passengers beginning Feb. 24 to collect information about their trips, the fare and demographics. In most cases, this will occur through an interview by the surveyors. On express routes, passengers will be asked to fill out a paper questionnaire. Testing of the interview survey begins on a limited number of DART bus and rail routes during the week of Jan. 27.

DCTA and Trinity Metro riders will be surveyed later this year. Riders of Trinity Metro and DCTA vehicles can expect to be asked to participate in the on-to-off survey after Labor Day and the interview survey later in the fall.

The surveys are voluntary, and answers will be kept confidential. Questions regarding the passengers’ starting locations and destinations will provide details about why people are choosing transit and paint a picture of how the system is used. The survey information will allow transit agencies to better address demand and to plan future transit needs.

Dallas-Fort Worth is the fourth-largest region in the nation, with a population of 7.5 million, and is expected to grow to more than 11 million by 2045.

“As our region continues to grow, transportation choices are becoming more important so we can adequately serve the needs of people who live, work and go to school in North Texas. Our growing transit system is one of those choices people use every day to reach their destinations,” said Arash Mirzaei, a NCTCOG senior program manager. “The transit survey collects a sample of trip and user characteristics every five years. The data is collected through voluntary participation by the transit users. What we learn through the analysis of this data is essential in providing equitable and effective transit services in the region.”