The Mesquite City Council authorized a supplemental agreement to the current Interlocal Agreement with STAR Transit to provide additional transit options, including a new Mobility on Demand service.
“This new agreement allows the city to better address the transportation needs of our growing and diverse community. It demonstrates our eagerness to adapt our programs to continue reliable public service to our customers,” City Manager Cliff Keheley said in a press release.
Keheley presented details on this item to the council during the pre-meeting.
The city currently offers two services, Demand Response – where riders call in to schedule a trip and are taken to their destination – and COMPASS – which services from Hanby Stadium to DART’s Lawnview Station.
Demand Response is available to Mesquite residents who are 13 and over. This service takes riders anywhere in STAR Transit’s service area and outside the area for medical appointments.
The fare is based on direct travel distance from the origin to the destination; discounted fares are available for those 60 years old and over, veterans and disabled riders. Fares range from $1 to $12.
“Last year we had reduced the service to eliminate midday service, which allowed us to expand some of our Demand Response services that we provide,” Keheley said of COMPASS.
The proposed plan moving forward is to make no changes to the Demand Response service.
“We are going to further reduce the COMPASS hours and use the savings from the reduction in COMPASS hours to implement Mobility on Demand,” Keheley said. “What this does allow is it increases Demand Response supplemental with Mobility on Demand by 16 to 24 hours. We’re basically achieving 106 total hours of daily service.”
He added that the decision to reduce COMPASS service had to do with public feedback.
“A lot of the current riders came out and made a case for leaving the fixed route service in place between Hanby and DART. We’re not proposing any additional stops along there, but we’re also reducing the number of trips that we make,” Keheley said. “Instead of serving it on an every half hour basis, we will serve on an every hour basis. We still feel like we can provide all of those services and not impact those current riders.”
Mobility on Demand is new to Mesquite, and customers can request a rider via STARNow app or by calling 877-631-5278. The ride is expected to arrive within 15-20 minutes, with advance scheduling options to be available.
Rides within the travel zone will be $3; qualified seniors 60 and over, veterans and disabled riders will be $1. This service will be operated by STAR Transit drivers in a smaller vehicle with the age requirements for passengers to ride alone to be 13 and over.
“We’re encouraging people to think small at the beginning. We want to make sure we understand the service, understand how it works and we can educate people. It’ll always be easier to grow the zone rather than shrink it,” Keheley said.
The proposed zone will serve about 12,000-16,000 people, make 50 trips a day with an average wait time of 11 minutes. The zone will include DART’s Lake Ray Hubbard Transit Center and travel to Hanby Park and Ride and I-30.
“It covers two of the areas that council identified as major areas, which was the Town East Mall and Dallas Regional Medical Center district,” said Keheley.
COMPASS revisions will be implemented on Oct. 1; same-day Demand Response service will be available. Mobility on Demand/STARNow app will launch in November. The Mobility on Demand service will be available from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday - Friday.