For a long time, Arlington was known as the largest city in America without public transportation.
But for the last two years, the city has been testing the waters with a trial bus service. Now, it appears the Metro Arlington Xpress – or MAX – is here to stay.
City Council members recently approved a contract to keep the MAX running for another year. The two-year pilot program was originally set to end in August.
That was welcomed news for Robert Corona, who said the MAX is his lifeline getting to and from Fort Worth.
“It’s very affordable and it’s convenient,” said Corona. “I don’t have a car.”
Other riders like Helen Sherrill shared his enthusiasm.
“I love it, I love it,” said Sherrill. “It’s so convenient.”
She’d like to see the service grow with more buses, more stops and weekend hours.
“I feel like that would be so much more beneficial for the city,” said Sherrill.
The MAX currently runs between UT-Arlington and Centreport, with a stop along North Collins Street. City officials said they intentionally started small with three stops to see if people would use the service.
“We had a range of 250 to 500 trips per day,” said Alicia Winkelblech, planning manager for the city of Arlington. “We’ve been within that range the entire extent of the pilot.”
Now that they know people are riding the MAX, expanding the service is something they’ll seriously consider during this third year.
“We’ll be taking a detailed look at short term and long term goals for transportation in the city of Arlington,” said Winkelblech. “We want to provide as many mobility options as possible.”
In addition to ridership numbers, who is riding the MAX was another key factor in the city’s decision to continue the service. Winkelblech said about 50 percent of riders are UTA students. The other 50 percent are commuters who use the bus to get to Dallas or Fort Worth.