Arlington Finally Embraces Public Transportation – But Not Buses

For years, Arlington has been one of the biggest cities in the country without buses or other forms of public transportation.

But not anymore.

Within a month, the third-largest city in North Texas kicked off a unique ride-share program and declared an interest in high-speed rail.

The ride-share program, called Via, has already given nearly 5,000 rides, city officials said.

People use an app similar to Uber to summon a ride.

Ten vans criss-cross central Arlington picking up passengers for a flat $3 fee.

“It’s going really well so far,” said Alex Lavoie, Via’s general manager in the United States. “We’ve been really encouraged by the level of ridership." 

City officials agree and plan to expand the hours and geographic boundaries.

"I think the city is lucky we have a little bit of clean slate to work with,” said Arlington’s transportation planner Alicia Winkelblech. “We're also very interested in innovative technology-based transportation solutions."

That means Arlington has no plans for big public buses like most cities use.

But that leaves a lot of other options -- like high-speed rail.

Arlington declared its interest on Tuesday after pressure from Dallas leaders.

"The city is really supportive of high speed rail,” Winkelblech said. “We're really excited about the potential of high speed rail between Dallas and Fort Worth with a station in Arlington."

A Dallas-to-Fort Worth rail line is likely years away, and the final decision about whether Arlington will participate would be up to voters.

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