Arlington to End Bus Service, Replace with Rideshare App

A new transit option is coming to Arlington.

The third largest city in North Texas has no public transportation right now except for one bus called the Max. It runs one route from the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and connects to other transit at CentrePort station south of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

"We're dependent on this," said UTA Senior Yolanda Easley. "We are coming from Plano, Richardson, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Mesquite and this is the only bus Arlington has."

Vianey Hernandez and Kathya Sandoval take the Max to campus every day, and they don't know what they'll do when the bus stops rolling.

City leaders say ridership on the Max has always been low. It's a pilot program and it expires at the end of the year.

"It makes me very angry that they're taking away the only way I can get to school," Hernandez said.

This week, city council approved an alternative rideshare service called Via. Users can request a ride through the app, then meet other riders at a designated point nearby and take a shuttle together to different stops.

City Councilwoman Roxanne Thalman says the Max could never serve enough people, and the city sees expanding traditional bus service as public transit of the past.

"We're wanting to look forward into the future, find something that's innovative, that's going to work for the most amount of people for the least amount of cost," Thalman said.

NBC 5 showed the app to Max riders and asked if it would help them.

"No," Easley said. "Only because everybody up here, we don't have the same schedules."

Easley is posting signs and passing petitions calling to "Save Our Bus" and keep commuters on track.

"We're students, we're good people, just trying to get an education," Easley said.

The city says the Max is expiring either way, since the pilot program is done and can't be renewed.

The rideshare service Via will be a flat $3 fee wherever you want to go. There's a number to call if you don't have a smart phone, and an option to use vouchers instead of a credit card.

Via goes live Dec. 11. The coverage area will phase in starting with downtown, the entertainment and hospital districts and CentrePort station.

UTA won't have service until the second phase.

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