Gridlocked: Taking a Ride on the North Texas XPress

Using public transit to get from Denton to Fort Worth promises to get even easier.

Less than a year after launching the North Texas Xpress, the Denton County Transportation Authority and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority are looking to improve the bus service in 2018.

Before the North Texas Xpress, people using public transit would board three different trains to travel first from Denton to Dallas and then from Dallas to Fort Worth.

"A rider that leaves Denton doesn't get off a bus at the county line and then have to get on another bus to go further south," said DCTA President Jim Cline. "We carry our bus all the way down to Fort Worth, and Fort Worth carries their bus all the way up to Denton."

Since launching the service last September, about 6,000 people have used the service.

"It's so convenient, it's nice, it's fast," said rider Mary Dyal, of Denton. "It's going to save us so much more time to get us to where we need to be."

Right now, a one-way trip with 15 stops takes as long as 90 minutes, but that time will be cut by almost a third next year once the new TEXpress Lanes are completed along Interstate 35W.

"The way those are run, they set it to have guaranteed speeds, and we'll really be able to deliver that service in the right way," Cline said.

The North Texas Xpress buses will use the TEXpress Lanes free of charge, allowing them to avoid congestion along I-35W and zip into downtown Fort Worth.

Eventually, DCTA and the Fort Worth T plan to use high-end buses to run the service.

"These are great buses we're running now," Cline said. "But we want to bring it up a notch and have it to where there's more over-the-road coaches, where there's Wi-Fi and power outlets, really make it where you can be productive, relax and really enjoy the commute time."

Already impressed with the current service, passengers look forward to boarding the new buses.

"That's going to be top of the line," said Jean Jones, of Denton. "Simply because it will be even quicker and more exciting."

"When we start talking about tying the whole Metroplex together, and serving everyone that has a need for this service, particularly all the growth we're seeing in the 35W corridor, it's going to be a really, really good thing," Cline said.

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