Low Numbers Could Kill A-Train's Late-Night Weekend Service

Routes average only one to seven riders

The Denton County Transportation Authority may soon do away with some of the A-Train's late-night weekend routes because of low ridership.

The agency is considering removing four trips on Friday and Saturday nights that run until about 1 a.m., most of which carry an average of one to seven riders.

"It really just doesn't have the ridership that we'd hoped that it would have," said Dee Leggett, DCTA vice president of program development.

The late-night runs, which have been going for the last 18 months, were intended to encourage ridership to and from events in both Denton and Dallas.

The DCTA held the first of our public meetings on possible changes to the schedule in Highland Village on Thursday night.

Leggett said that citizens who attended suggested moving the trips to times that would get more use or using the funding on additional bus routes.

"We're looking at moving some of those trains to maybe providing some earlier trip opportunities on Saturday for people that want to take their family to the zoo or come up to Denton and enjoy all the downtown area has to offer," she said.

But the late-night trips have historically had a lot of support from city leaders and business owners who like the extra access to downtown, Leggett said.

Mark Sheehan, an A-Train rider from Lewisville, said he likes having the option on the late nights for safety's sake.

"I actually think it's kind of convenient because I hate riding my bike in the dark," he said.

Sheehan said he understands the DCTA's concerns because he is often the only one on the train when he is on a late-night ride. But he hopes the agency will give it a little longer to gain some popularity, he said.

"Stick with it for a while and then advertise it more," he said.

Other riders say it's time to ditch the time slots and put them to better use.

If not enough people are using the routes, eliminating them would probably save money, too, rider Ricky Bias said.

Leggett said the late-night routes are the only place the A-Train is lagging in right now.

"Ridership across the board is going up about 42 percent ... year over year," she said.

Leggett said she hopes the numbers can continue to rise with help from the community at the public input sessions.

People can weigh in on April 20 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Lewisville Municipal Annex or from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Downtown Denton Transit Center. The fourth meeting will be held April 24 from noon to 1 p.m. at the University of North Texas Business Leadership building.

The DCTA will decide on recommendations in May.

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