DCTA bus

Students get on and off a bus near the intersection of North Texas Boulevard and West Highland Street.

The Denton County Transportation Authority is asking its regular and occasional riders about zone bus service as part of its biennial passenger survey.

Zone service dispatches buses to a limited area. Instead of sending buses out on a fixed route and schedule, the buses go to select stops after being hailed by a rider via smartphone application. DCTA is considering exchanging as many as three fixed routes in southern and eastern Denton (Routes 1, 2 and 3) for zone service.

The agency has two contracts already with technology companies to help with this type of service and is considering more.

Several survey questions ask riders who have used existing zone service about their experience. Current zone buses cover the industrial parks in Denton and Lewisville. Lewisville’s zone bus runs workers directly from the A-train station to their workplaces. Denton’s zone bus runs workers from the Fouts Field parking lot at the University of North Texas.

The survey also asks riders who’ve never used zone service whether they would consider it — asking how long they’d be willing wait for a hail, how long they would be willing to ride, which areas to cover and whether they’d be willing to use a phone app in the first place.

The survey has fewer than 30 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. Riders have the option to complete the survey in English, Spanish or the Hakha dialect of Chin, which is spoken by many riders in Lewisville.

This is the fourth time DCTA has surveyed passengers to learn more about their service experiences and expectations. The first survey in 2013 netted 444 responses. The last survey, in 2017, netted 2,617 responses.

With the last survey, DCTA learned 63 percent of respondents were primarily using transit to get to school or work, while 13 percent were using transit to avoid traffic.

The latest survey results will be compiled and reported to the DTCA board of directors in June, according to spokeswoman Adrienne Hamilton.

The survey will be open all week and closes at 5 p.m. Friday, April 19. To encourage full participation, DCTA is giving away three $100 Amazon gift cards in a random drawing. Participants who leave their name and email address will be entered in the drawing.

The survey is available from a special link on the main DCTA webpage, dcta.net.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.

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