When the streetcar extension to Bishop Arts opens Aug. 27, the free D Link bus will be rerouted to serve Downtown only.
A new shuttle bus from the streetcar will make a square — Davis, Polk, Jefferson and Zang — every 20 minutes from about 9:30 a.m.-midnight, Monday-Sunday, compatible hours with the streetcar. This shuttle, which covers just about a square mile of Oak Cliff, will cost the regular fare — $2.50 one way or a $5 day pass for round-trips. The streetcar will remain free.
Neighbors attending a public meeting Thursday about the line’s opening were unsatisfied to hear that high fare for such a short ride — an Uber ride from the Kessler to the streetcar could cost about as much. The Downtown D Link will remain free because it is funded by DART, Downtown Dallas Inc. and the city of Dallas. A couple of neighbors suggested that Oak Cliff businesses could be rallied to sponsor the streetcar shuttle so that it would be free for riders, but it’s unclear how much that would cost. Funding the current D Link route costs about $700,000 a year.
Low ridership and car breakdowns have troubled the streetcar since its opening last year.
DART and the city addressed ridership by changing the hours to 9 a.m.-midnight, Monday-Sunday. It now has about 100 riders a day, but ridership is expected to continue increasing.
The streetcar opened originally with just one car, a prototype built by the Pennsylvania-based Brookville Equipment Corp. A DART official Thursday said DART now owns four streetcars, and with each one Brookville has delivered, the mechanics have improved. Two cars at a time will run on the new extended line, so there will be two for backup if breakdowns occur.
A grand opening party for the new streetcar line is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27.