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DART drives forward accessibility with Rider Assistance Programs

On October 18th, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Rider Assistance Program launched DART Rides and Collin County Rides. This program operates with both a dedicated fleet and Lyft to provide transportation to riders with eligible disabilities and older adults.

Jenna Dhanani

Last month, on October 18th, DART launched its Rider Assistance Program with Spare made up of two separate services: DART Rides and Collin County Rides.

Noah Berlin, Manager of Business and Planning at DART, shares, “The DART Mobility Management Services team is thrilled to use Spare Labs for our Rider Assistance Programs. Spare’s cutting edge technology solution will provide a new level of flexibility and reliability for our customers.”

The DART Rider Assistance Program (RAP) is a service for riders who may not qualify for ADA paratransit but who have a qualifying disability including cognitive, auditory, visual, motor and speech impairments that may restrict their mobility options. Customers can also qualify if they are 65 years or older. DART Rides operates in zip codes located in Carrollton, Dallas, Plano and Rowlett, as well as select areas in Addison, Farmers Brand and Irving, while the Collin County Transit Rides’ service area is located in the municipalities of Wylie, Allen and the Town of Fairview.

To take part in DART RAP, riders must apply for and meet the eligibility requirements. They then have access to travel throughout the DART service area or Collin County service area depending on where they reside. Fares are based on time and distance, and are calculated at the time of scheduling.

DART RAP previously operated on a legacy system that limited the agency’s ability to set up travel rules within the system and was unable to accommodate the dynamic fare structure of the service.

With Spare, DART RAP riders have access to a virtual wallet where they can securely store card information, making payments easy and seamless. Riders on the DART Rides and Collin County Rides services can take up to $50 and $125 worth of subsidized rides per month, respectively, and can be supplemented with their own personal funds as needed. Fares are subsidized with riders paying 25% of the cost of the trip until a certain threshold is reached each month.

The overall DART RAP service involves the use of both dedicated vehicles and Lyft. When matching vehicles, Spare takes into account mobility limitations listed in rider profiles. Riders are also able to bring guests or personal care attendants on their trips for a small fee of $2.00 per guest, demonstrating flexibility for improving the rider experience.

This is a groundbreaking initiative in offering mobility options to those over the age of 65 and for those with disabilities who do not qualify for paratransit. Providing inclusive mobility options makes it that much easier for those who rely on transportation to get around.