DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, or DART, is facing a budge shortfall, which could result in a 40% cut in service to the City of Des Moines.
“A forty percent reduction in bus service in the city of Des Moines is significant,” said Erin Hockman, DART Chief of External Affairs. “So our service today is extremely tailored to ridership, and where that demand is we provide the most frequent service on the busiest routes.”
The reduction will depend on how the City Council wants to handle this. It’s either an increased franchise fee tax on utilities, or less bus service.
“Public transit in Iowa is funded through property taxes, and the city of Des Moines is contributing the maximum amount that they can through the transit property tax levy.” said Hockman. “However, the Iowa legislature did authorize that the city can increase their franchise fee by up to 2.5%.”
So now DART is gathering public ideas regarding what the city should do. There will be a series of hearings starting on November 30. Once that concludes the results will be presented for the Des Moines City Council to decide.
“The number one reason people ride DART is to get to work. We have a lot of individuals who rely on DART, and don’t have a car in the garage,” said Hockman. Sixty-one percent do not have access to a working vehicle, so DART is really their primary means of transportation.”
“If they cut about 40%, some people may not be able to get where they need to be at, ” said Dre Morty. “People without cars, we depend on DART.”
“I go almost every day on DART to somewhere, and go to a lot of my doctors appointments the grocery store different places,” said Cheryl Dunagan, of Des Moines. “I mean we need this DART service, more people use it all the time and two point five percent is not going to hurt that much.”
For more information on the hearings and possible service cuts check the DART website.