DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Area Transportation is celebrating this holiday week. It’s the 10th anniversary of DART’s Central Station in downtown Des Moines. The transportation hub is used as a transfer point for buses as well as an easy access point for downtown.

Opened in 2012, the facility, which provides indoor seating as well as platforms making it easy for passengers to enter and exit buses, allows DART to continue growing.

Before the Central Station opened, DART used the Walnut Street Mall as its main transfer point.

DART Chief External Affairs Officer Erin Hockman said the facility has made riders’ experiences safer and more enjoyable. That’s been especially true during the winter months as riders can wait inside and avoid the cold.

“Not only do we have, you know, shelters above the platform to provide that outside, but there is a lobby at DART Central Station inside where now we also have access to a fabulous customers service team that can help people answer their questions, navigate the system and, you know, when it’s raining or snowing or just inclement weather, there’s a place people can wait inside for their bus,” she said.

Hockman added the Central Station is a symbol of DART’s vision to keep moving forward.

“DART was formed in 2006. This building opened just six years later in 2012,” she said. “And it’s really a created to, you know, the Board of Commissioners for DART at the time and our local leaders and officials who had a vision for providing a world-class transit hub to provide, you know, connections throughout the region for people.”

Hockman also said the facility is certified “LEED Platinum.” That means it was built and operates in an environmentally-friendly manner.

To celebrate the Central Station’s 10th anniversary, DART is offering free rides on all routes through Saturday. There will be no service Thursday during the Thanksgiving holiday.