DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Area Rapid Transit is now providing fixed-route bus rides to paratransit riders for free.

Erin Hockman, the Chief External Affairs Officer for DART, said that offering free fixed-route rides to paratransit riders will help keep costs down.

“Our paratransit service is that critical door-to-door service for someone who is disabled and can not use the regular fixed-route service but it does come at a premium cost because of that door-to-door service and so as our population is aging we’re seeing a significant increase in the use of that service which translates to an increase in cost for DART,” Hockman said.

DART’s paratransit service requires riders to schedule rides 24-48 hours in advance whereas paratransit riders utilizing fixed-route service can take the bus whenever they want.

Marci Wenlund, a paratransit rider, said that she plans on using the fixed route service now that it is free.

“This is not as restricted. It’s nice to be picked up at my door and dropped off at the door. It’s something new and different, I like to try new things,” Wenlund said.

DART is also expanding its paratransit service range, however, it is coming with an increased cost to riders.

To learn more about paratransit at DART, visit this website.