In an effort to encourage ridership of its A-train, Denton County Transportation Authority has launched two temporary free fare zones on the system.
For a limited time, rides between Hebron Station and Trinity Mills are free. Riders can park at Hebron Station and connect to Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Green Line light rail for free. At the DART station, riders can purchase a DART system pass instead of the more expensive regional pass.
Rides between Denton’s MedPark Station and Downtown Denton Transit Center are also free during the promotion, allowing UNT students to utilize free parking at MedPark and ride the train into downtown, then take a bus on routes 7 or 8 to the campus.
Fares will still be enforced between MedPark station and Hebron Station.
“Our goal for the new A-train free fare zone promotion is to encourage people to incorporate the A-train into their everyday commute,” said Jim Cline, DCTA president. “We want to get people where they need to go and recognize that providing more affordable options is a great incentive for residents of the many communities we serve to ride the A-train.”
The free fare zones are only temporary, though DCTA has not yet announced an end date. The official fare schedule has not been changed.
In 2016, the A-train gave riders a collective 8 million passenger miles, at a cost of $12.8 million. The per-mile cost was $1.59, nearly triple the 53.5 cents that the IRS currently allows for transportation in a passenger car. It’s also more than the 68 cents a mile that DART’s light rail system cost in 2014.
DCTA riders only paid a little over 6 percent of that cost though, according to the 2016 comprehensive annual financial report. DCTA’s primary funding source is a half-cent sales tax collected in Denton, Lewisville and Highland Village.
Over the long run, increasing ridership on the A-train would decrease the cost per passenger mile. DCTA communications manager Adrienne Hamilton said DCTA would review the impact the promotion has on ridership.
Hamilton said DCTA will notify riders in advance before the promotion ends through its website, rider alerts and social media channels to allow passengers to plan accordingly. For more information about DCTA’s new promotional A-train free fare zones, visit RideDCTA.net.