Ridership Accelerates on Comet Cruiser Shuttle Bus
Oct. 3, 2008
The number of boardings on Comet Cruiser — UT Dallas’ on-campus shuttle bus service — has risen dramatically, from 3,919 at its debut in January to 22,443 in August.
“Ridership held steady from the spring semester into summer in spite of the student population dropping by about half for the summer term,” said Nancy Branch, manager for the University’s Transportation Services Division. “It is a benefit to students, faculty and staff that is definitely being fully utilized.”
Comet Cruiser links the campus with the DART rail station at the Bush Turnpike, providing quicker access to the DART system for campus commuters. It was backed by a student vote in fall 2007, and students pay a transportation fee that supports the service. The program is also supported by a subsidy from University administration.
In a May survey, 55 percent of students found the service to provide an excellent or good value for the transportation fee. About 65 percent of student respondents reported being very or generally satisfied with the service, and 47 percent reported using public transit to get to campus at least once a week.
Comet Cruiser service is also an environmentally friendly option that provides commuters a link between campus and other areas via DART.
“I use the Comet Cruiser about twice a week because of the convenience. It’s a great service, and it even gives me extra time to study,” said Carmen Johns, a senior finance major. “I save the money I don’t spend on gas and help the environment at the same time, so it’s a win-win situation.”
In addition to helping commuters, Comet Cruiser ferries riders to shopping areas near the intersection of Coit Road and McCallum Boulevard, giving on-campus residents access to Tom Thumb, Home Depot, Target and nearby restaurants.
The Comet Cruiser line is identified as DART Route 883 and is open to the public as part of the DART system. The route runs on campus along Rutford Drive and Drive A.
The University also provides currently enrolled students, faculty, and staff with a DART Transit Pass, an annual pass program that permits bearers unlimited access to all DART services, including local and express buses and the light rail, as well as the Trinity Railway Express and The “T,” Fort Worth’s public transit system, all at no additional cost.
Branch said her office has so far issued about 3,500 passes for the 2008-2009 school year.
Media Contact: Teala Miller, UT Dallas Office of Media Relations, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]