Via On-Demand Proposed Service & Public Involvement FAQs
To improve the services the agency provides to its customers, DCTA has conducted extensive research on options for enhanced service delivery. Research findings concluded that an on-demand service model is the most advantageous service for both DCTA passengers and the agency overall.
DCTA is committed to improving mobility and livability in the communities it serves and wants to establish a unified and integrated platform that will enable the agency and customers to match travel needs and preferences.
Via & DCTA Fixed-Route Information
- What on-demand provider is DCTA planning to use for the on-demand delivery model?
On January 28, 2021, DCTA’s Board of Directors awarded the on-demand service delivery to River North Via. This award allows the agency to work with Via to develop a proposed service plan that can be taken to the public for review and input.
- When will this new service begin?
DCTA is estimating a service launch on September 6, 2021. However, any modifications to the agency’s plan could delay the launch date.
Agency staff plans on operating the new on-demand service in parallel to fixed-route service for a minimum of two weeks to aid in the transition from fixed route to on-demand.
- Can riders without smartphones use Via?
Yes, DCTA will ensure that any service delivery model is inclusive and accessible for those without smartphone access. Those without smartphones will be able to call DCTA’s customer service department and an agent will book a trip on behalf of the user.
- What would the fares be for on-demand riders?
The fare structure could vary. This is a discussion that staff plans to have with the DCTA board on April 7, 2021, to best inform the agency’s approach to fares. If the fare structure changes from the current fare structure, that information will be provided as part of the public involvement process so that staff can collect public feedback before the DCTA board makes a final decision.
- Will DCTA still provide wheelchair accessible transportation? Will Via provide wheelchair accessible and accessible vehicles in general?
Yes, both DCTA and Via will provide wheelchair accessible vehicles. In addition, DCTA will continue to provide Access trips to ADA-qualified passengers. Non-ADA-qualified passengers can utilize the Via on-demand service.
- Will all fixed routes and existing on-demand zones go away?
DCTA is proposing replacing all fixed-route Denton and Lewisville Connect Bus routes with Via on-demand service except for Denton Connect Routes 3 and 7. The agency will conduct a six-month service analysis by operating Routes 3 and 7 in parallel with Via on-demand service to best determine which service meets the need of the community.
Lewisville’s Lakeway On-Demand Zone, DDTC Evening On-Demand Zone and Highland Village Lyft Zone will also be replaced with proposed Via on-demand service.
The proposed Via on-demand service will cover areas that are currently served by fixed route and on-demand zones. In some cases, the proposed service will extend beyond our current service structure.
The University of North Texas (UNT) Campus Shuttles and Late-Night UNT Lyft program will remain in place as those services are determined on a contract basis.
The North Texas Xpress Route 64 will be removed and not replaced as part of the proposed plan. All other non-member city services will remain in place.
- Should DCTA replace fixed routes with on-demand services, how will the public know how to use the new service?
DCTA recognizes that educating customers on this new mode of service will be critical. The agency is committed to provide extensive outreach, marketing and communications efforts across the service area to educate passengers. DCTA’s customer service team also stands ready to assist passengers through this transition.
- Where can I find out more about Via?
Via’s website www.ridewithvia.com has a wealth of information about the company and their experience as a transit provider.
Public Engagement Process
- Will DCTA engage the public, passengers and stakeholders to present a proposed service plan to garner feedback?
DCTA began stakeholder involvement in early March 2021 by meeting with member cities and DCTA board members to review the service proposal in depth, ask questions and provide feedback. The collective feedback from these roundtables is currently being used to modify the final proposed service plan that will be taken to the public.
A robust public engagement period will be open from April 19 through June 25, 2021. DCTA will provide online and in-person opportunities to review the service proposal and provide feedback.
Once the DCTA board has approved the final proposed service plan, DCTA will reach out to the community to engage as many citizens and organizations as possible for their vital input. Agency staff will carefully review all public feedback and work through considerations and implications to ensure all information is presented to the DCTA Board of Directors in July 2021 when the board plans on formally adopting the on-demand service plan.
- Will a Title VI Analysis be conducted?
Yes, a comprehensive service equity analysis, also known as a Title VI evaluation analysis, will be conducted to ensure that changes to transit service and fares are consistent with Title VI policies defined by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Board policies defined by the Denton County Transportation Authority Board of Directors.
The FTA is responsible for ensuring that federally supported transit services and related benefits are distributed by applicants and recipients of FTA assistance in a manner consistent with Title VI, Section 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states:
No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
- How can I speak to a DCTA board member about the proposed on-demand service?
Citizens are welcome to provide public comments during DCTA board meetings. See agenda postings for instructions and process details. Citizens can also contact Lindsey Baker at lbaker [at] dcta.net (subject: Via%20On-Demand%20Meeting%20Request%20With%20a%20DCTA%20Board%20Member) to request a meeting with a DCTA board member.
- What if I want to speak to a DCTA staff member to ask questions and provide feedback?
Please contact Mary Worthington at mworthington [at] dcta.net (subject: Inquiry%2FFeedback%20for%20Via%20On-Demand) or 972-316-6121.
- Who do I contact if my organization would like a presentation during the public involvement process?
Please contact Mary Worthington at mworthington [at] dcta.net (subject: Presentation%20Request%20for%20Via%20On-Demand) or 972-316-6121.
- Where can I find information about the proposed service plan?
The proposed service plan will be available to the public in the April 7, 2021, board packet. Once approved, DCTA will promote a website dedicated to the public involvement process where a variety of resources can be found.