Toyota's in town and already bestowing gifts. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) received a $1 million grant from Toyota Motor North America, Inc. to support essential transportation assistance for residents in northern Collin County who need help getting to medical facilities and physician visits.
The grant was announced on April 5 during a "Hello Texas" event at the University of Texas at Dallas.
The service was previously operated by Texoma Area Paratransit Service (TAPS), which had been providing bus service but shut down in December 2015. The service was receiving interim funding from the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG). Toyota's funds will extend the subscription-based paratransit service for at least an additional 12 months. DART and NCTCOG are pursuing federal funds to match the grant monies and further support the service until a permanent solution can be found.
It is expected the Toyota grant will fund a taxi-type extension. It will be a subscription-based service for eligible seniors and disabled patrons who need non-emergency medical transportation. Customers pay a portion of the cost for each trip; the balance is funded by the grant. It is expected the extended service will be mostly provided by Collin County taxi operators.
Approximately 3,000 Collin County residents are registered for the subscription-based paratransit service. At peak, it provides up to 700 trips per day to and from medical appointments.
DART’s board of directors will vote on an agreement to accept the donation at the April 12 meeting. Receipt of the grant and the new service to paratransit-eligible customers will have no impact on DART’s budget or financial plan.
"We are grateful to Toyota for their leadership and commitment to their new home," says DART president/executive director Gary Thomas in a release, referring to the fact that Toyota is relocating its headquarters to Plano. "While we have excellent service in Plano, it is important that regional leaders find ways to connect those in other parts of Collin County to the services they need."
Toyota VP Latondra Newton applauds DART's commitment to community service. "Toyota is dedicated to helping the communities where we live and work and we look forward to working with DART to improve the quality of life for residents in our new home," she says.
In addition to moving North Texas residents, Toyota is moving full speed ahead on its One Toyota move to Plano, estimated at more than 1 billion dollars. The new TMNA 100-acre campus is on schedule for completion beginning in early 2017 with more than 50 percent of the construction timeline already achieved. This progress is thanks to the efforts of about 1,200 workers onsite pouring up to 500 truckloads of concrete in a single week.
More than 800 employees are expected to be working at Toyota's temporary offices in Plano by the end of 2016. By the time the facility is complete in 2017, it will employ about 4,000 workers.