Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is adding 41 new buses that come with chargers for your electronic devices.
The agency is bolstering its fleet in anticipation of service changes that are coming in August.
The new buses are the XN-40, made by New Flyer, based in St. Cloud, Minnesota. They're fueled with clean Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and are 40 feet long. To date, 13 of the new buses have been delivered from St. Cloud, with an additional three arriving weekly.
DART plans to deploy the New Flyer buses on peak schedule adjustments by straightening out, simplifying, and improving access on several routes in and around Dallas beginning August 12.
The new buses come with USB ports on 33 of the seats, allowing commuters to charge their electronic devices while riding. Other new features include bigger monitors for showing transit info; vinyl upholstery on the seats; and flush-mounted tinted windows.
The vinyl seats replace cloth. The practical advantage is that vinyl allows you to see if the seats are wet before you sit down.
DART spokesman Mark Ball says that since the new buses are being manufactured by another company — the former were built by NABI — they look slightly different, with a sleeker appearance and a smoother, quieter ride.
DART operators will have a barrier door shield and a sliding window, automatic passenger counters; and a new on-board battery management system.
"But the key is that they'll help us with our service changes planned for late summer when we need more vehicles to put into service," Ball says.
They're trying to add frequency similar to rail, IE every 15 to 20 minutes — changes that represent a major step in the creation of a long-range Transit System Plan.
Some are also targeted in the Route Restructuring section for straightening and/or realignment to reduce duplication, as follows:
- 404 Westmoreland: Realignment on south end
- 409 Peak/Haskell: Parkland-MLK, Jr. stations only
- 466 Ledbetter: Buckner Station-AEFES
- 467 Buckner: Frequency change only
- 583 Skillman: Realignment near the Village, Timber Creek