By Jamil Oakford/ editor-in-chief
Students, faculty and staff who fear the traffic on I-35 will have another option as a public bus route between downtown Fort Worth, NW Campus’ aviation center at Alliance Airport and Denton starts Sept. 26.
For $2.50, riders can take the North Texas Xpress, which is an effort to satisfy a transportation need that the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, also known as The T, rolled out earlier this year.
“We spent a year gathering input from the community and then turned our attention to incorporating that feedback and finding ways we could serve more people in more places,” said Laura Hanna, Fort Worth Transportation Authority communications director.
The transportation authority not only saw the Alliance region as a growing and thriving area, it also saw an opportunity to serve NW students, she said.
NW president Elva LeBlanc remembers a time when a public transit bus previously ran between Fort Worth and the campus.
“It was around 1998 or 1999,” she said. “The T decided there wasn’t enough ridership to keep that route.”
LeBlanc believed that was something to learn from and said this lesson can be applied to the new route.
“We need to assure them [students] that there is some consistency,” she said.
Hanna said the benefits for students could range from monetary to psychological ease.
“The American Public Transportation Association estimates that the annual savings for a person switching from car to public transit is $8,945 annually or $745 per month,” she said. “Traveling by bus is more relaxing, and you can use that time catching up on email or social media instead of stressing out in traffic.”
Traveling by bus will also offer students a chance to study on the bus, something students can’t do while driving, LeBlanc said.
“It’s important people know the schedule and where to go,” she said. “The more people that use the bus, the greater chance they can expand the route.”
The bus leaves the Intermodal Transportation Center and operates between 5 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday. Riders can expect a 45-minute window between pickups. The stop will be placed at the Erma Johnson Hadley Center of Excellence for Aviation, Transportation and Logistics at 2301 Horizon Drive. Weekly passes cost $17.50 while monthly passes are $60.