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DCTA wants to modernize services with its $90M in cash reserve funds

Riders can catch the bus to their next destination at the Downtown Denton Transit Center.
DRC file photo
Riders can catch the bus to their next destination at the Downtown Denton Transit Center.

Denton County Transportation Authority leadership is looking into the future of its transportation service as they discussed possible plans to retire diesel buses, replace A-train rail carts and modernize service fleets, thanks to the agency's more than $90 million in cash reserve funds.

DCTA leadership discussed details about the funds during the long-range financial discussion plan at the July 27 DCTA Board of Directors meeting.

Paul Cristina, DCTA chief executive officer, told the board the long-range financial plan is for the agency to compete for federal grant money four years from now.

“This long-range financial plan tells us that we need to have a long-range fleet replacement plan because what we hear from transit agencies is that in order to get federal discretionary money for fleet replacement, we have to have alternative fuel vehicles,” Cristina said.

Sherrelle Evans-Jones, DCTA's chief financial officer, told the board that the cash revenue estimate amount was from the last audited financial statement.

“This team could make the decision that we started with the first amount plus carving some of the $99 million off to begin to build that balance,” Evans-Jones said last week.

Although Evans-Jones stated $99 million at the meeting, but she did not respond to requests for clarification on the total amount by Thursday afternoon.

Cristina also recommended the board vote on next year’s $70 million proposed budget at the August 24 board meeting.

Ridership between April through June

As of July 27, there have been 2.1 million commuters who used DCTA transportation services, which include bus routes, A-train and GoZone services.

The July 27 agenda memo shows bus ridership between May through June has decreased due to the reduction of the University of North Texas bus services that was implicated on May 15 as the semester ended for students.

The July 27 DCTA report showed the bus route ridership numbers between April and June.

There were 165,842 bus riders in April — 79,338 in May — and 35,864 in June. According to the agenda memo, June’s bus trips were substantially below 54.8% from the previous month.

Compared to GoZone, 74,633 commuters used the service in April — 77,010 in May — and 71,434 in June. According to the agenda, GoZone’s trips were 7.2% below last month's total.

The report shows the A-Train service had 20,003 riders in April — 19,196 in May — and 17,879 in June.

While DCTA’s A-train ridership has declined over the summer, June’s 2023 A-train boardings were 22.2% greater than last year’s 14,636 monthly average train riders.

According to the April, June and July DCTA Board of Directors meeting agenda report, ridership services between January and July have increased steadily from last year.