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Trinity Metro Wants To Give Fort Worth's East Lancaster Bus Route A Big Upgrade

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Leena Robinson
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Trinity Metro wants to transform public transit along East Lancaster, one of Fort Worth's most popular bus corridors.

Trinity Metro will hold virtual public meetings on June 15, 16 and 17 to give residents the rundown on a big proposal: switching from traditional bus service to bus rapid transit.

What is bus rapid transit? Trinity Metro Board Chair Jeff Davis described it as “light rail with rubber tires.”

Instead of buses that chug along in the same lanes as cars, BRT puts buses in their own dedicated lanes — much like how a train has its own dedicated track.

That means BRT buses don’t get stuck in traffic. They also get priority at stoplights. It’s a model other American cities have already adopted, including Indianapolis and Cleveland.

“It’s about half the cost of light rail, and you can move a lot of people,” Davis said.

The proposed route along East Lancaster would stretch about seven miles east from downtown to the Handley neighborhood. Davis said it could even extend to Arlington’s entertainment district, depending on what city leaders there decide.

A map showing the proposed stops for a bus rapid transit route on East Lancaster in Fort Worth. It shows 13 stops stretching about seven miles from downtown to the Handley neighborhood.
Advancing East Lancaster/Trinity Metro
A map of stops along the proposed East Lancaster bus rapid transit route.

East Lancaster has been an important route for more than a century. It was the main route for cars between Fort Worth and Dallas until the late 1950s, when what is today known as I-30 opened. The highway stole East Lancaster’s traffic, and business along the street withered.

Davis said improving transit is a way to attract business again.

“The development along East Lancaster has really been slow, and there’s a desperate need for workforce housing and for general housing. It’s not as populated as it needs to be,” Davis said. “There just aren't as many businesses as you really need to have along a major corridor in the heart of the Metroplex.”

Davis said the cost of the project sits at $160 million. Funding would come from various sources, including $50 million from the statet. The city would be on the hook for $25 million, and $5 million would come from Trinity Metro.

The BRT proposal is just that — a proposal. The plan is scheduled to be completed in December, and it will go to the City Council for approval.

If all goes according to plan, though, Davis said the first riders could be hopping on a BRT bus along East Lancaster in three years.

Got a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at msuarez@kera.org. You can follow Miranda on Twitter @MirandaRSuarez.

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