Bike to Work Week


May is National Bike Month, and DART is celebrating with Bike to Work Week. Board with a bike May 12-16, 2014, and you’ll ride free.

Bike racks are available on all DART buses. Riders are responsible for loading, securing and removing their bikes from the racks.

Putting Bikes on the Bus Rack

  • Ensure the bus is completely stopped before stepping in front of the bus.
  • If the rack is in the upright position, squeeze the release handle on the top and lower the rack.
  • Lift your bike into the wheel slots. If there is already a bike on the rack, load yours in the opposite direction in the remaining slot.
  • When your bike is loaded, lift the support arm up and over the front bike tire as close to the bike frame as possible.

Removing Bikes from the Bus Rack

  • Exit the bus through the front door, letting the operator know you will be unloading your bike.
  • Lift the support arm from the bike’s front tire and take it out of the rack.
  • If the rack is empty, raise the rack up against the bus.

For complete instructions on how to load and unload your bike, click here.

For more information about DART services or this promotion, please call Customer Service at 515-283-8100 or email


In a Van, I Can…

Count the cattle.

Eat a breakfast sandwich with both hands.

And save 25% off three month’s fare.

Individuals who join a DART RideShare vanpool in April or May 2014 will receive a 25 percent discount on the first three month’s fare.

RideShare connects commuters who live and work near each other so they can share rides. Vanpoolers save money, use commute times more productively and reduce their carbon footprint. RideShare provides the van, gas and maintenance; you enjoy the ride.rideshare coupon

To join a vanpool, redeem a trial ride coupon or learn more, contact DART RideShare Customer Service today by phone at 515-288-RIDE (7433) or email at

Public transit use on the rise in Greater Des Moines

Increases follow investments in DART Central Station, DART Forward 2035 Plan

Use of public transit is on the rise in Greater Des Moines, DART ridership data shows. DART’s ridership increased more than 7 percent in the first six months of fiscal year 2014, compared to the same period of fiscal year 2013. Ridership totaled 347,213 in December – a 15 percent increase over December 2012.


Ridership figures for the month of December are especially significant, because December is the first reporting period for which year-over-year comparisons can be made on all of DART’s individual routes after the network redesign of 2012. (A list of the fastest growing routes is included below.)

“The region’s investment in public transit is paying off,” said Steve Van Oort, Polk County Supervisor and Chair of the DART Commission. “People told us they would ride DART more often if the bus went more places, more frequently, with faster travel times – and that’s what we’re seeing happen in the numbers.”

The ridership gains follow significant investments into the region’s public transit system:

  • The $21 million DART Central Station opened in November 2012 in downtown Des Moines, providing riders with a much-improved experience over the former Walnut Street Transit Mall;
  • A redesigned and expanded network of bus routes was implemented in June and November of 2012 as part of the DART Forward 2035 Plan;
  • Service improvements, including frequency additions, a new route and  later hours, were made in August 2013;
  • Technology enhancements such as the MyDART Trip Planner BETA were launched in October 2013, making it easier for people to plan their trips on transit. People can now also search for transit directions using Google Maps and Bing Maps.

Additional improvements will be made in the coming year as part of the DART Forward 2035 Plan. Real-time bus location information will become available later in 2014. A new fare collection system with smart cards will be added in late 2015.

DART promoted the improved routes in October 2013 during Try Transit Week, a seven-day promotion that resulted in 108,000 rides – a 20 percent increase over the previous week’s total of more than 90,000 rides. In February, DART will host “DART Date Night” on Friday, February 14, offering free rides after 5 p.m. for Valentine’s Day.

Fastest Growing New or Improved DART Routes

Route Name

Service Improvement

December 2012 Ridership

December 2013 Ridership

Percent Increase

Route 60 – Ingersoll/University

New route



67 percent

Altoona Express Route 99

Added trips



44 percent

E.P. True Express Route 96

Service to Jordan Creek



41 percent

Jordan Creek / Valley West Crosstown Route 52

New route



36 percent

Flex Route 72 – West Des Moines and Clive

New route; replaced WDM On Call



35 percent

Route 15 – 6th Avenue

Streamlined route



26 percent

Route 6 – Indianola Avenue

Streamlined route; added frequency



24 percent

Route 17 – Hubbell Avenue

Streamline route; added frequency



22 percent

Ankeny Express Route 98

Midday service added



21 percent

New Register reporter on the DART beat

Good morning, readers.

The Bus Blog is pleased to report that journalist, blogger and editor Daniel Finney of The Des Moines Register is now covering DART.

Finney’s primary role at the newspaper is a cops reporter, but like so many in that newsroom, he wears many different hats, and his rack now includes a DART cap. As a former colleague of his, I can tell you that he’s sharp, fair-minded and a talented writer, as the many readers of his popular blog “DM in the PM” know.

Check him out on Facebook, Twitter, and his DM in the PM blog for the Register.

Finney’s first story is an important one for DART. It’s on the DART Forward 2035 planning study and the potential it has to reshape public transit in Greater Des Moines. He was reporting on it this week and the piece should publish in the next week or so.

In other media news, your editor recorded an interview this morning with Adam Hammes, host of GREEN CITY on KFMG 99.1. We talked about DART, its service, its projects, new technology, and about how I use DART’s service personally. The interview airs at 9 a.m. Friday, April 15.



This week’s meetings: Asking big questions about future of public transit

Good morning, Readers.

Your editor of The Bus Blog is incredibly excited for this week. DART staff and the DART forward 2035 planning consultants will be out meeting with riders and the general public, asking some pretty big questions about the future of public transit in Greater Des Moines:

What key destinations should DART serve?

Should the service focus on work trips or other types events such as social events and shopping?

If you had to choose between more frequent service or a larger area of service, which one would you pick?

Should the Des Moines region invest more or less in public transit?

If you care about the answers to any of these questions, please join in the discussion.

Fill out the online survey if you haven’t already:

And definitely come to at least one of the public meetings:

  • Des Moines Central Library, 1000 Grand Avenue
    • 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 5
    • 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 6
  • Urbandale Public Library, 3520 86th Street
    • 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 5
  • Ankeny City Hall, 410 West First Street
    • 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7

Your editor had the opportunity to meet with several members of the media last week to tell them about the planning study and its potential for bringing great change to the transit system as we know it today.

(Check out this piece on ABC 5 this weekend:

One question that more than one reporter asked: What can meeting-goers expect at the public meetings this week?

This round of meetings will be about reviewing the research done by the consultants so far, and then imagining the possibilities. In other words, at this stage, the proverbial route map of the future is a blank slate.

We want to hear from the public before the consultants start “putting lines on the map.” Specific service recommendations will  drafted in time for this summer, when we’ll hold another round of public meetings to get feedback on those.

But for now, put on your planner’s cap and tell DART how you want public transit to develop over the next 25 years.

See you at the meetings!

— Gunnar Olson

A little fun at DART’s expense, Marc Hansen style

Good morning, readers.

If you haven’t already, check out Des Moines Register columnist Marc Hansen’s column this morning about the effort underway to name the new transit hub. Click here for the full column.

True to Hansen’s style, he pokes a bit of fun at DART but keeps it in pretty good humor. From his opening:

For lack of anything better, the bus bosses at the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority have taken to calling it the “Sustainable Multi-Modal Transit Hub,” which wobbles off the tongue like a flat tire. It’s Marion Michael Morrison starring in a Hollywood western instead of John Wayne.

The jabs are pretty light throughout. The one at the end, a they-said-it-not-me allusion to past pedestrian accidents, stung a bit. But hey, DART can handle a good ribbing once in a while.

Especially on a warm winter day like today when nothing can seem to get you down. Enjoy the weather while it lasts!

DART beat reporter resigns from Register, moves to Chicago sans car

Good morning, readers.

Please join The Bus Blog in bidding a fond farewell to Cynthia Reynaud, the DART beat reporter for The Des Moines Register. She has resigned from the newspaper to enroll at Loyola University in Chicago, where she will pursue a master’s in business with a focus in integrated marketing communications.

No word yet on the Register’s plans for covering DART in the future.

Reynaud covered DART for more than two years starting in 2009 and has been a regular at DART Commission meetings through an interesting period in DART’s evolution.  Though she kept any opinions of her own out of her articles, she treated DART fairly and reported accurately. At the end of the day, that’s all a a transit agency and its riders can ask for.

She is not leaving public transit behind her when she leaves Des Moines, however. Word has it she is moving to Chicago without a car, with plans to rely on public transit.

(Editor’s clarification: An earlier version of this post said Ms. Reynaud was pursuing a master’s in communications, when in fact she is pursuing a master’s in business with a focus in integrated marketing communications.)