When it comes to TCU and the Fort Worth Transit Authority, the free ride is over.
For the past 11 years the TCU community has had the option of using the Fort Worth Transit Authority (FWTA), where riders could obtain a free regional transit pass to travel the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
FWTA stopped issuing free regional transit passes to TCU students, faculty and staff late last month. The program wasn’t economically sustainable.
But there’s still options available for those who utilize public transportation in the area, according to an e-mail sent to the TCU community by Michael Russel, assistant vice-chancellor for student affairs.
First, the BLUU information desk will have daily local bus passes available for the TCU community, which the university purchased from FWTA. These are for the local buses only, not for the TRE or DART.
The nearest local bus stops are on campus on University Drive, and also by the 7/11 gas station on W. Berry Street.
The local bus passes TCU is providing are free. Students are limited to seven passes a week; faculty and staff are limited to five a week. To be able to ride the buses, students must show each driver their student ID.
Members of the TCU community may pick up their daily local bus passes at the BLUU Information Desk only, from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., any day of the week.
Another option for those seeking to use public transportation in the area is the FWTA’s EasyRide Commuter program.
Students that wish to ride the TRE and/or the DART may “obtain a regional monthly pass that includes FWTA bus services in Fort Worth, TRE (train) to and from Dallas and DART Services on the Dallas side,” according to Russel’s e-mail.
According to FWTA’s website, “participants in EasyRide can choose services from the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, Trinity Railway Express, Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Denton County Transportation Authority.”
As of recently, the FWTA decided it will not require students to purchase a $2 FWTA ID card for local day passes for this program. However, a FWTA ID is required for regional passes.
Russel said the FWTA nor himself has the information as to how many students used the regional transit passes in the past. The number of free transit passes used by students was never tracked.
But, he said TCU would receive 10,000 passes from the FWTA each year. Russel said he guesses that half of them were picked up and never used.
Russel also said TCU’s daily local bus pass program is temporary until a better plan is created. He said he estimates that a new plan won’t be set forth until at least a year from now.
“Ultimately, my goal is whoever depends on the ride, that we can make it as easy as possible for them,” Russel said.
The FWTA was unavailable for comment.
This story has been updated to reflect the correct amount of passes given to TCU students in the past.