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Suarez: DCTA’s Sweet Sixteen: Celebrating Milestones and Gearing up for Positive System Enhancements

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Raymond Suarez, CEO, DCTA

by Raymond Suarez, DCTA CEO

It’s been quite a ride for us at the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA)! As we turned 16 on November 5, it’s a great time to reflect on the many things we’ve accomplished that have greatly benefited Denton County and surrounding areas, and positive changes we plan to implement to ensure we meet the expectations of our stakeholders, riders, partners and many communities we serve.

In the past few years, Denton County has become one of the fastest growing counties in the country with nearly 800,000 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Not to mention, both Denton and Collin County are projected to be the nation’s fastest growing economies over the next five years.

With this impending growth, it is our commitment to change the way we do business to offer more alternative mobility options to improve the quality of life where our residents live, work and play.

Fond Memories Over the Years

For the past 16 years, DCTA has accelerated innovative transportation solutions which have been critical to reducing traffic congestion and enhancing air quality, while contributing to orderly growth and development and improving the quality of life for Denton County residents. The agency has achieved many major milestones including:

  • Launch of A-train 21-mile commuter rail service in June 2011.
  • Partnered with the City of Frisco to launch new contracted demand-response service in December 2015.
  • Implementation of recommendations for the first and second phases of the agency’s Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA) study which provided enhanced services in Lewisville in August 2016, new Highland Village Connect Shuttle service in April 2016, and service improvements in Denton in May 2018.
  • Signed a new long-term rail operations and maintenance contract with First Transit, Inc. in June 2016 (one of the largest contract agreements in agency history).
  • Worked jointly with Trinity Metro to launch the North Texas Xpress commuter bus service in September 2016 which travels along I-35W which between Denton and Fort Worth which began.
  • Partnered in June 2017 with the City of McKinney and McKinney Urban Transit District (MUTD) to launch Collin County Transit – subsidized taxi voucher program that provides efficient transit options for participating MUTD cities.
  • Partnered with Lyft to provide first and last-mile connections within Highland Village and North Lewisville in January 2018 and enhanced the program in August 2018 by providing increased Lyft ride discounts for passengers.

What We’re Looking Forward to in the Future

One of DCTA’s main priorities is to ensure our system is prepared for future demands and changes to public transit. In the era of ride and bike sharing, we plan to be more versatile with our mobility options and will go after partnerships with innovative transportation companies. We will address the changing landscape of our service delivery by going beyond providing traditional transit and strategically moving towards a “suite of mobility offerings” for our riders.

In addition, we are laser-focused on strengthening our relationships and aligning our priorities with our member cities, stakeholders, riders and partners so we can better meet their expectations, stay relevant and continue our mission of improving air quality, mobility and livability.

Raymond Suarez is CEO of the Denton County Transportation Authority.

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