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Abstract: In the spring of 2000, planners at Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), the regional public transit agency serving the Dallas metropolitan area, had to decide whether to cancel or modify a poorly performing bus route serving the suburban cities of Garland and Rowlett. The route was typical of many that DART operated in the suburbs, so the decision raised basic questions about DART's strategy as a public agency, and particularly whether it could design suburban services that were useful and cost-effective enough to maintain the political and financial support it received from Dallas suburbs. The fact that the route is performing so poorly--losing $27 per passenger, for example--encourages students to think about more radical service and political strategies for the agency.
Learning Objective: This case is designed primarily for use in a graduate course in urban planning or urban transportation policy to illustrate the political and economic difficulties of designing effective public transit service in American metropolitan areas. It can also be used in a course on public management to illustrate the issues involved in developing a sensible and politically acceptable strategy for a public agency.