Public Input Report on Possible Bus Service Cuts

Posted on January, 24 2024

bus riders

In November and December 2023, DART held public input on possible bus service cuts that could occur in the City of Des Moines over five years. 

DART shared the following information with riders and residents:  

  • The City of Des Moines’ contribution to DART is increasing under a new funding formula that the DART Commission adopted several years ago, intended to align cost with level of service for all member communities.
  • The new formula has resulted in the city’s contribution exceeding the maximum amount DART can collect in property taxes for public transit by $7.6 million through Fiscal Year 2029.
  • DART is asking the city to consider providing additional revenue to fund the contribution specified under the new formula. The Iowa Legislature gave the City of Des Moines the option of raising its franchise fee on gas and electric utilities to fund public transit. 
  • If DART does not receive additional revenue, the public transit agency will need to cut services by up to 40% over five years. 

DART sought feedback from riders and central Iowa residents on these topics:   

  • Whether DART should cut services or whether the City of Des Moines should increase its franchise fee to provide additional revenue to maintain existing transit services.
  • How DART should prioritize cutting services, if needed. 
  • How possible cuts to bus services would affect riders. 

Public Input Participation

DART thanks the more than 1,100 riders and residents who provided feedback during this process.

View the findings report. This report provides a summary of why DART collected public input, the activities completed, and an analysis of data collected. 

View the overall survey results here.

Next Steps

Information collected through public input has been shared with elected leaders who make funding decisions. 

The DART Board of Commissioners has proposed a compromise solution for the Des Moines City Council to consider that would avoid drastic service cuts and provide stability for DART riders and the region for the next few years. During that time, the Commission, staff and community will engage in a process of reimagining the regional public transit system to ensure a shared vision, funding and service model that meets the long-term needs of the region.

View the press release.

DART anticipates holding public input in mid-spring to share the specific service reductions that will take effect in November 2024, including specific route and schedule impacts, and to get feedback on the proposed changes.   

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