DART launches on-demand shopping service this fall


The pilot of the new program will begin this fall at Ankeny, with another scheduled for West Des Moines shortly after.

DES MOINES, Iowa – When you think of carpooling, companies like Uber and Lyft probably come to mind first. But some Iowans will soon see another option unfold.

DART, the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, recently announced that it will pilot a microtransit program in central Iowa. The idea is to offer more flexibility to users than a traditional bus line with limited stops.

“It’s really appropriate for places where the destinations are more dispersed, and people may find it difficult to walk to a bus stop,” said Luis Montoya, director of planning for DART. “So they’re able to take a door-to-door service, rather than having to navigate a bus route and a bus schedule.”

It will work a lot like any other carpooling. You’ll be able to access an app, request a ride from your location to where you’re trying to go, and a driver and DART vehicle will pick you up and drive you. All vehicles used will also be fully ADA accessible.

“Every DART vehicle is equipped with a wheelchair lift for those who need it. And we also have our transport crates on board which accept many types of payment, including cash or pass options.” , said Montoya.

RELATED: Des Moines Schools Facing Shortage Of Bus Drivers As Fall Approaches

The pilot of the new program will begin this fall at Ankeny, with another scheduled for West Des Moines shortly after. The Ankeny pilot will not remove any existing bus lines.

However, the eventual addition of West Des Moines will replace Route 72 in the region.

The microtransport plans grew out of DART’s long-term planning proposal, which involved discussing with community members how they use public transit and how it can be improved.

“When we think of areas in particular where we might want to expand access to public transportation, we want to look at those that affect groceries and medical needs, and the types of jobs where people work on weekends,” Montoya said. .

If you want to provide feedback on microtransit plans or anything else related to DART, they hold public meetings to do so. The first took place earlier on Monday, with more to come on October 18.

A link to a list of these meetings can be found here.

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