DENTON, Texas — A new pilot program here will provide transit bus service for some high school students who don’t qualify to ride the school bus.
The program is a partnership of the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA), Denton Independent School District (ISD) and the city of Denton. The goal is to provide better transportation options to Ryan High School students around the parent responsibility zone.
Students who live along East McKinney Street and within 2 miles of Ryan High School will be able to ride DCTA’s existing Denton Connect Route 3 to and from school. Per state guidelines, Denton ISD only provides school bus transportation to students who live more than 2 miles from their campus.
Families have been notified of the plan and will be able to purchase DCTA bus passes for $10 per month, which is a 75% discount, according to DCTA.
Students will board and depart from transit buses along stops that are already outlined on DCTA’s Connect Route 3. The pilot program will run through the rest of the school year, which ends June 2.
“As always, our primary concern is to ensure the safety of our students, and we feel this program will allow us to do that by taking students off streets where there is heavy construction and limited or no access to sidewalks,” said Mario Zavala, Denton ISD director of communications and community relations.
The city of Denton is working with the Texas Department of Transportation to take over a planned expansion of McKinney Street, reportedly allowing for a quicker turnaround on the project. However, city officials have said that the construction to widen the road and add sidewalks could still take a few years.
Nicole Recker, DCTA’s vice president of marketing and communications, said that the transit bus service will “provide a safe transportation alternative for students around Ryan High School. This pilot program is a great temporary solution that will give Denton ISD and the city of Denton the necessary time to establish a comprehensive, long-term plan.”
At the end of the school year, the three partnering agencies will evaluate the program to determine its effectiveness and to identify options that could further enhance safety for students and residents.