Riders Lack Communication on SMU Shuttle Stop Changes
Construction-related route changes to the SMU shuttle have created confusion among both riders and bus drivers.
The construction coincides with DART’s roll-out of its most extensive redesign of the nearly 40-year-old bus route network Monday, Jan. 24. The routes for SMU’s free campus DART shuttles, formerly the 768 SMU Express and the 743 Museum Express, are now the 440 SMU Express and the 442 Museum Express.
DART’s redesign has left SMU shuttle routes generally unchanged, but construction north of Binkley Avenue along Bishop Boulevard has put two of the stops in front of Cox out of service according to assistant director of SMU parking and ID services Pamela Thornbury.
SMU’s Parking and ID Services website notes the DART system redesign, but says both shuttles “will continue to operate along their current route pathways, only the route numbers will change.” The site does not indicate any construction-related changes to the bus stops.
Riders and drivers say they lacked communication about both the DART and construction-related changes. Abby Dover, a library employee of 15 years who takes the shuttle to and from SMU every day, said she had received no official communication “whatsoever” that her regular stop was out of service.
“They need to do a much better job of communicating things,” Dover said. “And this has happened before. Even if they have an email go out saying ‘Oh, we’re gonna move it,’ they leave out the other stop we’re supposed to stop at. And in the moment, if you forgot or anything like that, there’s no indication. So, it’s always a mess every time this happens.”
The two stops outside of Cox are among the most frequented stops for riders trying to get home from SMU. The last stop towards SMU is currently at the intersection of Binkley and Bishop, yet DART’s maps online and on the GoPass app still show stops continuing further along the Boulevard, including the stops outside of Cox.
Shuttle drivers, who are employed by the third-party contractor ECHO AFC Transport, have also said they lacked direction about the changes to their routes or when it may return to normal.