ARCADIA — Changes are on the way for the Desoto-Arcadia Regional Transit (DART) bus in DeSoto County. As of Feb. 17, the DART program — operating since 2012 — is adding a new route and schedule to its travels around the county, as well a fresh new look.

The route will provide DART bus service to new locations, including CareerSource Heartland (2160 N.E. Roan St.) and South Florida State College DeSoto Campus (2251 N.E. Turner Ave.).

It will maintain its current service to many popular sites around the county such as Walmart, the Goodwill Plaza, the Health Department, the hospital, the library and more, according to a Feb. 7 press release from Central Florida Regional Planning Council, an organization that oversees DART operations.

“We worked closely with DeSoto County before assuming operations of the DART (in mid-September 2019),” said Marybeth Soderstrom, CFRPC transportation director. “Our number one goal at that time was to get a bus on the road that would be reliable for riders.”

The DART bus has a set route but riders can get picked up anywhere along the published route just by being in a safe and visible area on the correct side of the street and waving at the driver.

Starting Feb. 17, the DART will operate 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The bus fare will remain 50 cents per ride. The stops will repeat every 60 minutes, so riders will know the DART bus comes at the same time each hour.

Other changes will be coming for the DART program, according to Soderstrom.

“To stay on budget for this year, we will have to make some changes to the schedule,” Soderstrom said. “After talking to riders and meeting with community partners, we think we have the best solution for those that rely on the service for their daily transportation needs, while providing new opportunities by including CareerSource Heartland and South Florida State College along the route.”

Soderstrom said the DART bus will also be getting a “much-needed makeover” come March, thanks to sponsorship from the Florida Department of Health, providing a “fresh new look.”

For more information about the DART bus and other transportation services, as well as for comments, concerns, and suggestions, call MV Transportation at 800-694-6566 or visit the DART website at desotobus.com.

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