The 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas ignited the imagination of regional leaders for how to put the city’s best face forward. This included leadership at the Dallas Area Rapid Transit agency (DART), a rapidly growing 13-city transit system covering 700 square miles with bus, light rail, commuter rail and paratransit services. In 2013, DART introduced a new mobile app, GoPass. When it was launched, GoPass was the first multimodal, multi-agency transit fare payment app in the US. GoPass combines a mobile ticketing app with a trip planning function and it is also accepted by neighboring Trinity Railway Express, Trinity Metro and Denton County Transportation.
In 2014, DART introduced links to external mobility providers such as Lyft, Uber, and Zipcar, from within the trip planner. The agency improved the system so that users had their own account – which makes it easier to add modes. 2018 saw a relaunch with a fare increase but also the introduction of daily and monthly fare capping, which limits the amount paid for transit in a day or a month. In addition to purchasing and activating tickets, users can track their progress toward the monthly fare cap. DART also expanded retail partnerships to allow travelers to load cash to their account at locations other than ticket vending machines or transit stations/stops.
Currently GoPass covers trains, buses, street cars, paratransit and carpooling and it has recently been updated and joined by GoLink, an app-based, demand-responsive transport solution that helps bridge the first/last mile ‘gaps’ in select areas that are hard to serve with traditional fixed-route transit. In 2019, DART partnered with Uber to have UberPool trips be discoverable in GoPass within these zones. Travelers can book and pay for a trip to a designated transit station in the zone through DART’s microtransit service, GoLink, directly in GoPass, or for a shared Uber ride through a link from GoPass to the Uber app. Trips to or from transit stations are subsidized.
The Evolution of DART’s GoPass, as showcased for the Transportation Research Board by DART Assistant Vice President for Innovation Tina Mörche-Pierre, is shown below.
As DART remains in the MaaS stage of trip planning while making progress on payment integration, placing it nearly at Level 2, its role in the national network is pivotal. DART is publicly leading the way as an agency developing MaaS for itself, on its own terms, and working to set the terms for the providers that it partners with. DART is actively pursuing licensing the GoPass to other transit agencies, and did so in early 2020 with neighboring Trinity Metro. Revenue from this licensing supports long-term funding for improving GoPass features and building Mobility as a Service capabilities by combining transportation services from public and private providers, and gives DART customers a wider variety of choices and services through the platform.