On June 18, DDOT generously hosted a group of TRU members for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Shoemaker Terminal, DDOT’s bus facility on the East Side. This was a Member Appreciation Event for TRU supporters. And it was delightful.
We started out at DDOT’s state-of-the-art bus driver training facility. The classroom there features real, physical examples of many of the objects bus drivers will have to use as a part of their jobs, like wheelchair seating with wheelchairs, a bike rack, a destination sign, and fare boxes. Drivers use these items to practice tasks they’ll do once they’re out on the road. There is also a bus simulator they learn on (and yes, we wish we could try the bus simulator, too).
DDOT Interim Deputy Director Jerrell Harris shared information with us. He noted that ridership is up since May 1st and DART’s “Say before you pay” is catching on. Connect 10 routes are gaining popularity and riders. All bus stop signs will be replaced starting July 1. And they are exploring the possibility of doing a low-income fare. Jerrell thanked TRU for our recent success at reducing the level of cuts to state transit funding.
We toured the maintenance garage, and saw where DDOT does light to moderately heavy maintenance on buses. Some fun facts we learned on this portion of the tour:
—There are 288 coaches in the fleet, with 30 new ones this summer. Current bus purchases are replacements, because there will not be room for expansion until the Coolidge Terminal is redesigned in several years.
—The Coolidge Terminal redesign will include 60’ bus lifts for maintenance on the longer, articulated buses. Currently these “artics” are fixed using a portable lift.
—DDOT workers do preventative maintenance on buses every 6,000 miles, which is every three weeks.
—DDOT buses get 8 miles to the gallon.
—When buses need service, they are parked facing west. When the service is done, they are parked facing east.
In the course of our tour of the facility, we even got to ride a bus through the bus car wash.
Thanks to DDOT staff for taking the time to show us what you do! And thanks to the TRU supporters who joined us at this Member Appreciation event. If you would like to get the invite to interesting members-only events like this, consider becoming a member of TRU today.