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Transportation

A Bus-Shunning Texas Town's Big Leap to Microtransit

Arlington used to be the largest city in the U.S. without any buses at all. Now it’s going all in on on-demand shuttles.
Here comes the microbus!
Here comes the microbus!Thomas Peter/Reuters

Sandwiched between Fort Worth and Dallas, the Texas city of Arlington would seem an obvious candidate for commuter rail or rapid buses. Yet voters have turned down transit bond measures three times since 1979, preferring to fund stadium revamps instead. Until a few years ago, Arlington was largest city in the country with no mass transit at all.

Now it will be the first to run solely on microtransit. Earlier this month, Arlington announced a partnership with Via, a New York-based startup that offers on-demand minibus rides. Its vehicles will soon replace the Max, the single, fixed-route bus line that has run between UT Arlington and a commuter rail station near Dallas-Fort Worth airport since 2013. Once the Max contract expires in December, passengers will be able to secure pick-ups in six-seater Mercedes shuttles from nearby corners, using the Via app or by dialing a call center for a $3 fare.