Denton County Transportation Authority

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Denton County Transportation Authority
Denton County Transportation Authority's Connect shuttle
Headquarters1955 Lakeway Drive #260
Lewisville, Texas
Service areaDenton, Highland Village, Lewisville
Service typeBus, Demand Response, Commuter Rail
Routes12 UNT, 3 Denton, 1 Regional
Daily ridership12,100 (weekdays, Q4 2023)[1]
Annual ridership2,852,000 (2023)[2]
Fuel typePrimarily diesel
Chief executivePaul Cristina

The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) is the transit authority that operates in Denton County, Texas. It operates transit service in three cities within Denton County, as well as the A-train, a regional commuter rail line to Carrollton. In 2023, the system had a ridership of 2,852,000, or about 12,100 per weekday as of the fourth quarter of 2023.


In 2001, Texas House Bill 3323 created Chapter 460 of the Texas Transportation Code, which authorized the creation of Coordinated County Transportation Authorities (CCTAs) by county commissions, subject to a vote by the county population.[3] In accordance with the code, on November 5, 2002, the voters in Denton County approved the creation of DCTA, with 73% in favor.[4] DCTA is the first, and so far only, CCTA in the state of Texas.

In 2006, DCTA absorbed LINK, the mass transit service operated by the City of Denton since 2002. LINK's bus routes were absorbed into DCTA's local Denton services (now called Connect). Paratransit services in the three member cities were also absorbed and renamed DCTA Access. Neither Lewisville nor Highland Village (the other current members of DCTA) operated bus lines prior to DCTA's formation.

Member cities[edit]

The following cities voted to join DCTA and levy a 12¢ sales tax to finance the system on September 13, 2003:[5]

The following cities also participated in the September 2003 election but declined to join:[5]

No other cities have joined DCTA since its inception, and none of the original cities have elected to withdraw.

Board of directors[edit]

Texas Transportation Code Chapter 460 governs the DCTA board.

DCTA is governed by a five-member board appointed by respective entities: one member appointed by each of the "founding municipalities" (Denton, Highland Village, and Lewisville) and two members appointed by the Denton County Commissioners Court from areas other than the founding municipalities. Each party (the cities and the county) may also appoint an alternate member to preside in the absence of a voting member; the member can attend and participate in all meetings (except closed and executive sessions) but cannot vote and is not counted toward a quorum. A DCTA board member must reside either within DCTA's territory, or outside it but within a city which is partly located within DCTA's territory.

All members serve two-year terms. Board members must have professional experience in the field of transportation, business, government, engineering or law. In accordance with DCTA By-laws, the Board adopts the annual operating budget and is responsible for setting policy. The president oversees the day-to-day operations of the DCTA and implements policies set forth by the Board.

Transportation services[edit]

The Denton County Transportation Authority offers several services to the general public in and around Denton, Lewisville, and Highland Village. These services include fixed-route service in Denton, an on-demand service in Highland Village and Lewisville, shuttle routes serving UNT, a regional commuter bus service connecting Denton and downtown Fort Worth, and a train service connecting Denton and Lewisville with neighboring Carrollton (linking to DART light-rail service). Additionally, DCTA offers paratransit service throughout its service area.

Connect Bus[edit]

Connect at Downtown Denton Transit Center

DCTA Connect is a fixed-route bus service operating within the city of Denton. The current system consists of three routes, all of which use Downtown Denton Transit Center as a shared hub. Buses operate Monday through Saturday.[6]

Route Headway (min.) Route Description
Weekday Saturday
3 45 45 East from DDTC to Loop 288 and Billy Ryan High School, passing city hall and the county courthouse
6 20 40 North from DDTC to UNT Discovery Park, passing Quakertown Park and Texas Woman's University
7 20 45 West from DDTC to Texas Health Presbyterian through downtown Denton, passing the University of North Texas

DCTA Connect originally had ten routes (eight in Denton and two in Lewisville), but most were discontinued in 2021 and 2022 in favor of GoZone service.[7][8]

University Routes[edit]

DCTA operates the University of North Texas shuttle system, which consists of fourteen routes. Most routes are only available during weekdays. UNT students, faculty, and staff can ride at no cost with their ID, while other riders can use standard DCTA fare.[9]

DCTA does not currently operate shuttles for Texas Woman's University or NCTC Denton, but both institutions are serviced by Connect buses (routes 6 and 7, respectively). Like with UNT, discounted passes are available to students, faculty, and staff.[10]

North Texas Xpress[edit]

Operated in partnership with Trinity Metro, North Texas Xpress is a twice-daily weekday bus that travels between downtown Denton and the North Park and Ride in Alliance using Interstate 35W. Riders can travel further to downtown Fort Worth using Trinity Metro's North Park and Ride Xpress (Route 63X).[11]


The A-train at Trinity Mills Station in 2015

DCTA operates the A-train, a regional commuter rail line connecting Carrollton and Denton, to meet growing transportation demands in eastern Denton County. The 21-mile rail line parallels Interstate 35E and meets the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Green Line at Trinity Mills Station in Carrollton.

It has six stations (two in Denton, three in Lewisville, and one in Carrollton) and opened June 20, 2011.[12]


GoZone is an on-demand curb-to-curb service operated in partnership with Via Transportation. The service allows passengers to schedule trips by van, similar to UberPool.[13] The service was established in September 2021 to increase DCTA's network coverage, and it has since fully replaced most of DCTA's bus routes.[7][8]

GoZone service is divided into two zones: one consisting of the Denton city limits, and one consisting of the Lewisville and Highland Village city limits. Riders may travel to and from any location so long as the start and end of the trip are within the same zone. Travel between zones is permitted on Sundays and holidays, and travel from either zone to DART's Trinity Mills station is allowed late at night. The service has a $1.50 base fare, though the Denton zone adds a 50¢-per-mile surcharge for trips over four miles.[13] GoZone service is not included in multi-ride passes.[14]


DCTA Access offers ADA-compliant paratransit service to people with physical, cognitive, or visual disabilities who are incapable of utilizing Connect Bus service. This service allows curb-to-curb trips to be scheduled (at least one day in advance) so long as both the start and end of the trip are within 34 miles of a Connect Bus route.[15]

ADA paratransit in Denton County outside of DCTA Access's service area is provided by the nonprofit Special Programs for Aging Needs (SPAN).

DCTA Access also offers a non-ADA demand-response service for residents of Lewisville, Highland Village, and Denton that are disabled or elderly (65 years and older). These trips can start and end anywhere within these three cities, but they are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis and are subject to capacity constraints.[15]

Frisco Demand-Response[edit]

DCTA also operates a paratransit service for the city of Frisco in neighboring Collin County, which provides trips (scheduled a day in advance) within Frisco and some parts of Plano. The service is available to Frisco residents who are elderly, disabled, or traveling to medical care.[16]


DCTA ridership fluctuates greatly with the academic calendar, as a considerable portion of passengers are UNT and TWU students, faculty, and staff. Bus ridership greatly exceeds rail ridership, primarily driven by university students. For 2020, the agency reported 1.36 million bus trips alongside 221,316 rail trips.[17] Like many transit agencies across the world, DCTA's ridership was greatly impacted by the effects of the [COVID-19 pandemic]. Ridership in 2019 was 2.4 million bus trips and 393,400 rail trips, for comparison.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2023" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. March 4, 2024. Retrieved March 14, 2024.
  2. ^ "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2023" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. March 4, 2024. Retrieved March 14, 2024.
  3. ^ "TRANSPORTATION CODE CHAPTER 460. COORDINATED COUNTY TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITIES". Texas Constitution and Statutes. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
  4. ^ "11/05/2002 Unofficial Combined Election Results". Denton County Elections Office. November 6, 2002.
  5. ^ a b "09/13/2003 Unofficial Combined Election Results". Denton County Elections Office. September 13, 2003.
  6. ^ "Connect Bus | DCTA". Denton County Transportation Authority. 2023-08-20. Retrieved 2023-08-26.
  7. ^ a b Grass, Justin (2021-12-02). "DCTA saves most Denton bus routes, cuts Lewisville routes". Denton Record-Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2022-03-09. Retrieved 2023-08-26.
  8. ^ a b Grass, Justin (2022-10-27). "With more bus cuts around the corner, what will DCTA's future network look like?". Denton Record-Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2022-11-03. Retrieved 2023-08-26.
  9. ^ "University Routes | DCTA". Denton County Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2023-08-25.
  10. ^ "Commuting | Campus Alliance for Resource Education | Texas Woman's University". Texas Woman's University. Retrieved 2023-08-26.
  11. ^ "Regional Routes | DCTA". Denton County Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2023-08-26.
  12. ^ Peterson, Matt (June 20, 2011). "A-train railway begins rolling, carrying commuters from Denton to Carrollton". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on July 1, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  13. ^ a b "GoZone On-Demand | DCTA". Denton County Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  14. ^ "Fare Information | DCTA". Denton County Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2023-09-30.
  15. ^ a b "Access (ADA and Non-ADA) | DCTA". Denton County Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2023-09-30.
  16. ^ "Frisco Demand Response | DCTA". Denton County Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2023-09-30.
  17. ^ "DCTA reports stalled bus ridership, continued increase in A-train ridership through October". 13 December 2020.
  18. ^ DCTA report

External links[edit]