Your Commute

Man commutes six hours a day, but new Fort Worth bus routes will help

Adam Kolodny waits for the Trinity Railway Express train at the Intermodal Transportation Center on Thursday.
Adam Kolodny waits for the Trinity Railway Express train at the Intermodal Transportation Center on Thursday.

Next time you feel like complaining about a long commute, think about Adam Kolodny’s daily journey to work.

Kolodny, an electrical engineer, travels nearly six hours each day between his home in Plano and his job at Elbit Systems, a defense electronics firm located off Marine Creek Parkway in far northwest Fort Worth.

He typically leaves home about 4:45 a.m. and arrives at work about 7:45 a.m. each morning, then repeats the long trek home each afternoon — using a combination of buses, trains and Lyft car-sharing.

But Kolodny’s long day is about to be improved by changes in Fort Worth Transportation Authority bus service that take effect Sunday. The changes include the addition of several new routes in far north Fort Worth, as well as west to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base and Tarrant County College’s Northwest Campus.

Kolodny said he will no longer have to hire a Lyft driver to make up the last three or so miles between the northernmost stop on his Fort Worth bus and the front door of his office. Instead, he will be able to take one of the new bus routes that will travel several miles further north, Route 45, which terminates at Tarrant County College’s Northwest Campus.

Route 45 will drop off Kolodny just a few minutes’ walk from his workplace.

And in the afternoons he will no longer have to worry about starting his journey home by either calling Lyft or asking a buddy for a ride to the bus stop several miles away.

“I’m looking forward to knowing I can leave each day at a certain time from my desk,” he said.

Stepped-up service

The permanent bus route changes are the latest tweaks in service as officials with the transportation authority, known as the T, prepare to serve areas that have been ignored by public transportation for years.

In particular, the agency’s leadership aims to expand service north of Loop 820 and closer to Northeast Tarrant County, where the planned TEX Rail commuter line is scheduled to begin operating in late 2018. New routes also will serve Tarrant County College’s Northwest Campus, River Oaks and Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base.

Information about the new routes, which are part of the region’s Transit Master Plan, is now posted on the agency’s website.

“What our team has developed are routes that will reach new areas in Tarrant County, including another TCC campus,” said Paul Ballard, the authority’s president. “Last fall, we implemented Route 64, known as the North Texas Xpress, which serves Alliance and Denton.

“This helps meet the growing demand for public transit options for employees of AllianceTexas and higher education institutions like TCC’s Hadley Center of Excellence and the University of North Texas.”

Time spent wisely

Kolodny, who previously worked in the Dallas-area telecommunications industry, has worked at Elbit Systems for about 13 years.

For much of that time, Kolodny carpooled with a colleague to break up the monotony of the long drive — which can be nearly two hours each way, especially for motorists who don’t want to use toll roads.

After his pal left for another job, Kolodny didn’t want to drive alone, so he tried public transit and immediately liked it.

These days, he starts each morning by making a short drive to Plano’s Parker Road Station and catching the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light-rail line to downtown Dallas, where he then transfers to a Trinity Railway Express commuter train bound for Fort Worth.

Once in downtown Fort Worth, Kolodny typically takes a Route 1D bus up North Main Street to near Long Avenue and Angle Avenue, or Route 46 near Jacksboro Highway and 820, where he then often summons a Lyft ride. Starting Sunday, Kolodny will be able to take the new Route 15 up North Main Street to the North Side Transfer Center, where he can board either Route 44 or 45 to take him to TCC-Northwest, a short walk from his workplace.

In all, the commute is usually about $16 a day, including a $10 regional transit pass and $6 in Lyft fees. (He sometimes catches rides with co-workers rather than use Lyft.)

Kolodny said he recently learned about the $160 regional monthly pass, which is good for all bus and train services throughout Dallas-Fort Worth and could dramatically cut his transportation expenses — which are already much lower than if he drove.

Oh, and he’s not wasting away the hours on buses and trains by watching cat videos on Facebook. Instead, Kolodny uses the time to study for a master’s degree in statistics he’s pursuing.

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796, @gdickson

Bus route changes

Among the new routes and expanded routes operated by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, starting Sunday:

  • Route 11 — Travels north of Loop 820 on Beach Street. Serves Intermodal Transportation Center, Mercantile Industrial Park, Alliance Town Center and Wal-Mart at North Tarrant Parkway.
  • Route 12 — Covers portions of the former routes 1C, 1D and 11. Serves ITC, Mercantile Industrial Park, Stockyards and JPS Diamond Hill Clinic.
  • Route 14 — Minor change, using North Sylvania Avenue instead of North Riverside Drive. Serves ITC, Stockyards, Wal-Mart at Beach Street and Texas 121.
  • Route 15 — A restructured Route 1 N stays on Main Street with no branches or variations. Serves ITC and Stockyards.
  • Routes 44 — Covers portions of former routes 17 and 1B. Serves Northside Public Library, North Side High School, J.P. Elder Middle School, Northside Neighborhood Association, Far Greater Northside Historical Neighborhood Association and TCC Northwest.
  • Route 45 — Serves TCC Northwest, Stockyards and 930 apartments on four properties.
  • Route 46 — Jacksboro Highway. Serves ITC, Town & Country Shopping Center, Landmark Lakes Shopping Center and two Wal-Mart stores.
  • Route 90 — Long Avenue — Provides crosstown connections and covers portions of former routes 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D. Serves JPS Diamond Hill Clinic and Wal-Mart on Jacksboro Highway.
  • Route 91 — River Oaks Boulevard. Serves NASJRB, River Oaks, Ridgmar Mall, Stockyards, Target and two Wal-Mart stores.

Source: Fort Worth Transportation Authority