DART expands Coastal Sussex service as Wilmington passengers fume about end of Rodney Square bus hub

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DART First State is adding year-around bus service in Coastal Sussex County as riders to the north continue to be unhappy with the removal of the Rodney Square transit hub.

Two DART Beach Bus Routes, 201 and 204, saw the launch of year-round service last week, operating every 30 minutes, Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Route 201 provides service from the Lewes Park & Ride lot, along the Route 1 corridor to Tanger Outlets, Rehoboth Park & Ride and Rehoboth Boardwalk.

The service comes as Coastal Sussex County becomes more of a year-round destination and economy.

Route 204operates between the Lewes Park & Ride and Downtown Lewes, including the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal. Free parking will now be offered at both Lewes Park & Ride and Rehoboth Park & Ride.

In addition,(Routes206,212and215) provide Saturday service year-round.

John Sisson, Delaware Transit Corporation CEO stated, “We’re excited to offer the continuation of these services year-round, as well as increased Saturday service in Sussex County. These expansions provide greater access to jobs, shopping and entertainment, as we continue striving to enhance the customer experience.”

The expansion comes as the state-owned transit agency continues to take heat from riders in Wilmington over a decision to largely dismantle a transit hub at Rodney Square and shift routes. Riders have complained of long walks and a lack of bus shelters at the new stops.

Supporters of the shift in the hub, the Coalition to Return Bus Service to Rodney Square plans to pressfor restoration of the service at hearings on proposed changes in DART transit routes.

The hub was largely dismantled in December.

Supporters of the move saythe Wilmington landmark was not suited for use as a hub and endangered efforts to bring jobs to downtown Wilmington.

The coalition claimed Gov. John Carney worked in secret with business interests to remove the hub. Some service was restored after an outcry over the removal of the hub and what some saw as DART’s clumsy efforts at informing riders.

Those supporting the shift cited problems that included rush hour periods produced large crowds, delays, crowding, inadequate room for buses and diesel fumes that are said to contribute to respiratory diseases.

In addition, the location and its historic status were not suited to recent advancements that include real-time arrival updates and more shelters.

A site near the Wilmington Train Station is planned as the site of a bus hub. However, such projects often come with long time frames and lengthy efforts to secure funding.

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