DART to Give Some Riders ‘Free’ Phones

DART to Give Some Riders 'Free' Phones
DART Go Pass | Image by DART LinkedIn

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has teamed up with Assured Wireless to offer “free” Android phones and phone service to those needing broadband for school, work, and medical services.

For those who qualify, DART and Assured Wireless will work with the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a taxpayer-funded program through the Federal Communications Commission, to provide taxpayer-subsidized phone service free of charge for the user and discounted transportation.

DART riders will qualify for a smartphone provided by Assured Wireless if they participate in Medicaid, SNAP, or WIC programs. Each phone has unlimited high-speed data, texts, and minutes, plus 10 gigabytes of mobile hotspot data.

Texas Lifeline, another taxpayer-funded program, offers the same benefits and extends its program to those who participate in the Children’s Healthcare Insurance Program (CHIP), Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP), DHA: Housing Solutions of North Texas, Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Several upcoming events are scheduled throughout the city, where DART and Assured Wireless will help people sign up for the free phone services. For those who want to apply, documents proving enrollment in one of the qualifying services must be provided at the September and November events.

DART will also implement a pilot program offering Discount GoPass Tap Cards, which can be used on any DART bus or light rail line, including the TRE between EBJ Union Station and Centreport/DFW Station.

New or current riders can apply for the Discount GoPass Tap Cards if they participate in the abovementioned programs. The Discount GoPass is a DART program that allows riders to ride for 50% off the normal fare.

These programs are being launched amid the recent announcement by DART that it is returning $214 million in taxpayer money back to Dallas and the other North Texas cities it services to fund public transportation projects, as reported by The Dallas Express.

DART relies primarily on the property taxes of its member cities, from whom it also collects a 1-cent sales tax. It also received federal taxpayer-funded relief during the pandemic.

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