The Delta Area Rural Transit System opened in 1990 with two minivans. At the start, DARTS only offered transportation to people who needed medical care. However, in 1993, DARTS won funding from the Mississippi State Department of Transportation and with these funds; DARTS seized the opportunity to open its buses to the general public. The rationale behind the expansion was simple; DARTS’ officials felt that the same people who needed rides to doctors’ offices may also need reliable transportation to get to and from work. DARTS tailored its services to transport local residents in need of transportation to and from jobs at local penitentiaries and casinos located along the Mississippi River.
Today, DARTS operates 46 multi-passenger vehicles that connect people with promising jobs, training opportunities, shopping centers, childcare centers, and human services agencies in Coahoma, Desoto, Quitman, Panola, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Tunica Counties.
The phenomenal growth that DARTS has experienced is due to the following:
- The expansion of the regional job market and the increased need for affordable employment transportation;
- The proactive coordination of services with employment agencies, local employers, human service agencies, and potential customers;
- The aggressive efforts to gain capital and operating funds from various organizations such as the Mississippi Department of Transportation and other local municipalities.
Cost of Services
DARTS charges varying fees for both their one and two-way trips. Because of the great need for the services offered by DARTS, in some cases, patron fares are paid by the Department of Human Services, Medicaid, or Medicare. In addition, senior citizens who utilize DARTS transportation system often receive special discounts as a result of supplements offered by their county governments.
DARTS serves people, groups, and businesses representing all ages, genders, economic, social, and ethnic backgrounds.