DENTON, Texas — Public transportation has been on the minds of many Denton County residents as the Denton County Transportation Authority starts to consider the future of the current bus system. 

“When bus drivers are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back." This was one of the chants shouted outside the Denton County Courthouse on Thursday afternoon, as a group known as No Bus Cuts Denton, along with labor union members and local residents, demanded the DCTA preserve bus routes. 

One rally goer, Kristine Bray, runs a Twitter account called Denton Transit Posting. She uses that page to provide insight on ways to make places like Denton more bike, bus and walker friendly. 

“You cannot have mass transit with carrying four people per hour,” Bray told a group of attendees. 

DCTA has cut a few bus routes, sparking outrage with some Denton County residents. (Spectrum News 1/Michael Lozano)

Bray is referring to the VIA-operated ride-share service known as GoZone. The service, according to the DCTA website, costs 75 cents for a ride. It’s been an option for Denton County residents since September 2021. 

People like Bray and Denton resident Eva Grecco say the GoZone service has been unreliable and feel like it’s a stepping stone to completely remove bus routes from public transit. 

“Hopefully, our bus routes will come back and VIA will go away,” Grecco stated. 

Members of the rally state that solely relying on an app-driven service will isolate those in the community who may not be tech savvy or lack cellular data. 

Patrick Lee, a Dallas resident, has been commuting to Denton for work for the last five years. 

Spectrum News 1 spoke to Lee on Thursday afternoon, as he was preparing to board a train back home. 

Lee says his routine trip to work was dealt a curveball two months ago, when DCTA announced the bus route he takes to work, after exiting the train station, was discontinued. 

“They let me know it was going to stop going that way before it did, so I could make preparations to find a different way to work,” Lee said. 

Now, Lee takes the extra step of ordering a Lyft to finish the last leg of his trip to work, costing him more time and money. 

Lee says he spends “about $10 more,” emphasizing that it adds up to about $50 dollars a week. 

Spectrum News 1 reached out to DCTA for comment about the rally and concerns from residents. 

A DCTA spokesperson provided a statement over the phone, saying, “We’re currently in the process of wrapping up a public input period. June 10 is the last day of it. We welcome the public to provide their opinions, as we’re looking to make changes in the upcoming future.”

Patrick Lee commutes from Dallas to Denton by train. The bus he used to take was discontinued, forcing him to spend more money on a Lyft to get to work. (Spectrum News 1/Michael Lozano)

Lee says, if the bus route doesn’t return, he may be forced to start commuting by car, adding the cost is starting to equal what he spends through public transportation and using Lyft.