HIRTA News Blog

HIRTA and DART Partner on Vanpool

Brooke Ramsey - Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Tuesday, July, 23, 2019

Transit agencies partner to expand access to vanpooling services

The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) is partnering with Heart of Iowa Regional Transit Agency (HIRTA) to expand access to vanpooling services for commuters in Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Story and Warren Counties via DART’s RideShare program.

With more than 100 vanpools in operation, DART’s RideShare program offers groups of five to 12 commuters with similar travel patterns the option of sharing rides to and from work. Vanpool passengers designate a volunteer driver and pay an affordable monthly fare while helping reduce the number of vehicles on the road, contributing to a greener regional economy.
“Transportation is often a barrier for sustaining employment in the communities we serve,” said HIRTA Executive Director, Julia Castillo. “Talent attraction and retention is becoming increasingly difficult with the state’s record low unemployment rate. Offering commuters an established, cost-effective alternative through DART’s RideShare program gives employers another tool in their toolbox to attract and retain talent.”

The pilot partnership between the two public transit agencies is an opportunity to provide employers with an affordable method of transportation for employees commuting outside the Greater Des Moines metropolitan area. To further reduce the out-of-pocket expense for passengers, employers may offer incentives or subsidies to encourage ridesharing among their workforce.

“Access to affordable transportation opens up job opportunities for people that may not otherwise be possible, benefiting employees and employers,” said DART CEO, Elizabeth Presutti. “We’re excited to partner with our colleagues at HIRTA to expand access to the positive benefits of vanpooling.”

Individuals or employers interested in starting a vanpool can contact RideShare Customer Service by phone at 515-288-RIDE (7433) or email at rideshare@ridedart.com.

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The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) is the public transportation provider in and around Polk County. DART operates a family of transportation services that connects thousands of people every day to jobs, school, medical appointments, entertainment and more. For more information about DART services, schedules, route changes, or directions to the nearest DART stop, visit the website at ridedart.com or call 515-283-8100.

HIRTA (Heart of Iowa Regional Transit Agency) is organized under an Iowa Chapter 28E Agreement to serve as the Public Transit System for the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Region 11. HIRTA provides safe, reliable, and affordable public transit to anyone within our 7-county region. We provide a variety of shared-ride services as a means to keep people connected, mobile and independent. For more information about HIRTA, visit our website at www.ridehirta.com or call 1-877-686-0029.

Free Trips to Boone Food Pantry

Brooke Ramsey - Monday, July 22, 2019

HIRTA is offering Free rides to Boone County Food Pantries. This program, funded in part by Boone County Community Endowment Fund.

Proposed General Public Fare Increase

Brooke Ramsey - Monday, July 15, 2019

The Heart of Iowa Regional Transit Agency, HIRTA, is considering a system wide general public fare increase. Written comments must be received by September 16, 2019 to be considered.

Holiday Closure Reminder

Brooke Ramsey - Monday, July 01, 2019
A friendly reminder: HIRTA will be closed in observance of the holiday on Thursday 7/4/19, if you need to reschedule your routine trip to another day, please contact our customer service department at 1-877-686-0029 or erides@ridehirta.com . Thank you and have a safe holiday. 

Donation based trips for Seniors

Brooke Ramsey - Monday, June 17, 2019

Due to a reduction in funds HIRTA receives from Aging Resources of Central Iowa, HIRTA will be changing the way donation based trips are covered. The change will take effect July 1, 2019. At HIRTA, we understand how important transportation is for senior citizens. In order to provide transportation to the services most critical, we will have to limit the types of trips done on a donation basis. Seniors can still ride HIRTA for all of their favorite things, to their favorite destinations, but they will not all be on a donation basis. If you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at erides@ridehirta.com or 1-877-686-0029 for more information. 

Story County help fund seven new HIRTA buses

Julia Castillo - Sunday, June 16, 2019

HIRTA is so thankful for the financial support of the Story County BOS... they have always understood the importance of Public Transit, and help when they can with matching funds, so we can replace Federally funded vehicles.  Thank you!!! 

Story County adds seven new HIRTA buses

The board matched a $97,725 total to replace seven HIRTA vehicles for the county. The buses won’t be available until fiscal year 2020, which starts on July 1.

HIRTA is a door-to-door transit service for the general public, including persons with disabilities. HIRTA provides its services to community members in a number of counties, including Story County.

The models being replaced are 2008 and 2009 models, with roughly 290,000 in mileage.

The buses are being purchased with a $7 million grant awarded to the Iowa Department of Transportation in December for rural transit vehicle replacements.

Fare is a Co-Pay

Brooke Ramsey - Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Community Transportation Manager of the Year

Brooke Ramsey - Tuesday, May 28, 2019


This award honors a community transportation leader for displaying leadership while providing transportation service that is integral to the community and creating a vision for the system that has the support from both within and outside the organization.

  • 2019 Julia Castillo, Heart of Iowa Regional Transit Agency, Urbandale, Iowa
More information can be found at https://ctaa.org/awards/

Press Release: Castillo awarded Transit Manager of the Year

Brooke Ramsey - Saturday, May 25, 2019
Heart of Iowa Regional Transit Agency’s Julia Castillo Named
2019 Community Transportation Manager of the Year

CTAA Transit Manager of the Year

Brooke Ramsey - Friday, May 24, 2019

The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) awarded Julia Castillo, Executive Director as 

Transit Manager of the Year. Julia has transformed the image of rural transportation, and has done a wonderful 

job representing Iowa on the national stage; we are lucky to have her call HIRTA home. On behalf of HIRTA we thank 

Julia for her dedication to rural public transportation, our mission of providing public transportation in Central Iowa and 

her outstanding service to our customers. Congratulations Julia!

Pictured: Randy Zobrist (River Bend Transit), Julia Castillo, FTA Administrator K. Jane Williams, and CTAA Director Scott Bogren.

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