The Federal Transit Administration recently announced the Rehoboth Park & Ride facility outside of Rehoboth Beach has been awarded a $5.4 million grant to modernize the aging facility. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, and Delaware Department of Transportation officials held a press conference May 31 to celebrate the grant that will, in part, help the state expand its use of low- and no-emission public transit.
In Delaware, Carper said, a person doesn’t have to look too far to see how storms are becoming more powerful and prevalent. This is all due to rising temperatures caused by climate change, and the biggest contributor to that is gas-powered vehicles, he said.
“How do we reduce emissions? Use less vehicles that produce emissions,” said Carper.
Carper was joined by a number of DelDOT officials, including Secretary Nicole Majeski and Delaware Transit Corporation CEO John Sisson.
“As we see this area continue to transform from more than just a seasonal destination, having convenient and accessible public transportation is critical to support the communities along the Route 1 corridor, and move people more efficiently,” said Majeski. “These improvements will help us achieve that goal.”
Sisson said the Rehoboth Park & Ride opened 30 years ago and is the anchor facility between the Lewes Park & Ride and routes south to Ocean City, Md.
The event was held the day after Memorial Day. Sisson said he’s confident the DART bus service is needed, because over the holiday weekend the parking lot was full and extra buses had to be put into circulation.
“We know people want it and we’re going to deliver it,” said Sisson.
When the project is complete, said Sisson, the facility will have a new administrative building with a climate-controlled waiting area, restrooms and ticket sales area; eight new bus-boarding areas for an expanding zero-emissions bus fleet; self-sustaining microgrid fed by on-site solar generation; public electric vehicle charging ports; a new electric bus maintenance facility; sheltered bicycle parking and repair stations; improved site layout that will enhance circulation and provide additional park-and-ride spaces; and pedestrian and bike connectivity to adjacent routes and communities.
Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce President Carol Everhart was on hand for the brief event. She said the chamber has a good partnership with the bus program, and the chamber will sell bus tickets this summer at the visitor’s center, 501 Rehoboth Ave.
There will be daily, weekly and monthly tickets available, she said.
The design phase for the improved park and ride is programmed for fiscal year 2023, with construction aimed for fiscal years 2024 and 2025. The project is estimated to cost $12 million in total.
Beach Bus service information
This summer, DART is operating six electric buses on its seasonal Beach Bus service, which operates 5:30 a.m. to 3 a.m., seven days a week, through Sunday, Sept. 11.
The Beach Bus provides service to Rehoboth Beach and the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk on Route 201; Dewey Beach on Route 203; Lewes on Route 204; Georgetown on Route 206; Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and Ocean City, Md., on Route 208; and Long Neck and Millsboro on Route 215.
DART’s Beach Connection, Route 305, provides service between Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays through Sept. 5, with stops at the Wilmington Transit Center, Christiana Mall, Odessa Park & Ride in Middletown, Scarborough Road Park & Ride in Dover, South Frederica Park & Ride, and the Lewes and Rehoboth Park & Rides.
In addition to the Beach Bus service, Rehoboth Park & Ride is served year round by Routes 206 and 215.
For more information, go to DartFirstState.com or call 1-800-652-DART. Real-time bus information and DART Pass, the mobile fare payment option, are both available on the free DART Transit app.