DART First State

The Delaware Transit Corporation, operating as DART First State, is the only public transportation system that operates throughout Delaware, USA. DART First State is a subsidiary of the Delaware Department of Transportation.

Although most of its routes run in and around Wilmington and Newark in New Castle County and connect to two Cecil County, Maryland routes; DART operates bus route networks in the Dover area of Kent County; five year-round bus routes which hub at Georgetown in Sussex County, plus six seasonal routes connecting Rehoboth Beach and other beach towns in Sussex County and with Ocean City, Maryland.

DART was awarded the prestigious Public Transportation System Outstanding Achievement Award by the American Public Transportation Association in 2003.

DART First State operates 43 fixed route bus routes throughout New Castle County, the majority of which hub in downtown Wilmington at Rodney Square. Other major bus hubs in New Castle County include Newark Transit Hub and the Christiana Mall. Most routes operate Monday through Saturday with some Sunday service. All except 4 of these routes are directly operated by DART First State; the remaining 4 routes (Rts. 43, 59, 62 & 64) are operated by a third-party contractor.

DART First State operates 13 fixed route bus routes within the Dover area. These bus routes operate Monday through Friday with some Saturday service out of the Dover Transit Center in downtown Dover as a hub-and-spoke system. These routes are numbered in the 100-series. In addition to the fixed-route service, GoLink Flex bus service provides service from points within the Dover area to a free transfer to a fixed route. This service is available on weekdays through advance reservations.

DART First State operates a total of 11 bus routes within Sussex County. Five of these routes offer year-round fixed route bus service within Sussex County and connect at Georgetown. During summer months, DART operates 6 additional seasonal bus routes which hub at the Rehoboth Park and Ride lot and offer connecting service to coastal communities along the Delaware shoreline and to Ocean City, Maryland from mid-May to mid-September. These routes are numbered in the 200-series. Three of the year-round routes are „Flex Routes“, where passengers can make reservations for the bus to pick them up within a mile off the fixed route and also flag the bus at any location in designated Flag Zones; these routes are numbered in the 900-series.

DART First State operates two intercounty bus routes which connect the three separate systems. Route 301 operates weekday service between Downtown Wilmington, Christiana Mall, Middletown, Smyrna, and Dover, connecting the New Castle and Kent Counties fixed route systems. Route 303 operates between Dover and Georgetown, connecting the Kent and Sussex Counties fixed route systems. During the summer months, DART First State operates Route 305 on weekends, connecting Wilmington and Dover with Rehoboth Beach from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

DART First State, through the Delaware Department of Transportation, subsidizes the segment of the Wilmington/Newark Line of SEPTA Regional Rail within the State of Delaware. SEPTA operates the service under contract with DART First State. Signage at the Delaware stations differs from that at other SEPTA Regional Rail stations.

These trains originate in Philadelphia and operate to Wilmington station in Wilmington, with an intermediate stop at Claymont station. A few rush-hour trains continue on to Newark station in Newark, with an intermediate stop at Churchmans Crossing station, located near the Delaware Park horse racing track.

Most DART First State bus routes have a base cash fare of $2 as of February 2016. Cash fares must be paid in exact change. A reduced fare is available for senior citizens and disabled persons. Children under 46 inches in height and the blind ride for free. DART First State does not issue transfers; riders who use multiple buses must purchase a Day Pass. Intercounty bus routes along with Route 45 have zone fares based on distance traveled. Weekly or Monthly SEPTA TrailPasses can be used on buses in northern New Castle County.

DART First State offers a stored value card called DARTCard that can be used to pay for single-ride bus fares or a Daily Pass. DARTCards are available in six denominations (Gold, Blue, Yellow, Green, Purple, and Platinum) ranging from $9.60 to $65.00 for regular fares along with a $14.00 Red DARTCard for reduced fares for senior citizens and disabled persons. DARTCards provide a discount off the regular fare, with the discount increasing the more expensive the card is. For example, the Gold DARTCard costs $9.60 and has a value of $12.00 for a 20% discount; while the Platinum DARTCard costs $65.00 and has a value of $108.00 for a 40% discount. The reduced fare DARTCard costs $14.00 and has a value of $46.00 for a 70% discount. DARTCards are not rechargeable and a new one must be purchased once the value is used up. DARTCards are available from DART First State by purchasing over the phone, by mail, or online; they are also available at selected retailers across the state.