No solo passenger is too young to ride DART

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on November 30, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 1 at 1:52 PM

DALLAS — Four-year-old Davieon Hart can't even tie his shoes, yet he was allowed to get on and off a DART bus alone on Tuesday.

Daveion admitted that he was scared to be by himself after leaving school without anyone noticing,  but as News 8 reported exclusively on Tuesday, DART says its passenger policy has no age restrictions.

“There is no minimum age requirement to ride the bus," said Morgan Lyons, a spokesman for the transit agency. "We hope folks will exercise good judgment about whether their children ride."

DART says parents put little kids on buses and trains every day to get to school. But what about a child  as young as two years old riding alone?

“Certainly a parent can make that choice to do that," Lyons said.

DART said it teaches its operators to call for help if they see anything unusual. But that training failed in Daveion's case.

"They should have looked at how young he was and not let him on the bus by himself," said Betsy Hart, the child's mother.

DART said  it has talked to the bus operator in this case,  who claims Daveion got on and off the bus with a group of people and didn't notice anything was wrong.

But another passenger, Renee Gonzales, told News 8 that she informed the operator Daveion wasn't her child, and DART admits that's true.

"When the operator gets the information that this is not my child, the operator acts, tries to get information," Lyons said. "By the time the operator can do anything, they've taken off."

The driver claimed she asked other passengers if the child belonged to them. Then noticed Daveion and Gonzales were walking across the street together and assumed everything was OK.

"I asked the bus driver, 'Where is his parents?' and she just shrugged her shoulders and said she didn't know and drove off," Gonzales said.

The driver did not call for help or intervene. Still, DART said the driver violated no policy and did nothing wrong.

DART emphasized that it is a public transit system and can’t restrict who rides. It does not plan to review or change that policy.

Children under 5 are allowed to ride for free.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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