SHERMAN - Starting on Friday, the Texoma Area Paratransit System (TAPS) started the move of its call center and headquarters to temporary offices in preparation for the $7 million North Texas Regional Transportation Center construction project, which is scheduled to begin next spring.

SHERMAN - Starting on Friday, the Texoma Area Paratransit System (TAPS) started the move of its call center and headquarters to temporary offices in preparation for the $7 million North Texas Regional Transportation Center construction project, which is scheduled to begin next spring.


The new construction project is only the most recent sign of the boom in business for TAPS in the North Texas Region.


TAPS started as a spinoff of the Area Agency on Aging by providing transportation assistance primarily to senior citizens in Grayson, Fannin, and Cooke counties through its curb-to-curb service. TAPS made contracts to provide service in Clay and Montague in 2000 and Wise in 2001.


TAPS most recent expansion has been into Collin county, with Collin County service on July 1 and McKinney on July 31. TAPS started an additional route in Allen earlier this week.


TAPS is primarily funded through grants and funding from the State of Texas and Federal Government.


TAPS recent successes seem to originate going back to 2009, with changes to its board of directors, including the promotion of Brad Underwood as executive director of public transit.


"TAPS as an agency hit a wall in 2008," said Underwood.


Among the changes that were made to the agency in 2009 were extended hours and expanded Saturday service. Additionally, TAPS started fixed route services in addition to its curb-to-curb service in 2009. In October, TAPS added 45 additional fixed-route stops to service in Denison. in 2012 TAPS served 60,000 fix route trips in its service area, said Underwood.


"I think we will do even more this year," he said.


In 2009, TAPS had a budget of $1.4 million and has expanded to $19.8 million by 2013, said Dan Acree, public information manager for TAPS.


Fixed-routes are expected to become half of TAPS service within the next few years, said Acree.


"Underwood’s got the vision," said Acree. "He drives us crazy, but he’s got the vision."


TAPS recent expansion into Collin County has moved the agency closer to areas serviced by the Dallas Area Rapid Transit. The city of Allen received proposals from both agencies before settling on TAPS to provide transit service.


In October, DART and TAPS signed an agreement that would give TAPS access to the Parker Road Station in Plano, which is serviced by DART, said Morgan Lyons, director of media relations for DART.


"There are a lot of opportunities for expansion in the region," said Lyons, when asked about possible future partnerships with TAPS.


For the North Texas Regional Transportation Center, TAPS has partnered with the Texas Council of Governments and South Oklahoma Rural Transportation Services, said Underwood. Greyhound has also recently been added to the list of partners for the project, said Acree.


The 25,00-sqaure-foot complex is a major expansion from their 15,000-sqaure-foot current headquarters.


"We have simply outgrown our facilities," said Underwood.


With the expansion, TAPS is expected to add 50 to 100 more jobs over the next two years, primarily as drivers, said Acree. TAPS is expecting to add 47 additional buses to its fleet by the summer of 2014.


"Anything with rubber meeting the road will be in our vision," said Underwood.