DART Celebrates 250 Million Rail Rides by Making Man Late to Work, Probably Hiking Some Fares

Categories: Transportation

DART-250millionthrailrider.jpg
DART
You'd think someone at least would have offered to hold his lunch.
When the 3-year-old and I took the DART train to free day at the Nasher on Saturday, little did I know we were on the cusp of history. Ridiculously early this morning, some 36 hours after we stepped off the train, DART accosted feted one Don Johnson as the 15-year-old light rail system's 250 millionth passenger.

Johnson was traveling from his home in DeSoto to Richardson, where he works, when he was plucked from the train at Union Station and hustled over to DART CEO Gary Johnson, who presented him with a large "thank you" card and tickets to the Zoo, the Fair Park aquarium, Dallas Summer Musicals, and elsewhere.

A self-congratulatory video accompanying this morning's press release touts the rail system as the longest in the country and proof that, if you build it, they will come. (We won't delve into the wisdom of the ungainly hub-and-spoke model that has necessitated so many miles of rail). You can see the year-by-year ridership figures here.

The video also notes that this morning's celebration was not simply honoring Johnson, but you, too, dear rider.

Which is why, instead of free schwag, you'll be rewarded with a fare increase of, oh, 23 percent 33 percent for purchasers of a monthly or annual regional pass (though a fare decrease of 20 percent for the DART system). You can tell DART how that makes you feel at a series of town hall meetings or at a public hearing on June 26. Or by tweeting @dartmedia using #DARTFareChange from 1 to 2 p.m. on June 14. Keep it civil, people.

But back to Johnson. I'm sure all the goodies were much appreciated, but he surely wasn't riding the train at 5 a.m. just for laughs. There he is in the picture with Thomas, still clutching his lunch and coffee, and DART spokesman Mark Ball confirms, he was on his way to a job at Vent-a-Hood. So, unless Johnson plans his commute around surprise meet-and-greets with public transit officials, might pulling him off the train make him late?

"Sorta kinda," said DART spokesman Mark Ball. "Because all the TV stations kept wanting him to go live."

But never fear. DART takes care of its customers so, in an ironic final twist, it gave its 250 millionth rail passenger a ride to work. In a car.

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25 comments
cp
cp

"DART CEO Gary Johnson"Gary Thomas. You got it right two paragraphs below.  "There he is in the picture with Thomas"

T. Erickson
T. Erickson

Been wondering what happened to Don Johnson after the cancellation of "Miami Vice" and that awful music video for "Heartbeat."

veesee
veesee

This kind of eliminates the cost-effectiveness of riding public transportation. As it stands, a $1.50 each way is about what I would spend on gas to get to and from work. Bump that up to $5 a day and I'm officially paying way more to triple my commute time. I try to be that rare, limp bird that eschews a car in favor of bicycle and train, but it just makes less and less sense.

So, sorry, DART. You've lost me.

not a DART ryda
not a DART ryda

Reasons I don't use DART rail:1. Waiting for a bus is a beat-down, and once aboard, you never know what kinda crazies you'll have to put up with. Buses are out of the question for me. 2. In my car, I don't have to put up with ass-out thugs who don't understand the concept of headphones, putting away trash, and common courtesy in general. 3. The one time I tried to be civic and take the DART to have dinner and drinks with my girlfriend, we missed the last train and had to ask a friend for a ride. Around 11 pm. 4. So long as I have to take any train downtown first before being able to come back up on the other side of town, the system is impractical. Thanks, Park Cities. 5. Express trains that didn't stop at every single station would be nice. I'm sure I could come up with ten to twenty other reasons... 

cp
cp

You mean there are no ass-out thugs littering on the streets? 

not a DART ryda
not a DART ryda

Yeah, but I don't walk. However, I've almost run some of their ass-out asses over while they casually crossed 6-lane streets like NW Highway and Buckner as though they were strolling across an alley. 

Omar Jimenez
Omar Jimenez

Next time would I suggest wearing a No Soliciting Sign.

scottindallas
scottindallas

I haven't heard anyone blaring music when I've been on the trains.  And, the express train smacks of white people problems.   They definitely need an intersecting line, maybe along LBJ along the N. Side.  Connect in/near Mesquite and then come up Military Pkwy, 80 or 30. 

I would also like to see streetcars, trolley lines running off of many if not most stations. That should help achieve the role of the bus on a more limited scale. Though I think it carries more chic, (in that I'm guessing you'd be less creeped out by streetcars.) I think we'd see desirable development along those lines.

not a DART ryda
not a DART ryda

How does an express train smack of white people problems? Any decent train/rail system has express trains. I'm not talking about getting to work, either because I personally live within a short bike ride of my job. I'm talking about do we really need EVERY train EVERY day to stop at stations like LBJ Central or Cityplace? Do we need EVERY station downtown served during the weekends? 

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

1. agreed, on both the bus and rail I've been asked for money a couple of times. I never carry cash but if I did, come on homeless guy, I'm riding the bus, think I have extra money?(great excuse to use if you have beat up shoes and holes in your pants. IOW, hide the expensive watch.)2. and you can't hear ass out thugs making fun of you in your car as opposed to them sitting just a few seats away from you. 3. Had that happen to me when I took the kids to the circus. We got stuck with multiple families at the West End station when they stopped running the trains, after they assured us at the platform they were going to run for another hour. After a couple of supervisors came down and saw the clusterfuck that some scheduler made, they had to bring two trains to take everyone north to the hinterlands of Richardson and Plano. It's pretty dark down there at 11pm, no?4. The system is impractical if you don't live or work within a mile of the lines. The bus system blows ass.5. Such an asswhipping going south from the 190/Plano Rd station. 

Fletch
Fletch

I don't think DART gives a crap what its ridership thinks of this or any proposed fare increase.  By the time they've brought it up, it's pretty much a done deal.  These public hearings are just part of the due process.

Furthermore, regardless of how many miles of rail lines DART can claim, I don't know that I'd call it a success.  It still lags behind rail networks in other major cities and does not present much in the way of viable transportation options for people who aren't part of the 9 to 5 Monday through Friday crowd.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

I cannot imagine a visitor being able to navigate Dallas bus and rail transportation. The Dallas system may be the worst new rail ever built and cannot compare in the least to NYC, Boston, chicago, DC, London, Paris, Munich, and on and on

cp
cp

Tuscon. How do we compare to Tuscon? 

scottindallas
scottindallas

those meetings are perfunctory public farces.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

I refuse to consider the light rail system even remotely successful until DART manages to have operating stations at either or both of our airports.

cp
cp

But already have a "Love Field station".... It's merely two miles away at Inwood and Maple!

Omar Jimenez
Omar Jimenez

We would of have a direct connection to Love Field, but it was too expense. Although in 2014 the train will go into DFW.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 great comment, but kinda broke the wall there.  That didn't sound like "Scruffy" 

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Do you know how much $$$ Love field would lose as well as the other parking companies? There's barely enough parking at Love now. When SWA can start flying everywhere, it's going to be a clusterfuck of parking the likes we've never seen.

and maybe some east-west lines?It's just not attractive to have to hop a train, then wait for a bus or vice versa.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

TRDP1,

Very funny. If there is a shortage of parking space , decent airport transportation should help alleviate the shortage. Hell, they want to build a garage at Victory that isn't needed, so I would think a needed rail line to Love would be a lead pipe cinch.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Frankly, I'd be far more interested in seeing DFW with a station, but Love would be rather useful with one too. Not just for residents, which is obvious, but also business travelers who could take the train in to downtown (or Las Colinas) and even people with connections if a flight in to Love and out of DFW or vice versa was their best option.

I wish DART/City of Arlington/TRE/whoever needs to form a justice league of authority would get a frigging clue and give us a station that drops you at the doorstep of the Ballpark/Death Star too, but we'll probably see Jerry cold in the ground first, and with my luck he's immortal.

scottindallas
scottindallas

that would KILL the value of all those parking spaces.  You have no appreciation of how the rentiers need to keep their poor children fed. 

And, again, you're too emotional about this issue.  Where's scruffy?  I need my Futurama fix

Morgan Lyin
Morgan Lyin

Your obstinate refusal to buy into our collective delusion marks you as an outsider and a malcontent and if any of the train lines around here could get us where I'd really like to go, we'd come over there and kick your butt! 

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