Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: You Can Take DART to the Airport, but Beware the Coyotes

Categories: Transportation

DARTBUS.jpg
As part of our look this week at what it means to live in Dallas without a car, Amy Silverstein put DART to the test to see how well it could get her from our offices at Oak Lawn and Maple avenues to D/FW International.

There's a United Airlines flight leaving Dallas at 6:33 p.m. on a Wednesday. Google Maps tells me I can get there in an hour and 15 minutes by public transit if I catch a 4:23 p.m. bus outside the Dallas Observer office, and then take the TRE, then take another bus and then walk for half a mile. Two transfers and a 10-minute walk? That's not bad at all.

It says I will arrive by 5:38, giving me just enough time to run through the airport and barely make it for boarding time. I accept this challenge.

See also: Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: I Want My Damn Car Back
Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: Cabbies Find Ways to Survive in a Tough Business
Adventures in a Car-rFee Dallas: Which Transportation Alternative Is Right for You?
Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: Catching a Ride Where Cabbies Fear to Tread

4:23 My bus, the 409, drives by me without stopping as I wait at the stop. Time to call up a new route on Google Maps.

The new route is completely different. Everything is ruined. Now it says I must take the 29 bus from the same stop, to a second bus. One less transfer, but I'll still need to walk for half a mile. And I will not get to my terminal until 6:10.

4:36 My scheduled bus arrives and actually stops. It would cost $2.50, but the cash machine doesn't work so I don't have to pay.

4:45 Now I'm on my second bus. The driver is asking a passenger about his stepdaughter as she waits for people to board. "She doesn't talk to me and I don't talk to her," the passenger responds.

4:52 She starts driving. The windows are covered with thick black screens, so the view outside is more depressing than usual.

5:06 We're slowly making our way to Irving by street, passing Mockingbird Lane and Interstate 35. Peeking through the screen, I see everything mostly looks the same. We pass a sign for a place called Adult Superstore.

5:31 The bus is pretty empty until we get to the downtown Irving Heritage Crossing Station. I'm going to need to get to the airport soon.

6:08 We have arrived! To a rental car station on Airfield Drive. Google tells me it's time to begin my half-mile walk.

6:10 A sign in front of the building where I was dropped off says I should head left to get to the terminal. Google agrees, so I head that way.

6:15 There are no sidewalks. I'm walking in the grass along a four-lane highway.

6:25 Google indicates that I now need to walk across the highway and cut through a barren field. Weird. Why isn't anyone else doing this? Instead, I walk back to the mini-building where my bus left me to figure it out.

"Is that you I saw walking along the road?" a DART bus driver asks as he waits for people to board.

Yes. I say I need to go to the United Airlines terminal. That won't be a problem. It turns out the bus stop where I was dropped also has DART buses that shuttle riders to the terminals for free. Google Maps forgot to mention that.

6:30 The bus driver is now getting me to my terminal safely, nearly an hour later than I intended. We see some coyotes in the field I almost walked through. I'm glad they didn't eat me, but I've probably missed my hypothetical flight.


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39 comments
swimonedal
swimonedal

this is why we can't go around tearing out expressways in dallas...we're not ready to be a non-driving city

msitarzewski
msitarzewski

DART Orange line to Terminal A will be done in September. BTW, I've been to every stop in the system, and it's a super rail system. Yes, some stops do require more security than others. Express trains and USB power would be great enhancements! :)

anon1
anon1

Taking DART to DFW is possible, but is a hassle.  Walking from the car rental site indicates very poor research by Silverstein.   One exits bus 409 at the remote south parking and then takes the free DFW airport shuttle to the terminals.


Or one can take the TRE to Centerpoint station and take DART bus 500 to Terminal A.  One could also take from Centerpoint the free DFW shuttle to remote south parking, followed by another free DFW shuttle to the terminals.


Or one takes the Orange Line to the Belt Line station and take DART bus 500 to Terminal A.

Guest
Guest

Why wouldn't you just take the orange line out to Belt Line, then catch the bus there?

lebowski300
lebowski300

Because of how hot Dallas is and how luggage actually works in the real world, until light rail actually has a stop at an airport there is no blend of public transportation and flying.

veruszetec
veruszetec

Out of the few times I've been forced to use DART busses, I've had my scheduled bus simply drive right past the stop I was waiting at more often than not.

I might understand if the bus was full, but that never seems to be the case. It seems that the drivers just skip stops when they're running late. No wonder nobody uses them.

jlatimer11
jlatimer11

Google Maps? DART has it's own app that you can buy tickets and plan your entire route. So much easier.

casiepierce
casiepierce

WHY in the world did you route this with google maps? Are you that dense or don't you realize that DART can map this out for you?

jahbrooks
jahbrooks

Fly SWA and completely forget DFW. If Southwest doesn't fly there, then you shouldn't go there!

rubberduky
rubberduky

Wow what a bunch of pussies y'all are at the observer. Try commuting in Houston on the metro service. Bunch of which whiney bitches y'all are. Dart is by far more efficient than any Texas city, but what the last laugh is, is that you fuckers that complain still have to pay for all the expansions with that thing called .....TAX. and I don't take dart as I have my own vehicle.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Too bad you didn't get a chance to go all "Rick Perry" on those coyotes.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Using the trip planner on the DART website returns the following itinerary:


Assuming you want to reach DFW, terminal A by 5pm today

Bus #29: 3:52pm

ORANGE Rail line

Bus #500

5:05pm Arrive DFW, terminal A


Total travel time:1h12 20

Total walking distance: 075mi

kduble
kduble

@msitarzewski We'll never have express LRT trains. This would require triple, if not quadruple tracking, which would, in turn, double the right-of-way requirement. This would be a problem, as DART largely exists on abandoned freight right-of-way.

Furthermore, I don't know of an LRT system anywhere on the planet with express lanes. LRT is basically a bare-bones rail setup.


That being said, service to DFW is slated for December of this year, and the DART chief has been quoted as saying it could even be moved up to be in place in time for the State Fair of Texas.


One caveat: Passengers using the LRT won't be able to transfer to Skytrain with checked bags, so they'll have to use the buses. The reason: The airport was designed prior to today's security screening procedures. If you use carry-on bags, however, you'll be able to go directly from the Orange line to Skytrain, and you'll then be able to ride to any terminal you want. This will encourage savy travelers to travel light. Not that they need much encouragement, given the carry-on fees.

Guest
Guest

@veruszetec  Uh... you ever consider waving at the driver as he approaches?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@veruszetec  Check the schedule.  Some of those routes express it at certain hours, leaving out some stops.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@veruszetec The only place I will wait for DART buses is in front of convenience stores.  The drivers are more apt to stop there as they can dart inside for a drink or a bite to eat.  The trick is to know which stores your particular bus/driver prefer to stop at.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

You left sumpin else out. A decimal point.

Who wants to walk 75 miles with luggage?

Or even .075.

veruszetec
veruszetec

Of course. Made no difference, nor did making direct eye contact. When I called the customer support line to complain, they confirmed the driver should be doing at my stop and that they would talk to him... didn't make any difference. I've since given up and am back to driving.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

But if the drivers ignore you, it's GoPast. And therefore useless.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@ozonelarryb  OOh dear.  You're right.  It should be .075


Wait.  .075 miles is only a few yards, no? 131 yards.  Just went to a converter.  That's not far with a rolling bag.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

The German in my phone is not reliable. Sorry.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

I know u do. And it is tedious, repetitive, intrusive, distracting. I know you 2 are addicted to it, but for me, the thrill is gone.

And the reason shlep is second IS BECAUSE IT'S SECOND.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@ozonelarryb  schlep shlep (ʃlɛp) 


v. schlepped or shlepped, schlep•ping or shlep•ping,
n. Slang. v.t.1. to carry with great effort; lug.v.i.2. to move slowly, awkwardly, or tediously.n.3. a person who is slow or awkward.4. a tedious journey.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Where did u learn to spell Yiddish? Or are u allergic to C?

Why start with the gratuitous ad hominem? Drops you to the level u accuse others of. Or, Friday, and the chardonnay starts early?

Even on a day trip, my roller is 49 lbs. Plus laptop. Plus misc stuff like clothes. Way too much for DRAT.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@ozonelarryb  Please.  A roller bag and a carry on is what most travelers shlep nowadays, unless you're ruddski touring his tacky drag act around Louisiana.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Fine for the overnight. But airport parking for 1 day is not a killer.

what about the week long trip. With 2 bags, carryon.... wrasslin that mess on a DRAT bus or train looks like a 10th circle.

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