Who Wins a Race to DFW from Downtown Using a Car and DART During Rush Hour?

Categories: Transportation

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AshleyNBC5
This was me stuck in traffic this morning. Take the train, guys.

Your boss tells you that you have to attend a business meeting in Paris, you poor thing. After packing a bag or two, how much time should you reasonably allot to get to the airport from your downtown office?

In honor of DART's new orange line expansion, we decided to compare driving to DFW from downtown, during rush hour, compared to taking the DART train. My colleague Sky Chadde kindly volunteered to act as a guinea pig in this experiment, taking the DART train from the West End Downtown location to DFW. I drove from the station.

According to Texas A&M's Texas Transportation Institute, between gas and car wear, DFW drivers wasted around $1,000 each in 2012 sitting in traffic. My calculator informs me that's about $2.74 per day. So, let's say you sacrifice around $2.74 to drive to DFW during rush hour. The cost of a DART ticket to DFW is $2.50, so you're saving about 20 cents by taking DART.

But let's not forget parking. The cheapest parking tabs at some of the remote long-term locations cost $9 per day. Even if you add on a DART ride from your neighborhood to the West End station, it's still $2.50 including the ride to the airport.

Now for the time comparison. Without traffic, the 20-mile journey would have taken me about 25 minutes. During morning rush hour it took me 42 minutes to get to remote parking, where the DART stop is located, from downtown. It would have taken me another 20 minutes until I could catch the shuttle to Terminal A, and then likely another 10 minutes on the shuttle. Sky took 51 minutes to get directly to Terminal A.

It's worth noting that Sky also got to read and journal and do any number of amusing activities during his ride to DFW, while I decoded the literature on the bumper stickers in front of me for half an hour. Sky was, predictably, in a much better mood when we met back up at the downtown station.

There's a lesson to be learned from this very scientific experiment: Depending on where you live, it's potentially much better on your watch and wallet to take the DART line on your next trip to DFW. More important, it might leave you just a little bit less crabby before you board your plane. Your flight attendant thanks you in advance.


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41 comments
ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

That photo never gets old.  Total chaos.

Apocalypse_91
Apocalypse_91

I am a big guy (6'8").  I wouldn't have trouble with this; however, a female, by herself, with luggage is taking her safety into her own hands on the DART rail anywhere between the 2 main hospitals on the route. A better option would be to have a train that only stops at 2-3 places and goes directly to the airport with minimal stops. Its just not practical for most people. 

DerpDudeTX
DerpDudeTX

When are we getting direct DART rail service into Love? Heck, just give us another trolley.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Myrna travels light, so DART to DFW is a great option.  If you take along tons of luggage?  Not so much. 

ramirez-ben
ramirez-ben

I call bullshit on this whole article... whatever you got for in exchange must have been pretty nice to write flat out bullshit! I drive for a living and your travel times and cost estimates are way off! You must be degreed in your field!

Chattering_Monkey
Chattering_Monkey

"It would have taken me another 20 minutes until I could catch the shuttle to Terminal A, and then likely another 10 minutes on the shuttle."


What is the "would have" and "likely" shit?  You didnt wait to actually see, you are just estimating?  If so, then why did you even leave the office?

Bobtex
Bobtex

You say $2.74 to drive to DFW from downtown?  The IRS mileage rate, which reflects the cost of driving per mile, is $.56 per mile.  For this 20 mile trip, the cost is actually $11.20, plus parking for at least $9.00, making the true cost of driving $20.20, not $2.74.  For one day.  For every day of your trip, add another $9.00 for parking, or $0 for DART.


If you have lots of cash to burn, take a taxi, or a shuttle, or drive your SUV and use valet parking, and you will probably save a few minutes (unless you get caught in traffic) but you will pay a hefty price for those minutes.  If you would rather use your cash for a notel room, or a meal, or a few drinks, or other more pleasant amusements, ride DART.  By the way, the "DART stop" you reference must be for the shuttle to the TRE station, at the remote parking.  If you use the Orange Line (which was the point of the article), you go directly to Terminal A.

Guesty
Guesty

"Sky took 51 minutes to get directly to Terminal A."  So it sounds like a wash, with one or the other winning under different circumstances that are mostly out of your control.

How long did it take Sky to get to his train stop in Downtown?

How much time did Sky wait for this train in Downtown?  Could be none, could be 20 minutes. 

How long would it have taken Sky to get from Terminal A to Terminal C, if that was where his flight was leaving?

Why assume 20 minutes waiting for DART at the parking garage?  It could be no time at all (like you assumed for waiting on the train).

I think it's good that the train runs to the airport, but I wouldn't count on it saving me any time.

 



TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Based on my most recent trip thru DFW's Terminal E construction fiasco, I'm gonna' go out on a limb and say nobody wins.

NewsDog
NewsDog

DART re-invents the wheel, sort of.

Back in the late '70s the pre DART transit system used to have a business shuttle that went from D/FW to an office at LBJ & Coit. I used to drop off and/or pick up my dad at the office a lot. It was nice and Dad said it was usually full.

Don't remember why they stopped it?  

Chattering_Monkey
Chattering_Monkey

"This was me stuck in traffic this morning. Take the train, guys"


No wonder it took you so long, why the fuck would you go up to 635 to go to DFW?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Which route did you take from downtown? 25 minutes to go 20 miles in non rush hour?  how slow do you drive?  I've driven from Downtown to DFW on a Friday at 2 pm a few times, and it takes about 17-19 minutes to get to Terminal A gate 17 to pick up my mom.  114 is awesome now that its construction free over to DFW.  


I will however, next time my mom visits, have her take the train from DFW to downtown to meet me, bc that'll save me some gas for sure.  

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@ramirez-ben I can see how cabbies are outraged at this new option to get to the airport.  Tough!  Lower your outrageous fares.

DerpDudeTX
DerpDudeTX

@Chattering_Monkey Probably because anyone who is dumb enough to park on site at DFW knows it does take that long. That is why off site parking is superior if one must park.

Chattering_Monkey
Chattering_Monkey

@Bobtex IF you want to add in the cost per mile, well lets add in the cost to run the train up to DFW then. 


Also, since the basis of the story is that your boss sends you to Paris on a business trip, your being reimbursed for miles, airfare, parking and everything else.  Besides, what suit wants to get on a DART with bunch of riff raff when they can ride in the luxury of their Mercedes or Bimmer

DavidRoot
DavidRoot

@Guesty Good point. A better experiment would have Sky and Emily both leave Sky's house at the same time, not the station.

DerpDudeTX
DerpDudeTX

@Montemalone For a while I thought we were talking about Sky Link then I realized they employed someone with the name Sky. Such an unlucky person.

J_A_
J_A_

To be fair, the mess at Terminal E compares to other airports sans construction. I like DFW but hate AA

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@NewsDog 

Please remember that DART is not about moving people around.  It is an organization that is set up to spend a 1 cent sales tax; and, obtain and spend Federal transportation grants.


The passengers are necessary inconvenience to their business plan.

DerpDudeTX
DerpDudeTX

@ScottsMerkin  Where's our monorail?!

The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley
The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley

@DerpDudeTX 

Parking off site is its own special asswhip.  All that extra time you gave yourself slowly evaporates as your shuttle picks up at every terminal.  Or watching countless shuttles pass you by because they are assigned to a lot other than where you are parked.  It may be cheaper, but there's a reason it is.

J_A_
J_A_

I like certain aspects of different airlines. My big gripe with AA is how expensive it is to change an existing reservation ($200) on top of fare difference. Also you can't use the entire credit of a round trip flight on a one way ticket. I had to fly out of town last minute due to a family emergency and tried to change an existing flight I had to leave earlier. On top of the $600 flight they wanted to charge another $1,300 for the change. I ended up booking a one way on Delta. I also had a united flight related to this visit that I was able to cancel with no penalties, they just credited back my card.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@jczart @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @NewsDog 

The number of people that DART will transport to DFW Airport is statistically insignificant whether it is airplane passengers or airport employees.


It probably would have been more cost effective to reimburse people for cab rides.  That is, take the money invested in this rail line, put it into 10 year Treasury Notes and use the interest to purchase cab rides.


One thing that the story, including DART's own PR fail to mention is what is involved to get from the DART station at Terminal A to other Terminals at DFW Airport.


The biggest faults with the design of the DART light rail system is that it does not have any accommodations for express trains; and, all DART light rail trains are eventually concentrated on one section of rail line across the northern edge of the CBD.

The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley
The_triplefake_Brandon_Eley

@DerpDudeTX

I use Parking Spot and generally like their service.  But both the examples I posted above are Parking Spot experiences. As I said, the price is cheaper for a reason.

DavidRoot
DavidRoot

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul Let's see the numbers on expense of reimbursing cab fares versus building a public transportation infrastructure. 


This is something someone can actually do in excel right now. Even an employee of the Dallas Observer.

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