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Dallas Transit System

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Dallas Transit System

Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Arapaho Center Light Rail Station(Top)
A DART NovaBus RTS(Bottom)
Founded 1983
Headquarters 1401 Pacific Avenue
Locale Dallas, Texas
Service area Dallas and 12 nearby suburbs[1]
Service type Bus, light rail, commuter rail
Routes 113 bus
18 FLEX / shuttle
4 light rail
1 commuter rail
Stops 12,322
Hubs 15 (transfer centers)
Stations 55 (light rail)
10 (commuter rail)
Fleet 612 (bus)
163 (light rail)
Daily ridership 252,900[2]
Fuel type DC Electric, Liquefied Natural Gas, Diesel

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit authority (or DART) is a transit agency based in Dallas, Texas. It operates buses, light rail, commuter rail, and high-occupancy vehicle lanes in Dallas and 12 of its suburbs. With the extension of the Orange Line to Belt Line station at the edge of DFW Airport on December 3, 2012, DART is the largest light rail operator in the United States, with 85 miles (136.8 km) of track.


Average daily ridership for DART has been in the vicinity of 200,000 riders per day over the last couple decades. In the 1st quarter of 1998, DART's weekday ridership averaged 211,000 riders per day system-wide.[3] Total ridership numbers have risen and fallen since then; total ridership, including Trinity Railway Express ridership, has been as high as 248,500 average weekday riders in the 3rd quarter of 2008,[4] and as low as 194,700 average weekday riders in the 1st quarter of 2010.[5] However, after a year-long study in 2012 that counted passenger counts through both the existing manual method and a new automated counting system, DART concluded that it has been underreporting rail ridership by more than 15 percent each year.[6] In the 4th quarter of 2012, DART reported total ridership of 252,900 weekday riders on average.[2]

DART reported the following ridership numbers in the 4th quarter of 2012:[2]

  • Bus: 136,500 average weekday riders
  • Light rail: 103,100 average weekday riders
  • Trinity Railway Express: 7,300 average weekday riders
  • On-Call: 2,000 average weekday riders
  • Vanpool: 4,000 average weekday riders


Precursor agencies

Oak Cliff to north Dallas. The name was changed shortly after the last streetcar ran in January 1956. DART formally took over operations of the DTS in 1988.

In 2000, DART employees restored a 1966 DTS bus to its original state.[7]

Creation of DART

DART was created on August 13, 1983 as a regional replacement for the DTS (Although the name "Dallas Area Rapid Transit" was intended to reflect the new agency's coverage of the greater Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, its acronym DART almost immediately evoked comparisons to San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit system, known as BART). Citizens of 15 area cities had voted to levy a 1% sales tax to join the system by the time it began transit services in 1984 (though formal acquisition of the Dallas Transit System wouldn't be complete until 1988).[8][9]

In 1985, member cities Carrollton and Farmers Branch held elections to pull out of DART, though the measures failed. But shifting suburban politics and a loss of confidence in DART management after voters declined to support DART's measure to incur long term debt in 1988 led to 7 more pullout votes, two of which (Flower Mound and Coppell) were successful. Just one suburb joined DART — the tiny community of Buckingham, which was later annexed by DART member city Richardson.

Financial scandal

In December 2007, DART revealed that it was facing a $1 billion shortfall in funds earmarked for the Blue Line rail service to Rowlett and Orange Line service to Irving, and DFW Airport. In January 2008, DART announced that it would divert monies from rail lines being built in Dallas. When Dallas officials protested, DART president and executive director Gary Thomas—who had known about the shortfall for at least eight months—announced that the agency would borrow more money instead.

In late January 2008, DART Board chair Lynn Flint Shaw, who was also treasurer of Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert's "Friends of Tom Leppert" fund-raising committee, resigned from her DART post. In February, she surrendered to the police on charges of forgery. On March 10, Shaw and her husband, political analyst Rufus Shaw, were found dead in their home in what turned out to be a murder suicide.[10][11]

DART Light Rail

Main article: DART Light Rail

The DART light rail system comprises 85 miles (136.8 km) between its four lines — the Red Line, the Blue Line, the Orange Line and the Green Line. According to NCTCOG transit statistics, DART's light rail system had a daily ridership of 109,511 average trips per weekday in October 2012 which is an increase of more than 81% since October 2010. The system utilizes light rail trains manufactured by Kinki Sharyo, with all trains being converted to "Super" LRVs (SLRVs) which feature level boarding (especially convenient for strollers and wheelchairs) and higher passenger capacity.[12] All 163 of DART's light rail vehicles have been converted and are now SLRVs.[12]

Before the 1983 election, DART had a plan for 160 miles (257.5 km) of rail. After the election, the plan was pared down to 147 miles (236.6 km) miles when Duncanville, Grand Prairie and Mesquite, which would have had rail lines, didn't opt to join the agency. DART chose light rail transit as its primary mode of rail transportation in 1984. The plan was pared down again to 93 miles (149.7 km) miles before the 1988 bond vote. After the vote, the agency again pared down the regional rail system to 84 miles (135.2 km) miles; 66 miles (106.2 km) light rail miles and 18 miles of commuter rail. As of December 2012, DART boasts 4 lines and the extension of Orange line to DFW airport is underway. Preliminary construction survey for another 63 mile Cotton Belt Rail Line to Ft. Worth has begun.

The following lines are currently active:

  • Red Line (Opened in 1996, completed in its current state in 2002)
  • Blue Line (Opened in 1996, completed in its current state in 2012, additions scheduled for 2018)
  • Green Line (Opened in 2009, completed in its current state on Dec. 4, 2010)
  • Orange Line (First Orange-only stations opened on July 30, 2012, more opened on December 3, 2012, DFW airport station is scheduled for 2014}

Segments of the following line are still under construction:

On December 18, 2000, DART opened the first public subway station in Texas. Cityplace station is served by the Red, Blue, and Orange Lines.[14]


McKinney Avenue Transit Authority

DART also assists in the operation of the M-line Streetcar, with a joint operating subsidy given to the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority along with the Uptown Improvement District.

Downtown Dallas Streetcar Project

DART plans to construct a streetcar line which will operate between downtown Dallas and Oak Cliff by way of the Houston Street Viaduct.[15] While its first phase is planned to operate from Union Station to Methodist Dallas Medical Center, additional funding will enable extending the line south to the Bishop Arts District and east from Union Station to the Dallas Convention Center.[15][16]

The project, a collaborative endeavor between DART, the City of Dallas, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), and the Federal Railroad Administration, is being funded in part by a federal TIGER grant awarded to DART in December of 2010.[15][17] DART reallocated $22 million in local funds to the streetcar project which were originally scheduled for a proposed people-mover between Inwood Love/Field station and Love Field. In January 2013, NCTCOG approved reallocating $31 million in state funds earmarked for the Love Field people-mover to the streetcar project. The combined funding will allow construction of both the first and second phases of the streetcar project.[16]

Commuter rail

Trinity Railway Express

The Trinity Railway Express (TRE) commuter rail line connects downtown Dallas with downtown Fort Worth. The TRE, created in 1996 by an interlocal agreement between DART and the Fort Worth Transit Authority, "The T", connected the cities' centers by rail for the first time since the 1930s, excluding Amtrak's Texas Eagle.

The TRE commuter line has an average weekday ridership of 7,300 passengers per day[2] and is the fifteenth most-ridden commuter rail system in the country. In 2012, the TRE carried a total of 2.3 million passengers.[18]

DCTA A-train

The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) built its A-train commuter rail service in partnership with DART and the TRE. The DCTA is leasing the right-of-way for its 21-mile commuter line from DART, and coordinated with DART to provide connecting service between the A-train and DART's Green Line. The DCTA also leased Budd diesel rail cars from the TRE for its initial service.[19] The A-train currently operates between downtown Denton and Trinity Mills station, where a transfer to the Green Line is available. Through its partnerships with DART and TRE, DCTA sells "Regional" fare passes which include access to DART and TRE service.[20]


In 2006, DART operates 120 fixed-regular bus routes and several circular and shuttle routes. There are 32 local routes, which serve downtown Dallas. Some locals link the suburbs with downtown Dallas. There are 11 express routes which ferry passengers between two areas with limited or no stops in between. These utilize HOV lanes on freeways when possible. There are 29 suburban routes, which link the suburban neighborhoods of DART to transit centers. DART has 18 crosstown routes which run through Dallas and its suburbs, but not downtown. The final fixed route category are the 30 rail-feeder routes that start and/or end at rail stations.

Most trips in the DART system are carried by the bus system. In the 1st quarter of 2010, DART had 125,500 bus trips per average weekday out of a total of 194,700 trips.[5]

DART numbers its bus routes according to the type of route:

  • Local routes, serving downtown: 1-183
  • Express routes, limited-stop service using larger vehicles with reclining seats: 200s
  • "Suburban" routes, local routes originating at a transit center: 300s
  • Crosstown routes, local routes connecting widely separated areas: 400s
  • Rail feeder routes, local routes originating at a rail station: 500s

In addition to the above regular fixed routes, DART will also contract with its neighbors or businesses and run circulators, like the Southern Methodist University or NorthPark Center circulators or shuttles for Texas Instruments or UT Southwestern Medical Center. The circulator routes are given number in the 700 range, while the shuttles are listed in the 800s.

DART runs its bus system similar to the hub and spoke model that some airlines use. DART has several bus-only facilities, which include transit centers, transfer centers, transfer locations, and Park & Rides.

DART has 7 transit centers, which are:

There are 5 transfer locations/centers in the DART bus system, which are:

Finally, DART has two Park and Ride locations:

In addition, to make transfers easier, most rail stations act as hubs for DART buses.

On October 2012, DART introduced a new fleet of 14 to 17-passenger buses for its on-call & Flex services, and beginning on October 22nd, some select bus routes that are less-traveled.[21] Beginning in 2013, DART would replace most of bus fleet with NABI 40LFW buses running off CNG fuel. Voted unanimously, by state government to rapidly revise to a clean-air fleet over their existing diesel buses.

On-Call service

Prior to the bus and rail changes on October 6, 2003; DART has launched their premium on-call shuttle service to replace many low-productive DART bus routes. It was first opened in some North Dallas and Plano neighborhoods and in late 2005 has expanded to Glenn Heights in Northern Ellis County. DART On-Call currently operates on weekdays only, (except on holidays).[22]

The On-Call service currently serves north central Plano, eastern Rowlett, Farmers Branch, North Dallas, Lakewood, Richardson, Lake Highlands, and Glenn Heights.

Flex service

DART introduced a new service into its system called a "Flex" service in 2008. It is much similar to DART On-Call, except it combines the advantages of a fixed bus route along with curbside pick-up. It uses a local fare on stops at fixed routes and/or a premium fare on curbside pick-ups and drop-offs within the Flex zone if time permits. Customers in those areas who desire a pick-up at a specific location may do so by calling DART 1 h before their destination time or at stop.[23]

The Flex service currently serves the following areas:

  • East Plano (replaced routes 570, 760, and DART On-Call East Plano.)
  • Garland/Rowlett (replaced route 557.)
  • Pleasant Grove (replaced route 342.)
  • South Irving (Clockwise/Counter-clockwise. Replaced portions of routes 302 & 306)
  • South Plano (to replace busiest portions of Telecomm Corridor Flex Service during peak hours.)
  • Telecomm Corridor (Bi-directional, weekday rush hours only) (replaced portions of route 316)

proposed service changes for February 16, 2009.


Service Type Fare
DART Local Single Ride/2-Hour Pass $2.50
DART Local Mid-Day Single Ride/Pass (09:30-14:30 weekdays) $1.75
DART Local Day Pass $5
DART Local 7 Day Pass $25
DART Local Monthly Pass $80
DART Annual Local Pass $800
System Single Ride/2-Hour Pass $3.50
System Day Pass $7
System Monthly Pass $100
Regional Single Ride/2-Hour Pass $5
Regional Mid-Day Single Ride/Pass (09:30-14:30 weekdays) $3.50
Regional Day Pass $10
Regional 7 Day Pass $50
Regional Monthly Pass $160
Regional Annual Pass $1,600
Reduced*/High School Single Ride/2-Hour Pass** $1.25
Reduced*/High School Day Pass** $2.50
Reduced*/High School Monthly Pass** $40

* Reduced fares are applicable on bus and rail for seniors and non-paratransit riders with disabilities; children, elementary through junior high school; designated bus circulators, all of which are charged at the local rate.

** Reduced high school fare is valid Monday through Friday for students with valid photo ID from a high school within the DART service area.

Fares effective: 3 December 2012

Member cities

In addition to the cities that voted to join DART at its creation, the legislation that created DART specifies that any city adjoining Dallas may join the agency. In addition, any city that adjoins a DART member city becomes eligible to join. Member cities fund DART with a 1% sales tax. This levy prevents some cities from joining, due to Texas laws that cap the total sales tax that may be charged.

In 2003, the Texas Legislature enacted new legislation enabling countywide transit districts in areas adjacent to major metropolitan areas (such as the Denton County Transportation Authority), but DART's membership rules were not affected.

List of DART member cities

In addition to the city of Dallas, the following cities are also DART members:

Metro Arlington Xpress under a two-year pilot start August 19, 2013 operated by Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.

Addison planned a vote to withdraw from DART but cancelled the measure in January 1990.
Carrollton voted to remain a DART member in January 1985 by a 69-31 percent margin, again voted in August 1989 to remain a member, and yet again voted to remain a member in August 1996 by a 77-23 percent margin.
Farmers Branch voted to remain a DART member in January 1985 by a 61-39 percent margin, and again voted in November 1989 to remain a member.
Garland voted to remain a DART member in November 1989 and again in January 1996 (the latter by a 2-1 margin).
Glenn Heights is the only suburb in the southern section of the Dallas area that is a DART member (although Cockrell Hill is also in the southern section, it is technically an enclave of Dallas).
Irving voted to remain a DART member in August 1989, and again voted to remain a member in August 1996 by a 57-43 percent margin.
Plano voted to remain a DART member in August 1989, and again voted to remain a member in August 1996 by a 77-23 percent margin.
Richardson annexed the former city of Buckingham in 1996; Buckingham was (and, as of 2008, remains) the only city to join DART subsequent to the 1983 charter election. Also, Buckingham planned a withdrawal vote but cancelled it in July 1989.
Rowlett voted to remain a DART member in August 1989, and again voted to remain a member in August 1996 by a 67-33 percent margin.

All the suburbs listed joined DART as charter members in 1983 (except for Buckingham, no other cities have joined DART subsequent to 1983, and two cities later withdrew as shown below). Glenn Heights is the only suburb which, had it not joined DART in 1983, would be ineligible for membership today, as it does not border either Dallas or another DART member city.

Original cities that declined DART

The cities of Duncanville, Grand Prairie, Lancaster, Mesquite, The Colony, and Wilmer had a proposal to join DART on the ballot in 1983, but voters declined to join. The Colony was the only suburb in the northern portion of Dallas which declined to join DART, and is still eligible to join, as it borders Carrollton, a DART member. (The Colony is also eligible to join DCTA, as it is located in Denton County.) Wilmer is no longer eligible to join DART, as it is not bordered by a DART member city.

Former DART member cities

The cities of Coppell and Flower Mound were original members of DART. However, after voters in the DART service area rejected a 1988 ballot measure plan which would have allowed DART to take on long-term debt, the cities placed measures on the 1989 ballot to withdraw from DART, and the voters approved the measures.

Coppell remains eligible to rejoin DART, as it borders three DART member cities (Dallas, Irving, and Carrollton).

Flower Mound is no longer eligible to rejoin DART as it does not border a DART member city. Flower Mound voters were asked to join DCTA in 2003 but rejected that measure as well.

Eligible cities that are not members of DART

These cities are eligible to join DART as they are adjacent to either Dallas or another DART member city, but have not chosen to levy the required 1% sales tax required for membership and regular service. However, DART can establish service to non-member cities under certain conditions. In addition to the Trinity Railway Express interlocal agreements, DART serves destinations like Eastfield College, which is within the city limits of non-DART member Mesquite.

Eligible City Bordering DART Member City/Cities Notes
Allen Plano
Balch Springs Dallas
Cedar Hill Dallas, Glenn Heights
Coppell Carrollton, Dallas, Irving 1983 charter member, withdrew in 1989
DeSoto Dallas, Glenn Heights
Duncanville Dallas declined membership in original 1983 ballot
Euless Irving
Frisco Plano
Grand Prairie Dallas, Irving declined membership in original 1983 ballot
Grapevine Irving a November 2006 ballot measure to approve a sales tax to fund commuter rail service operated by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority passed by a 3-1 margin[24]
Heath Dallas, Rowlett
Hutchins Dallas a May 1992 ballot measure to join DART was rejected by 50 votes
Lancaster Dallas, Glenn Heights declined membership in original 1983 ballot
Lewisville Carrollton in 2003, Lewisville voters approved membership in the Denton County Transportation Authority, which levies a 1/2 cent sales tax
McKinney Plano McKinney's border with Plano takes place at the corner of Texas State Highway 121 and Farm to Market Road 2478 (Custer Road), at one of the few places in the DFW Metroplex where four cities meet
Mesquite Dallas, Garland declined membership in original 1983 ballot
Murphy Plano, Richardson a May 1992 ballot measure to join DART was rejected by a 2-1 margin
Oak Leaf Glenn Heights
Ovilla Glenn Heights
Parker Plano
Red Oak Glenn Heights
Rockwall Dallas, Rowlett
Sachse Garland, Richardson, Rowlett
Seagoville Dallas
Sunnyvale Dallas, Garland
The Colony Carrollton, Plano declined membership in original 1983 ballot

Executive directors

  • Maurice Carter 1982-1984
  • George Bonna (Interim) 1984-1985
  • Ted Tedasco 1985-1986
  • John Hoeft (Interim) 1986
  • Charles Anderson 1986-1992
  • Tony Venturato (Interim) 1992
  • Jack Evans 1992
  • Victor Burke (Interim) 1993
  • Roger Snoble 1993-2001
  • Gary Thomas 2001–present

See also

Dallas-Fort Worth portal

External links

  • Official site
  • Official site (Spanish Language)
    • System Map
    • Expansion Plan Map
    • DART History
    • Transit-Oriented Development


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