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Dude Does it the DART WayLook! There on the train!
It's a businessman. It's a graduate student. It's that DART Dude!
The getaway was a top prize in a contest sponsored by DART, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T), and the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA). Shonna Walker, an avid rider of The T, won a luxury stay at Fort Worth's Worthington and dinner at Vidalia's, and DCTA commuter Aubra Thomas of Carrollton won a regional transit pass.
It was all part of Stop Talking Out of Your Tailpipe, a joint campaign aimed at curbing the excuses some people use for not taking transit. Commuters were invited to share their reasons for riding on the transit agencies' Facebook pages.
Sharpe's video – starring himself as DFW DART Dude reporting from several European locales – was an instant hit. Why Europe? Sharpe will tell you DART has saved him thousands every year, enough to pay for his overseas excursion last summer.
Back home in Big D, DFW DART Dude – by day disguised as the mild-mannered Newspaper in Education manager for The Dallas Morning News – continues the never-ending battle for car-free commuting, clean air and the DART way at dfwdartdude.blogspot.com.
Thomas takes APTA Leadership RoleDART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas was elected vice chairman of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) on October 3.
"There has never been a better time for America to invest in public transportation, particularly in our fastest-growing metropolitan areas," Thomas says. "I'm honored to help lead APTA during a tipping point in our industry.
"Public transit is a powerful tool to keep America moving, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and improve our quality of life. The investments we make today are contributing to economic recovery in the near-term and promising big returns down the road."
Thomas is a frequent speaker at industry events, as well as an energetic advocate for transit on Capitol Hill. His election during the 2010 APTA Annual Meeting in San Antonio capped 12 years of active involvement with the association, most recently as the APTA Executive Committee's vice-chair – rail transit.
One in a MillionDART has been inducted into the inaugural class of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce "Million Dollar Club" – a group of 20 top-level corporations working to "level the Roleplaying field" for Hispanic-owned business enterprises.
"Equity and diversity are cornerstones of DART's progressive approach to procurement," says Michael Muhammad, DART's assistant vice president, Economic Opportunity. "Our agency is making a huge public investment in a first-class transit system, and we're reaching out to disadvantaged, minority and women-owned businesses every step of the way."
DART was recognized for its outstanding commitment during the chamber's 31st Annual National Convention & Business Expo in Dallas last September. During 2009, the transit agency awarded more than $112 million to Hispanic-owned firms.
A Winning FacilityIn September, Texas Construction magazine named DART's newly constructed Northwest Rail Operating Facility (NWROF) one of the "Best of 2010."
The magazine's annual competition recognizes design excellence in commercial construction throughout Texas and Oklahoma. Built by DART's prime contractor, Archer Western Contractors Ltd., the facility was selected by an independent jury of industry experts as the best transportation project.
Located near the new Bachman Station on the Green Line, the NWROF provides a second location – along with the original Service & Inspection Facility just south of Deep Ellum – for DART to maintain and service its light rail vehicles.
The NWROF was among 65 winners selected out of more than 180 nominated projects.
Swipe 'n RideNow you can buy weekly and monthly transit passes right on many station platforms. No cash? No problem: Our newest ticket vending machines (TVMs) even take credit cards.
Currently, the new TVMs are limited to the terminus stations of the Red and Blue Lines, all downtown Dallas and Green Line stations, and key stops around the system. But all stations will have the new machines by late 2011.
The new TVMs accept coins and bills up to a $20, as well as American Express, Discover, MasterCard and VISA.
Making the transit experience even more convenient, The T in Fort Worth, the Trinity Railway Express and the Denton County Transportation Authority’s forthcoming A-train service also are installing the new TVMs.
For more information including videos on how to use the new TVMs, visit www.DART.org/fares.
Plano Seniors get a LiftPlano seniors who need a way to get around for basic quality of life trips – like medical appointments and grocery shopping – can rest easy now that DART is providing the funding to keep the Senior Rides program rolling. Administered by the Geriatric Wellness Center of Collin County, Senior Rides provides taxi vouchers and mileage reimbursement for residents 65 and older.
"Plano has long been a member city and we realized we were missing coverage in the northwest area," says Todd Plesko, DART vice president of Planning and Development. "By funding this program, we ensure we can serve the needs of these citizens until we can open our new park & ride facility in this area."
DART has committed $50,000 for each of the next two years to help pay for mileage reimbursements. The taxi program allows seniors to pay up to $25 for taxi vouchers worth $100.
DART in the SpotlightThe accolades keep rolling in for DART’s Green Line Phase I marketing campaign launched last summer. Most recently, the "It's All Connected" campaign received two major nods: a first-place AdWheel Award from the American Public Transit Association and the Spotlight Award from the South West Transit Association.
Rave reviews have come from the marketing and communications industry, as well. In fact, the invitation to last September’s Phase I opening luncheon for dignitaries captured top honors from the Public Relations Society of America and the Dallas Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.
During 2010, the DART Marketing & Communications team also has been honored by the Association for Women in Communications, the Dallas Advertising League, the Transportation Marketing & Communications Association, the National Association of Government Communicators, and the Media Communications Association International.
UTD's Shooting StarRidership on The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) Comet Cruiser has rocketed since it began service in January 2007. Use of the shuttle bus circulator has seen a meteoric rise from an average of 500 to more than 2,500 daily riders. In fact, UTD has added a third bus to the popular route.
A joint partnership between DART and UTD, the Comet Cruiser is free to the public and orbits around the UTD campus Monday through Friday connecting to the DART Rail System at Bush Turnpike Station. It also connects to local residential and shopping areas. The route operates on a limited schedule on Saturdays.
"It is a benefit to students, faculty and staff that is definitely being fully utilized," says Nancy Branch, manager of UTD's Transportation Services.
North Shore SurgesAnother wave of development may soon begin in the Las Colinas Urban Center. The proposed North Shore complex would be built on 27 acres adjacent to the Orange Line's future Irving Convention Center Station.
The property's owners, FRAM Building Group and Hunt Real Estate Partners, L.P., have engaged Trademark Property Company to assist them in planning and pre-leasing the new $300 million mixed-use retail development.
"Having that convention center and DART station contiguous to the site is very important," says Trademark Property Chairman and CEO Terry Montesi. "The rail access gives North Shore visibility and accessibility unparalleled in the trade area."
The A-train ComethDuke Ellington's Take the "A" Train made the subway line to Harlem's jazz scene forever famous. Soon North Texas will have its own A-train, and, like its namesake, it will serve a hot music scene - Denton and the University of North Texas.
The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) plans to open the new line in June 2011, with two stops in Denton, one near Highland Village and two in Lewisville, and a connection to DART's Green Line at the new Trinity Mills Station in Carrollton.
"The A-train will provide more opportunities for people to experience downtown Denton and the university communities without having to travel on I-35," says DCTA Vice President Dee Leggett. "It also gives people in Denton an option to go into Dallas for work or play without having to fight the congestion of the interstate."
Construction on the 21-mile, $314-million rail line has been underway since last summer. DCTA will charge $6 for trips between Denton and Carrollton. By all accounts, area commuters will be jazzed.
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