the offical newsletter of DALLAS AREA RAPID TRANSIT - Spring/Summer 2011
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DART FY2010 Financials
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Agent of Change
A letter from the DART Chairman of the Board.

Transforming How We Travel
With the opening of the Green Line on December 6, DART now shifts much of its focus to operating the vast multimodal transit system, improving the customer experience, upgrading buses and trains, and increasing ridership.

Leading the Rail-volution
Construction of the Orange Line to Irving and the Blue Line to Rowlett is well under way, and planning continues for additional light rail and modern streetcars in downtown Dallas and commuter rail along the Cotton Belt Corridor.

Taking a Regional View to Growth
The continued growth of the Dallas-Fort Worth area has led to increasing traffic congestion and air pollution, leading cities throughout North Texas to consider bus and rail transit as a strategy to improve mobility.

Improving the Work Experience
Employee communications, professional and personal development initiatives strive to make DART an employer of choice. Education, diversity and outreach programs illustrate the agency's commitment to the communities DART serves.

Adopting New Business Models
Updated financial projections initiated a comprehensive review of operating, capital, and debt service expenses, resulting in a new business model that resets the expansion timeline, seeks efficiencies, and uses resources more effectively.

Short Trips
Green Line earns industry accolades; Agency hailed as design-build leader; Whitewater park created near station; DART CIO helps lead IT consortium; Quick-read codes link to TVM video; Transit attracts young professionals.

DART Board of Directors

DART Current and Future Services Map

DART: Live, On Tape and Online

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Transforming How We Travel

From a DART perspective, everything changed on Monday, December 6, when Phase II of the Green Line opened and more than half of the 130 bus routes adjusted accordingly. Instantly, the Southwest's premier transit agency was operating the largest light rail system in the nation.

The 20-station, 28-mile Green Line is the centerpiece of an ongoing $3.4 billion light rail expansion that also will extend service to Irving, Rowlett and UNT's campus in South Dallas.

Completed on time and on budget, the $1.8 billion Green Line received major funding from a $700-million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) from the Federal Transit Administration. Awarded at the start of construction in 2006, the FFGA is being doled out over several years.

�Operating a multimodal transit system that has expanded as rapidly as DART has is a big challenge,� says Victor Burke, executive vice president, Operations.
From the Inwood/Love Field Station, it's a short DART Bus ride to Dallas Love Field airport. Inset: Victor Burke, executive VP Operations, talks with Bus Operator Simona Laflora.

The new line's unique path connects communities, hospitals, entertainment districts and employment centers, and creates a vital link between the busy Stemmons Corridor and neighborhoods in Southeast Dallas where residents are expected outnumber jobs three-to-one by 2025.

"To be able to travel by rail between the Dallas Market Center and downtown is a benefit to our buyers, our customers and our employees," says Bill Winsor, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Market Center.

Take a look back at the Green Line opening on
December 6, 2010

The Green Line connects to regional destinations like Carrollton and Farmers Branch, and transports crowds to and from the State Fair of Texas®.
The Green Line connects to regional destinations like Carrollton and Farmers Branch, and transports crowds to and from the State Fair of Texas®.

Opening Lake Highlands Station

Concurrent with the Green Line completion, DART opened the new Lake Highlands Station on an active segment of the Blue Line. The rail stop, sandwiched between the White Rock and LBJ/Skillman stations in east Dallas, will anchor the adjacent Lake Highlands Town Center, an ambitious transit-oriented development currently under construction.

"This project will breathe new life into the Lake Highlands community, offering not only shopping and a broad range of housing options, but public parks and other amenities," says Dallas City Council member Jerry R. Allen, a former member of the DART Board of Directors.

Raising Platforms, Lowering Barriers

This past November, DART Rail entered a new era of customer convenience and accessibility with the completion of a two-and-a-half-year project that raised platforms at existing Red and Blue Line stations and added a low-floor center car to the light rail vehicles.

Passengers with disabilities - plus people with strollers, bicycles or rolling luggage - can now step or roll directly onto the system's new Super Light Rail Vehicles without negotiating stairs or relying on mechanical lifts.

Level Boarding Benefits

Upgrading TRE's Tracks

The Trinity Railway Express (TRE), the 34-mile commuter rail service connecting the downtowns of Dallas and Fort Worth, continues to be a national model of regional collaboration for its joint operation by DART and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T).
A new bridge for the Trinity Railway Express eliminates disruptions at several busy intersections.
In FY 2010, the TRE made progress on the Belt Line Grade Separation Project, supported by $43 million in federal funding, which includes an 8,236-foot-long bridge over busy Belt Line, Briery and Story roads in Irving, just west of Dallas. The project also adds quad gate technology at several major road crossings to allow quiet zones.

A new bridge for the Trinity Railway Express eliminates disruptions at several busy intersections.

Many customers now begin their trips at the North Carrollton/Frankford Station.

Revising the Routes

The largest bus service change in DART history coincided with the December 6 Green Line opening, impacting more than half of the 130 routes. Modifications eliminated duplication of service, replaced low-producing routes with other services or adjusted routes to interface with DART Rail.

Many customers now begin their trips at the North Carrollton/Frankford Station.

Ticket Vending Machines that accept credit cards and sell multi-day passes are being installed at all rail stations

Increasing Fare Options

New ticket vending machines (TVMs) on the Green Line are the first to accept both cash and credit cards and dispense weekly and monthly passes. In FY 2010, new machines also were purchased to replace older TVMs at TRE, Blue and Red line stations by December 2011.

Likewise, The T in Fort Worth and the Denton County Transportation Authority's (DCTA) forthcoming A-train commuter rail service will deploy the same model of TVMs, ultimately allowing all three transit agencies to dispense identical regional rail passes.

Ticket Vending Machines that accept credit cards and sell multi-day passes are being installed at all rail stations

DART Store Online pass sales soared in FY 2010 as more customers ordered special event tickets, day pass vouchers and paratransit coupons. Many riders took advantage of DART combo passes to the State Fair of Texas®, particularly for the three major football games played at the Cotton Bowl.

Online Pass Sales chart

Modernizing the Fleet

DART will begin introducing new natural gas-powered buses by early 2013. An emerging leader in alternative fueled buses, DART has embarked on a three-part transition from diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG).

Through a deal with the Texas General Land Office, the agency secured a fuel hedge that locks natural gas costs through 2020 and takes advantage of current favorable market conditions.

In January 2011, the DART Board approved the purchase of up to 452 new heavy duty, low-floor buses.

The new buses are scheduled to begin arriving as early as 2013.

A contract for the construction of four CNG fueling stations at DART's maintenance facilities will be awarded this spring.

Monitoring Ridership in a Down Economy

Systemwide ridership decreased in FY 2010, mirroring high unemployment and relatively stable gas prices.

With economic recovery and the expansion of rail service, ridership is expected to rebound. Rising fuel costs have begun to drive more commuters to take transit as they did when gas prices soared to new highs in 2008.

"We think it will take a good year for people to understand where the new Green Line goes and adjust their travel patterns," says DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas.

Enhancing Safety and Security

Creating a safe and secure passenger environment is a high priority and a key factor to DART's success.

In March, the new DART Police headquarters opened in the historic Monroe Shops building at Illinois Station on the southern section of the Blue Line. The 95-year-old former trolley car maintenance facility has been restored and adaptively reused, and DART is seeking its first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the project.

DART Police and new surveillance cameras at rail stations boost security.

To improve customer safety and security, video surveillance cameras are being installed at light rail stations, inside police cruisers and on new buses and trains. The agency also is implementing new deployment plans to enhance police presence on the system.

Improving Customer Communications

DART Customer Service representatives answer thousands of riders' calls dailyEfforts to improve passenger information at stations, on-board, online and via mobile technology, as well as the addition of public address systems and variable message boards, were accelerated following inclement weather events in early 2011. DART is now advancing an integrated system that will provide real-time information about service disruptions and other rider alerts through various media and will offer customers the ability to request information via text messages to their mobile devices.

DART Customer Service representatives answer thousands of riders' calls daily

On the go. In the know.

For real-time service information while in transit, customers can subscribe to My DART Updates at, a free electronic subscription service.
  • Receive automatic email or SMS text message notifications when selected website information is updated
  • Choose from an expanding variety of topics and information categories
  • Get rider alerts about specific bus routes and rail lines

Remodeling Mobility Management

DART's Paratransit Services - recently renamed Mobility Management Services - is re-envisioning how it delivers transportation.

A new service delivery model will augment the standard fleet of paratransit lift-equipped vans with taxis or sedans � introducing greater flexibility for responding to ridership demands and a greater mix of vehicles dispatched according to the particular needs of customers.

With a $652,000 New Freedom grant from the Federal Transit Administration, DART and the North Central Texas Council of Governments also are enlisting a mobility management consultant to implement five projects that better coordinate public transit for people with disabilities and older adults.

Connecting to the A-train

The new A-train linking Denton and Lewisville to the DART Rail System eventually will operate modern self-propelled rail cars. In June, the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) is scheduled to open its A-train commuter rail service between Denton and Carrollton along a DART-owned corridor, connecting to DART Rail at the Trinity Mills Station.

DCTA also has joined the alliance with DART and The T that permits regional rail passes to be used on all three transit systems.

Would you like to know more?

Bringing the M-Line Full Circle

The wheels of progress began turning in FY 2010 as the City of Dallas launched construction of a new heritage-trolley loop designed to take riders on the M-Line, operated by the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority (MATA), within steps of the Dallas Arts District and DART Rail.

At the other end of the line, MATA has begun construction on a trolley car turntable and passenger shelter just outside DART Rail Cityplace Station's west entrance. The turntable will enable the line to expand its nostalgic fleet with circa-1930s President's Conference Committee (PCC) streetcars now in storage.

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