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January 8, 2020
DART in Review: 19 for 2019
In 2019, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) was far more than just the thing you ride. With 13 service area cities covering a 700 sq. mile area made up of 2.6 million citizens, more than 140 bus/shuttle routes, 11,000 bus stops, 14 On-Demand GoLink zones, 93 miles of light rail transit, 64 light rail stations, 5 commuter rail stations, and paratransit service for persons who are mobility impaired, DART continued to expand its mission to be your preferred choice of transportation for now and in the future.
2. Partnership with Uber
In March, DART partnered with Uber for a one-year pilot program to provide North Texas riders more options for their transportation needs. Now available in GoPass, DART's award-winning all-in-one travel tool, customers can book an UberPool shared ride in each of DART's several GoLink zones.
3. Transit Supporter Honored
The DART Board renamed Union Station in Dallas to EBJ Union Station in honor of US Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson. Johnson has been a major proponent for DART and public transportation. On April 6, the City of Dallas voted to rename the physical property of Union Station to Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station. The station is served by DART, TRE and Amtrak.
4. New Hidden Ridge Station
At the request of the city of Irving, on April 9 the DART Board officially approved renaming Carpenter Ranch Station on the Orange Line to Hidden Ridge Station to tie-in with the city's $1 billion project nearby. That 110-acre mixed use development for Verizon Communications Inc. includes retail and restaurants, a hotel and additional office space.
Hidden Ridge is a high-tech development in Irving. (Image: Gensler)
5. Student Art Contest Winner
Sarah Thigpen, a 9th grade student at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, was chosen as Best in Show in the 2019 Student Art Contest in April. She received a $1,000 cash prize from Dallas Contemporary. She was also the first winner to ever have a bus wrapped completely in the winning artwork. The bus made a special surprise stop at Booker T. Washington to highlight her work before fellow students, staff and her father.
6. Funding Pothole Repair
The Street Repair Program for repair of member city streets heavily used by DART buses is an ongoing effort. This includes execution of an agreement in April with the City of Dallas for repairs using more than $9 million in DART street repair funds. A similar agreement was approved later in the year with Richardson, Plano, Garland, Farmers Branch and Dallas County.
7. National Get on Board Day
Customer engagement events took place on April 15 at 13 light rail stations for National Get On Board Day. The agency showed its appreciation to current customers and drove awareness of regional public transit by encouraging nonriders to give transit a try. Every year, 62.5 million people 'get on board' a DART bus or train.
8. Automated Bus Consortium Founding Member
DART joined in May a national association of transit and transportation agencies to explore how autonomous buses could shuttle people around cities in the future. The 'Automated Bus Consortium' plans to research driverless buses and run pilot projects with "full-sized, full-speed buses" to better understand how they could be rolled out nationwide.
9. Medal of Valor Award Recipient
President Donald Trump honored 14 public safety officers for their heroic acts of heroism with the Medal of Valor on May 22 at the White House, with honorees including DART police officer Brent Thompson who was killed during a mass shooting at a police protest in Dallas. Later, a San Antonio nonprofit organization that honors fallen first responders by building special wooden chairs in their honor presented a chair to the DART Police Department and Thompson's parents Paulette and Sam Thompson.
10. Celebrating 25 Years
The Older Americans Month Information and Health Fair in May was held at Centennial Hall in Fair Park where 1,500 people attended, marking the 25th anniversary of this event. The free event showcases businesses and public services of special interest to older adults, caregivers and families plus provides health screenings, entertainment, giveaways and more.
11. 'Comet Cruiser' Adds Buses
Funding was approved to increase The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) site-specific shuttle to add three additional buses due to high service demand. Bids were received in May for the new buses. Delivery is scheduled for May 2020. At the start, the UTD shuttle known as the Comet Cruiser, quickly became a lifeline for the many international, out-of-state and other students who don't have vehicles, and for faculty, staff and students looking to reduce commuting costs. The service has already grown from six to nine buses due to increased ridership demands as enrollment on the campus reached a new high.
12. 'It's grand' during St. Patricks Day
Rail service was increased in March to accommodate riders traveling to the 40th Dallas St. Patrick's Parade and Festival and the Dash Down Greenville 5K. DART provided rides to more than 95,000 on parade day, representing a 6.3% increase from 2018.
13. Police Win National Safety Award
The American Public Transportation Association awarded DART its 2019 Gold Award for Security for light rail and streetcar systems at the annual APTA Rail Conference in Toronto, Ontario, in June. DART won the gold, competing in the light rail/streetcar category, for creating the largest on-going security endeavor in the agency's history by addressing customer perceptions of crime and security beginning with a 2016 DART Board of Directors resolution formalizing their commitment to enhance security throughout the system.
Deputy Chief of DART Police Edward Addison (center left) and Carol Wise, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, accept the award for DART
14. Grant Allows Platform Extensions
DART held a ceremonial signing on June 27 at the Downtown Plano Station to recognize a $60 million federal grant to improve public transportation from the Federal Transit Administration. The money is being used to construct red and blue line platform extensions to accommodate three-car trains which will result in a 30% increase in passenger capacity.
DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas (left), DART Board Chair Sue Bauman, FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams and DART Board Vice Chair Paul Wageman at Downtown Plano Station on Thursday, June 27
15. National Innovation Award Winner
In July, the agency was named the American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) 2019 Innovation Award winner. The GoPass app, DART's winning entry, was the first public transit ticket-purchasing app in the nation that involved multiple agencies and different types of transportation by combining efforts between DART in Dallas County, The Fort Worth Transportation Authority (now Trinity Metro) in Tarrant County and the DCTA in Denton County.
Left to right: Nicole Fontayne-Bárdowell, DART EVP/Chief Administrative Officer; Michele Wong Krause, Vice Chair, DART Board of Directors; Tina Morch-Pierre, DART AVP Innovation; Gary Thomas, DART President/Executive Director; and Christopher P. Boylan, APTA Awards Committee.
View a larger photo (Opens in a new window)
16. Silver Line Groundbreaking
DART approved the Silver Line brand name in July and highlighted the name in a series of Silver Line groundbreaking events across five cities culminated with a luncheon at the DFW Airport Hyatt on September 19. Construction is expected to be operational in 2022. Field construction began in Richardson on November 18.
DART and local dignitaries break ground for the Silver Line on the spot of the future University of Texas at Dallas Station in Richardson. (DART)
High resolution JPG
17. New CNG Buses Can Charge Your Phone
August service changes saw 41 new 40-ft. long CNG-fueled buses added to DART's clean-air fleet. New bus features that commuters appreciated were the USB ports located at 33 of the seats that allows them to charge their electronic devices while riding, larger interior InfoTransit monitors, vinyl upholstery on the seats and flush-mounted tinted windows.
18. SMU Gets Gateway Station
Mockingbird Station was renamed SMU/Mockingbird Station in September. The change came after the DART Board approved a naming rights agreement with SMU to make it easier for visitors to find the campus and to cement the rail station's role as a gateway to the University. Approximately 2,800 riders travel through SMU/Mockingbird Station on an average weekday, and DART's SMU Express (Route 768) provides service to the campus from the station for approximately 500 riders each weekday.
19. State Fair is #1
The State Fair of Texas is DART's largest rider event of the year and in 2019 it welcomed more than 2.5 million fairgoers through the gates. DART did its part during the 24-day run that included three college football games at the Cotton Bowl by providing extra security, a Green Line circulator train, extra Blue and Green Line trains, additional buses, TRE Sunday service and discounted fair tickets available on the GoPass app.
And one more for good measure.
20. Southern Dallas Opportunities Abound
Spearheaded by DART, officials from agencies across North Texas launched a new nonprofit organization intended to develop transportation opportunities in the growing Southern Dallas Inland Port, a 7,500-acre area that encompasses five cities, nearly 90,000 residents, and serves as a base of operations for hundreds of major employers. The Southern Dallas County Inland Port Transportation Management Association (TMA) was formed by DART, employers, developers, other transit agencies, and local governments to help connect workers and companies to transportation solutions in the Southern Dallas County Inland Port. The Inland Port is a regional economic powerhouse, nestled in the southernmost section of Dallas, currently employing more than 17,000 people in the trade, transportation and utility industries.
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