Like many of you, last week posed serious public transportation challenges that were at times unpredictable, and at other times bordered on the absurd. Take one of the worst winter storms of our times and a world-wide event hosting, and you see why the south has a long way to go with having a transportation system the likes of other rival big cities. This wasn’t entirely DART’s fault, mind you. Temperatures haven’t been this cold in almost 15 years, and DART didn’t have that much light-rail line back in 1996. Heck, it had just opened that summer:
June 14, 1996
The first 11.2 miles of DART’s 20-mile light rail transit starter system open on time and within budget, with weekend festivities followed by a week of free rides. Revenue service begins June 24, coinciding with the opening of the CBD West Bus Transfer Center in downtown Dallas.
Yes, DART had to deal with nasty, winter weather since then but let’s give them this one. However, for some reason their buses don’t seem to like ice and snow at the same time. A bus couldn’t climb a hill on Sylvan Ave and slide into a car. Now, this one I’m puzzled with. I’ve got to assume that it was circumstantial, as northern cities must have contingency plans for icy roads and their buses. And then there is this one. A local Dallas Morning News reporter, who writes specifically about transportation issues, and has been car free for 12 years decides this is his last straw!
Hopefully, these hard learned lessons will energize DART’s management to re-evaluate their cold weather plans, and formulate better ones. You know they have a precedent for doing this. Remember TX/OU weekend in 2009 after the opening of the first segment of Green line? They went back to the drawing board and had a better plan in place by the following year.
Just found an article about the CEO of DART apologizing about their performance this past week. Here’s his apology and a link to the full article:
A special message from DART
We know this week’s unprecedented winter weather caused frustration and aggravation for many of you. We apologize for not delivering the transit service you need, expect and deserve. In spite of long hours and hard work, we let you down. We’ll review our actions and find ways to improve.In comparatively few years we’ve built an extensive regional transit network. Our ongoing challenge and commitment is to operate it at a high level every day and in every circumstance.
To our regular customers, thank you for staying with us this week. To the new customers who were drawn to us as an alternative to driving on icy roads, thank you for trying us. Know that we’re redoubling our efforts to provide a safe, comfortable and affordable trip.
Here are a few highlights from Week 5 quotes:
Okay, went car free on Monday, it was warm enough to bike comfortably. But what was interesting was the bike commute on last Friday, when a lady rolled down her window while moving to let me know that I am a “F***ing idiot,” presumably for riding a bicycle down San Jacinto during rush hour. Lady, its Friday, I don’t need that kind of garbage ruining my evening! JT
Thankfully I got my car-free day outa the way for this week this past Sunday. Nothing notable happened – though I have noticed my legs are getting stronger and I’m going a bit faster now. I’m just such a wuss when it comes to the cold…I can deal till it reaches about 35. Urban Pedal
I haven’t been on my bike since Sunday but I went without the car Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. I was one of the huddled masses downtown wondering where the train was…and then wondering if I should get on it. My advice, everyone’s advice maybe…when there is a lot of ice, take the bus. Sleepyhead
Well, I was holding off on posting to see if I had another car free day but nope.. only day sans car (where I actually went somewhere) was Tuesday where I decided to try my mettle on the ice to pick up some lunch. Went fine on the way there but had a monster headwind on the way back and could barely get enough traction on my rear tire to move. Rand M
With the weather this past week, going car-free was pretty easy. What wasn’t easy was my commute home from work on Tuesday. I went into work pretty easy on the DART bus since Where’s My Bus? was working for the bus I wanted to catch, but getting home was another story. I stayed at work till 5 not realizing how bad the streets still were. Silly me thought the city would have things in better shape by evening. Boy was I wrong. There were four buses stuck on the hill coming up San Jacinto and so they had the street shut down. The only DART buses I saw anywhere downtown were stuck in ice. I was worried I was stuck downtown. I hopped a 51 that would get me to CityPlace and saw some 24′s headed into downtown. Finally got on one and made it home safe and sound. I telecommuted the rest of the week so I ended up with 4 car-free days – and I think that Tuesday adventure should count for double!!! BikeMan