Friday, April 10, 2015

My DART Adventure!


Adventures can come from the unlikeliest places or reasons. And some adventures are more fun than others. This past weekend, hubby and I decided embarked on one of those.

My work place is moving to Las Colinas, which means a much more involved commute using already congested highways. (I leave at 6:30am just to avoid traffic! And even then it still gets congested! And the new location is farther and through some of the worst spots. Noooo!)

So trying to see how to avoid traffic and all the stress, annoyance, etc that goes with it, I figured I'd check out DART Rail since there's a station right by the new work address.

DART stands for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit - Texas has been slow in getting into this type of thing because Texas, unlike most states that embrace mass transit solutions, is BIG! And there tends to be lots of space between places. So between the expense and the distance, it's been slow to catch on. But Texas keeps getting more and more people, so it's become something of a necessity. There's been buses routes for many, many years, but the rail is relatively new. But both integrate into a rather large network that serves Dallas and 12 surrounding cities. So it's BIG too!

Anyway,  I spent a couple of hours doing research, finding out routes, comparing maps, and more. So Saturday, hubby and I set off to check it out and see if DART rail was a viable alternative or not.

This is the view from the DCTA platform off of Hebron in North Carrollton. The A-Train stops by here on its way from Denton to the Trinity Mills station. As you can see, aside from a roof and some metal chairs and ticket machines, there's nothing here. 

On a day like Saturday, that is not a problem. But any kind of inclement weather and passengers would find no protection here. Also, the big schedule on the marquee is only for weekdays, so we ended up missing the train, because... there are no TOILETS!

Took a panoramic once we got back (before we realized the marquee was wrong and we'd just missed the train).  Wahhhh! (We then got in the car and went to the alternate stop.)

Inside of the DART Rail - which we got onto at the North Carrollton Station. No bathrooms there either.

Ticket machines and helpful signs. Huge parking lot, big statue, no bathrooms. No real cover. And cover is important in Texas. Weather changes every five minutes, don't you know. :P

Incoming DART rail. (We're sitting in the other one.)

And we're off!

Water treatment plant in Carrollton

Some nice views on  the overpasses.

Each station stop had a different decor motif for their columns. Still no restrooms.

A lovely fluffy sky!

Passing strangers

You can see the conductor and the rail map from here. Typical multi transit train setup.

Walnut Hill Station - a nice southern feel to the columns.

The big radar thing/water thing. 

Some more of the stop decor.

Historical Park in Farmers Branch.

They've really fixed it up!

More column decor.

This is the extent of protection at all the stations we stopped at. :( Rain with some wind, and you'd be soaked.

Really can see a long way from up here.

Old Downtown Carrollton

More station decor

Big art thing at the North Carrollton Station. Wish they'd put in some bathrooms instead.

All the stations were clean and so were the trains. But...

We never did go all the way to our final destination. The bathroom situation caused us to hoof it in search of one and after that we were pretty much done. I now know why DART is losing money. I've no idea how the elderly or people with kids could afford to use DART rail without any kind of facilities being available. I spoke to a friend who uses the Red Line and said he'd seen plenty on that route, but the Green Line seemed to have none. Sadly, the lack of facilities definitely makes this a non-option for me.

So we had drama, frustration, and some cool stuff to this adventure. Next weekend? Maybe a new adventure, maybe not. :P

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