North Texas Daily

DFW and the transportation system plaguing it

DFW and the transportation system plaguing it

DFW and the transportation system plaguing it
April 15
14:00 2022

As the seasons shift from sporadic ice storms to torrential downpours and tornado watches, one inconvenience is preparing to live on. Whether by snow or rain, as soon as precipitation finds its way into the forecast, North Texans can expect horrendous road conditions and countless pileups. The current practice of road preparation clearly has not succeeded which in take stresses the need for public transit in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.  

DFW is roughly 9,286 square miles in area. This presents a geographic challenge to instilling a public transit system that effectively covers all municipalities within the metroplex. To this day, the largest public transit system in the United States only covers a 5,000 square mile area and serves roughly 15.3 million people (New York City’s MTA). Addressing the expansive nature of the DFW area is often where improvements to public transit begin and end. 

Although the challenges encumbering the public transportation system of DFW seem to outweigh the solutions, a model municipality that has adopted and grown is the system in Seattle. The city is home to several global corporations and has seen exponential growth over the last decade like DFW. However, Seattle’s populace has benefitted from the availability of the King County Metro.

Synonymous with constant rain, it is notable to point out that despite the precipitation, much of the traffic in Seattle is left unaffected. Even in bad weather conditions, their public transit system can run consistently, allowing the roads to be less congested with drivers who are not skilled to drive in such conditions. Due to the efficiency and effectiveness of public transit, residents can rely on that method of commuting rather than a personal vehicle.

In the Dallas area, the DART, DCTA and Trinity Metro have gained notoriety for being off-schedule, inefficient and expensive. A key draw to utilizing public transit in lieu of a personal vehicle is the cost savings. Unfortunately in Dallas, fares are at a minimum of $2.50 while monthly passes are $80 for the DART system. In comparison, a monthly pass for Seattle’s King County Metro is $90

At first glance, the price discrepancies may not seem significant, but Seattle’s public transit is a 24-hour operation, whereas the DART only operates from the hours of 5 a.m. to midnight. In addition, Seattle provides here-to-there services in contrast to the DART’s lack of stations and stops. Therefore, not only is a rider in Dallas responsible for the fare, but also the “final mile” to their destination, yet another cost from a rideshare company. 

The comparison between the transit systems of Seattle and DFW highlights the key issues plaguing the Metroplex. A key factor that allows Seattle to succeed is the adherence to a strict schedule as well as the availability of an app that can report real-time bus updates. The DART is notorious for either early or late buses, which makes connections nearly impossible. With a frequency of only two buses per hour, a simple commute can become a multi-hour trip. 

Expansion of the current network is also necessary for the DFW metroplex. In Seattle, each stop averages 10 minutes per bus, limiting riders’ commute times drastically. The municipalities throughout the metroplex need to commit to a budget increase in order to expand the service provided by the buses and add more stops in order to thoroughly service DFW. 

The addition of more buses and stops will greatly aid in riders’ ability to rely on DFW’s public transit system. However, it leaves the issue of covering the expansive area that the DFW region encapsulates. The Seattle metro system has successfully partnered with neighboring counties to provide riders with intercity rides. More needs to be done between the DCTA, DART and Trinity Metro in order to tie networks together and allow riders to travel between cities with ease. 

To address the issue of connecting more remote suburbs around the metroplex and tying Denton, Fort Worth and Dallas together, a possible solution would be rail. Further expanding on the current Denton A-Train to DART rail to Fort Worth TRE would create a method of transportation that would run consistently on schedule and be unaffected by road conditions. From the major rail stations, the respective bus networks would then be able to handle the “final mile” for riders. 

In each of the proposed solutions, intensive increases in budgets are required. However, the factors affecting car-dependent commuting make transportation around the metroplex a daily gamble. Furthering and improving the public transportation system in the DFW area would drastically improve commute times, mitigate traffic safety and put the Metroplex on par with modern cities around the world.

Featured Illustration By J. Robynn Aviles

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Migchalee Gonzalez

Migchalee Gonzalez

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