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How to Ride the DART: An Easy and Comprehensive Guide for Tourists
I saw that there were already articles on Hubpages written for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), however most of them focused on riding the train and what's at many of the stations. This is all well and good, but if someone doesn't know how to use DART in the first place a guide to attractions using DART isn't much help. With this guide I hope to acquaint you with our mass transit system and help make your trips around Dallas easier. And with that let's begin.
Get Your Passes
The easiest way to purchase your passes in advance is through the DART Store Online (http://www.dartstore.org). When purchasing your DART passes you have a few options (Local, System, and Regional), depending on what level of service you need and how far away from downtown Dallas you're planning on going.
- All trains except TRE and DCTA
- All DART buses except On-Call, FLEX, and express (numbered in 200s)
- All of Local
- Express buses (numbered in 200s)
- TRE to CentrePoint/DFW Airport station
- DART On-Call and FLEX service
- All of System
- TRE to Fort Worth
- T service in Fort Worth (http://www.the-t.com)
- DCTA to Denton (http://www.dcta.net)
This may sound confusing, however it doesn't have to be. A 7-day local pass should be fine for the majority of tourists. Most of the Dallas attractions are within a short distance of downtown Dallas, and the DART Local system covers a good 10-mile radius around downtown. You may take the one odd trip to Fort Worth or Denton, and in those cases you should buy one Regional day pass for the trip, but for the most part a Local pass will get you just about anywhere you need to go.
7 Day Pass
These are the prices for tickets at the time of writing this article. Be sure to check DART's website for up-to-date ticket prices (http://www.dart.org/fares/fares.asp). To order tickets online you can visit the DART store (http://www.dartstore.org/).
7-day and day passes are available for purchase from the Ticket Vending Machines at every rail station. The machines do give change, however it's in the form of golden dollar coins so keep that in mind.
Day passes can be purchased after you board any bus, however exact change is required. The bus drivers do not give change, nor are they permitted to handle money. Have your money ready as soon as you board, because the driver may be running late and decide to continue on to the next stop; and it's very difficult to stand at the front and insert dollar bills into the cash slot while the bus is barreling down the road.
If you happen to be downtown in front of the Akard station you can purchase any pass you need directly from the store at DART headquarters. Or you can visit one of the many Pass Outlets (http://www.dart.org/fares/passoutlets.asp) located all over the Dallas Area.
So You Have Your Pass. What Now?
If you're boarding a bus then slide your pass through the scanner, and it should give you a friendly beep in response. If there is a problem the bus driver will inform you. If you're boarding a train then you don't need to scan your pass, however be prepared to show your pass to DART officers as they frequently go through the train to check for passes. If you get caught riding without a pass you're going to pay a hefty fine.
One good thing about DART is you can get from any stop in the DART area to any other stop. DART decorates all their vehicles in bright yellow with white and black accents, so they're easy to find even far away. All DART bus stop signs are colored bright yellow, with the DART logo and route number posted on the sign.
Many people avoid riding the DART buses, because they believe that only the homeless and/or crazy ride the buses. DO NOT BELIEVE THIS! The buses are very safe. I have ridden the buses for years and have never felt that my life nor the lives of others was in danger. The trains and buses are far safer than if you're driving a car, because out on the roadways the crazy people are driving the cars instead of just riding in them.
If You Need Assistance
The transit centers located all over the area act as central hubs for the train and bus systems. If you find yourself lost you can find any DART stop, bus or train, and it will take you to one of these transit centers. During most hours of the day these transit centers are open and staffed by several helpful DART employees. They can help you get where you need to go. You can also pick up brochures for every DART bus route at that station, as well as get a system map that will show everywhere DART can take you. The transit centers also usually have restrooms, unfortunately the cleanliness of these restrooms are questionable.
The bus drivers can also offer some assistance, however their scope of knowledge is usually limited to the routes that they normally drive, and the surrounding area. They'll usually tell you to get off the bus at the transit center and ask someone there.
Don't bother asking the locals for help unless they're actually waiting at a DART stop. The majority of the Dallas populace don't take DART and don't know anything about riding DART.
For further information feel free to email DART customer service (http://www.dart.org), or call them at the numbers below.
Customer Information Center:
Lost and Found:
DART Police (emergency):
DART Police (non-emergency):