Up to a hundred thousand people are expected in Dallas Thursday through Saturday for Bishop TD Jakes’ 9th annual Megafest. DART users will see big changes as the transport system gears up for the massive faith and entertainment event.
Oprah Winfrey is one of the reasons to expect heavy morning traffic hours before the show starts at 9:00 in the American Airlines Center. Another show starts at 11:00 a.m., and both feature Winfrey talking to Bishop Jakes and others in front of nearly 20,000 ticket holders per show. Mark Ball, with Dallas Area Rapid Transit, says a lot of those attending will use DART.
“Although we are capable of carrying large numbers of people similar to the Texas- OU event, we’ve not done this three days in a row, nor have we done this on weekdays. So it’s all hands on deck.”
Ball say 300 DART workers, from accountants to administrators who’d typically be inside, will be outside for Megafest. They’ll be deployed at rail stations, bus stops, or ticket vending machines to help riders reach the convention center or sports arena, the Megafest’s main venues. Ball urges patience because DART can only handle 10,000 people an hour and this event could draw 10 times that.
“So if 30,000 people show up at one location at one time that’s going to be a problem. We feel that we’ve come up with the best plan under the circumstances.”
That plan will put dozens of additional buses on the streets, including diesel coaches previously removed for conversion to cleaner natural gas. Ball suggests riders allow extra travel time.