Next month, North Texas travelers will have a whole new commuting option in and out of DFW Airport. DART’s Orange Line will run directly to the airport beginning mid-August. DART offered a first ride on the new line this morning.
It’s taken Dallas Area Rapid Transit twenty years to complete a direct rail line to DFW Airport. Make that 19 years and 8 months. DART President and CEO Gary Thomas says the wait officially ends four months ahead of schedule August 18th when DART’s direct rail link officially opens. He called today’s preview run a big day.
“Because it connects the longest light rail system in the country to the 3rd busiest airport with rail transit in the country,” Thomas says. “So now we’re putting those together and making sure people can get to and from the airport easily and effectively and go anywhere they want in the world.”
The ride takes about an hour from downtown Dallas. Airline passenger Carol Young can’t wait to try it. She and her husband were getting ready to leave on a flight out of Terminal A, which is where the DART train will drop customers off .
“I think it’s great,” Young says. “You don’t have to deal with the traffic. You get on the train and you’re here. I wish we had more train travel in the United States. I lived in Europe and it’s just part of life there and I love it. It eliminates so many hassles.”
The airport’s Executive Vice President Jim Crites says he’s giddy that DFW can now join the 17 other global super hub airports with rail service direct to downtown.
“Whenever I worked in Germany, Spain, England, France, you’ve got the Far East,” says Crites, "as a foreigner in a foreign land, you know where you’re going, it's very logical and laid out, there's information on how to take transit. Once you’re there you’re free. And that’s how you get to know the city too, isn’t it?"
Crites says passengers aren’t the only winners. DFW Airport workers will benefit too.
“With all the traffic congestion and everything else that goes on,” Crites says, “you don’t have to worry about that. Very cost effective, very predictable, you’re not going to be late to work, right? So for these workers, coming in here just a short walk to the terminals, you want to connect with DART right to the airport.”
Joe Mounger, just back from a trip to Vegas and waiting with baggage for a bus to his car, wishes the DART line were already operating. He lives in Richardson.
“Because it would be convenient to get here,” Mounger explains, “and convenient to get home.
We have a stop at Arapaho and Central. It would be perfect to park there, take DART down here, pick up DART and go back home.”
That way, Mounger says traffic jam worries he used to face in North Texas can stay in Vegas.