Transportation in Dallas is very … American. If you are a regular reader you know that traveluxblog is a blog focusing on Europe and thus I’m quite used to very extensive public transportation systems. In the USA and in Dallas in particular, public transportation is “a little” less developed.
Train travel doesn’t really matter in the United States. While there are a couple of long distance trains and you can also reach a couple of destinations from Dallas, this is not exactly something to focus on. The only relevant train stopping in Dallas is the Texas Eagle (Amtrak) from Los Angeles / San Antonio to Chicago. Other than that, there is just regional transport.
With regional transport I mean the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). The DART plays a crucial role in the Dallas and Fort Worth metroplex and consists of more than 100 buses (about which I’ll talk later), nearly 20 shuttle services, 4 commuter and light rail routes and one streetcar route. I’ll start by explaining the commuter and light rail system. The DART light rail mainly connects the city center of Dallas with neighbouring metropolises and smaller cities and is of very big importance for commuters in the area.
There is a total of four lines, which operate relatively regularly (at least once an hour during the day, more often in rush hour). If you are a tourist, you might want to keep in mind that the Orange Line serves Dallas Forth Worth Airport (DFW). In addition to the DART, there are two commuter rail services: The Trinity Railway Express between Downtown Dallas and Downtown Fort Worth and the DCTA A-Train.
What makes Dallas kind of unique in the scheme of public transportation in North America are the streetcars. Basically, there is just one “modern” streetcar line, which is officially called Dallas Streetcar. The six stations are all located in the city center. You can take the streetcar from Dallas Union Station to Bishop Arts as of now, but a further expansion is planned.
While you can expect modern rolling stock at the Dallas Streetcar, the M-Line Streetcar (also known as McKinney Avenue trolley) is historic. The historic streetcar mainly operates in Uptown Dallas, but the line got extended in the last years. The historic streetcar line is completly free for the public.
While transportation in Dallas is quite interesting due to the different streetcar lines, the buses are the backbone of the public transportation system. You will find bus lines pretty much everywhere in the city. While not operating as often as in many European cities, the buses are a good way to get from A to B in Dallas. Plus, it’s easy to use different means of transport operated by the DART.
Generally, there are three types of tickets you should be aware of: Midday Passes (1.75 / 3.50 US-Dollar), Day Passes (5 / 10 US-Dollar) and Two-Hour Passes (2.50 / 5 US-Dollar). The two different fare types are for local and regional services. If you are just using the public transportation in Dallas Downtown, you’ll be fine with the cheaper local pass. Midday passes are only valid from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, but allow unlimited travel and thus are an amazing option for tourists.
As it’s the norm for cities in the US, taxis play a crucial role in Dallas. The taxis don’t come with a special color, but you’ll easily spot them by the taxi sign. You can either hail or call a taxi for a ride. Moreover, there are certain points in the city and at the airports, where you can find taxis.
The taxi fares are relatively reasonable with an average base fare of 2.40 US-Dollar and a kilometer fare of 1.55 US-Dollar. If you take a taxi from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to the city center or the other way round, the charge for that is approximately 50 US-Dollar.
While Dallas doesn’t come with any exciting touristic means of transport, there are at least the so-called Dallas City Tour buses, which you can use to get a taste of the city. Other than that, there are the usual taxi competitors like Uber or Lyft, both offering more affordable taxi fares.