Message from DART President and Executive Director Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas

In spite of day and night-long efforts to keep the light rail system moving we are suspending operations and using buses on the rail routes. This will help us consolidate our service recovery efforts and get us back in operation more quickly.

Although trains ran as much as they could all night, we began having problems around 12:00 am this morning and it has become much worse as the storm has continued and the temperatures continue to drop. We have messages displayed on the message boards, people positioned at the busiest platforms and are communicating through all media outlets informing people that there are bus bridges in place of the light rail system.

Buses are moving as good as the road conditions will allow them this morning.

TRE and DCTA’s A train are being impacted also due to frozen switches. These are being addressed as quickly as possible although this service is running between 35 and 50 minutes behind schedule.

We will continue to address the weather conditions, communicate to our customers and provide service as best as we can throughout the weekend with our customer and employee safety being paramount.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Gary Thomas

About DART Daily

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) gets you around 13 cities with rail, bus, paratransit, and rideshare services. We serve DFW International Airport and Fort Worth via the Trinity Railway Express (TRE). The service area consists of 13 cities: Addison, Carrollton, Cockrell Hill, Dallas, Farmers Branch, Garland, Glenn Heights, Highland Park, Irving, Plano, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park.
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33 Responses to Message from DART President and Executive Director Gary Thomas

  1. Dan Johnson says:

    Do you have any long term fix in the works ? I buy an annual pass on DART, not being able to depend on DART during a freezing rain or ice event is unacceptable. Maybe we don’t have weather like Chicago in the winter, but that is no reason to have unreliable rail service just because of a freezing rain event.

    • DART Daily says:

      This is a very rare occurrence. We made this decision to help keep our customers safe — we didn’t want to put them on trains that we weren’t sure would get them where they wanted to go — and to focus our efforts on restoring service. Other major US transit systems, like Chicago, NYC, Philadelphia and Washington have taken similar steps in recent years when faced with severe winter weather.

  2. Alex says:

    How many ice trains did you guys run, exactly? I’m guessing you ran one per line, tops. Penny wise, pound foolish.

    • DART Daily says:

      Staff worked valiantly to maintain service. We operated more than a dozen trains overnight and have had crews out over the past two days treating the rails, switches and power lines.

  3. Larry says:

    Incredibly Disappointing, apparently lessons learned previously was not enough to avoid it again. DART should consider replacing top management with people who have track record of doing what is needed to keep the trains moving. It’s more important now than ever. DART’s inability to make this work needs to start with fresh people at the top.

  4. Dan Johnson says:

    But the central question was – Is there a long term fix to keep the switches from icing over and having to halt train service ?

  5. Jake says:

    It’s disappointing that the Dart Rail couldn’t safely operate today. But I’d rather the service be suspended over being stuck somewhere waiting on a train that’s broke down or worse stranded on a disabled train. So all things considered Dart made the right decision.

  6. warrensg says:

    You should of built underground, then you would have been protected from this and the tornados,
    This is what happens when the cheapest solution is chosen over the best solution,

  7. JS says:

    SAFETY COMES FIRST NO MATTER WHAT… I KNOW THAT DART MADE THE RIGHT DECISION…
    KUDOS TO DART

  8. Dee says:

    Safety first, but I wish DART had explained the shuttle service along the rail lines a little more understandable. With that being said, is there an estimate of how often they will run tomorrow, assuming that rail service is still down? I have to get to work, and need to know how to plan my trip accordingly.

  9. Gayle Gordon says:

    I know that DART is doing the best it can, but the most frustrating thing for me today was the lack of information. The customer service line kept hanging up on me when I tried to get route information and DART employees I talked to in person were unable to verify when and where the shuttles were running. I ended up having to call friends for rides when the buses left me stranded.

  10. Lee Gibson says:

    I don’t need any apologies. I think you guys did the best you could under extreme and highly unusual circumstances. These malcontents need to back off and and shut up.

  11. Clarence says:

    I would have thought that rail would be more reliable than bus. As to freezing switches that should only happen if moisture is falling and those switches are probably located at the station where they could be cleared by a crew on as needed basis.

  12. Chris says:

    I also have been disappointed that every year when we need the rail the most, during thes winter weather events, it always fails us. That being said, I was pleased this year that the shuttle buses were used to cover the rail routes. The shuttle service had some kinks that needed to be worked out, but much better than last year’s freeze situation. Thank you, DART drivers for taking me safety to and from work!

  13. Will says:

    When living in Chicago and relying on the EL trains, they never stopped for bad weather. You’ve got to admit it is a lot more severe up North. What’s DART’s problem?

    • Schrodinger says:

      Chicago generally manages to keep their trains running even in bad weather. They might be off the regular schedule, but Chicago’s trains don’t totally freeze up like they do here in Dallas when the weather gets bad. Chicago’s transit system deals with the winter weather that HAPPENS up there. Dallas, on the other hand, makes excuses.

  14. David says:

    Thank you for the update. I made it to work safely/on-time this morning…so that is the main thing for me (although I did build in quite a bit of a buffer). Do you know if the shuttle buses will be running until midnight/07DEC13? Someone at my work heard a rumor they will only be operating until 6pm/07DEC13. Please advise. Thanks.

    • DART Daily says:

      Shuttle buses are running in place of the rail service. So if your regular rail line operates in the midnight hour, the buses will be available.

      The T service in Fort Worth is suspending service at 5 p.m., which may have lead to the rumor.

  15. Alyssa Ortiz says:

    Thank You DART employees for risking your own lives by going to work and doing the best that can be done to still serve us. You all are greatly appreciated.

  16. Jacque Borel says:

    I do realize that this was an unusual event for the Dallas area, however, as has been expressed above, with the investment we have made (and continue to make) as taxpayers, we should expect reliable transportation ESPECIALLY in severe weather. When it is too dangerous to be out in our own vehicles, many people look to DART for backup/emergency transportation. I have been disappointed in DART’s ability to follow through, and hope steps will be made to improve this situation in the next emergency. I was particularly irked by the poor organization of the shuttle bus replacement for the trains. I was stuck downtown at West End Station last night with hundreds of others with very little information on when we were likely to be able to catch a shuttle. After over an hour, I finally had to call a family member to drive in from Rowlett to get me. I own an annual pass on DART, ride several times each week, and expected better. Even if you can’t run the trains safely, you can provide much better shuttle service as a replacement than what I experienced last night.

  17. J. D. says:

    As an annual pass holder (for now at least) I find it very frustrating that DART can’t commit the funds necessary to ensure its customers can rely on service during challenging weather events. This event was LIGHT freezing rain and ice pellets, not the Armageddon that the media reported from a few select intersections in and around the metroplex. DART would like us all to believe that the impact around the area was equal but in reality it wasn’t. Dallas itself was spared the bulk of the storm with most of the impact well west and northwest of the DART service area. If a large part of DART’s rail lines ran in/out of DFW Airport , Fort Worth, Little Elm, Frisco and Mckinney…. I would be more understanding but this just isn’t the case. If Southwest Airlines can get flights in/out of Love Field during this event, DART should be able to keep a train system running. A lack of planning and foresight from DART leadership is to blame for this. If they would have invested the funds to maintain the terminals, rail stations and parking facilities… they would be able to operate. It’s funny…. I find myself having to show my pass multiple times to Fare Inspectors on a single train ride… maybe DART should put as much emphasis on hiring folks to maintain their rail system as they do to maintain their profits! I’m about done with DART and hope that many of my fellow annual pass holders start to feel the same way.

    • Grant says:

      Yeah! Ice events usually occurs here a couple times a year and yet dart still doesn’t have an adequate plan. You would think they’d learn from their mistakes years ago.. And then they wanna blame their downfall on ” safety of others “. Do I hear scapegoat ??

  18. Lee Gibson says:

    All these DART bashers should ask themselves how well the airlines performed during this storm. Or TxDot and the NTTA. What about Oncor? Anybody happy with them? I haven’t had any mail since Thursday. What about the post office? Anyone get a UPS delivery recently? You people need to get over yourselves and realize that NOBODY does well in these extreme circumstances.

  19. Trudemarie says:

    I’m a daily Green Line commuter. I’m trying to use the alternate of the DART bus system to go to Downtown Dallas for Monday a.m. commute. However, the route planner on the website takes me to a DART rail station. How can I get help planning my route.

  20. I can’t figure out this shuttle mess. I ride the train from Bush Turnpike to Lovers Lane. Does the shuttle from Bush Turnpike stop at Lovers Lane or does it go all the way to West End where I will catch a bus to Lovers Lane. Simple a huge waste of time to do it that way but had to ask.

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