Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) story is one of movement. It began on Aug. 13, 1983, when more than 100,000 voters in 14 cities and Dallas County cast ballots in favor of regional transportation. The agency’s vision of transporting North Texans efficiently, safely, and cost-effectively became a reality after that vote.
DART had a vision for connecting more than just people and places, it wanted to serve as a vehicle to opportunity, progress, and growth. This new transformative transportation would inspire rebirth everywhere it went. From its first bus routes in the 1980s to the construction of the Silver Line today, DART continues to innovate as it adds new chapters to its story.
DART’s Board members, executive staff, riders, and others wanted to see the full potential of a multimodal transit system by ‘building out,’ a mindset that allowed DART to achieve the longest light-rail system in North America at 93 miles.
Since March 2020, a perfect storm of pandemic-imposed challenges and infrastructure development delays created a once in a generation opportunity to take DART into a new era. DART’s new leadership pulled together to address challenges and focus on strengthening its rider-centric culture, to fulfill the promise made to city leaders, riders, and the community. As DART continues its journey, it will make safety, security, cleanliness, and reliability a top priority – now part of the agency’s operational DNA and allowing the agency to move forward and find opportunities to surprise and delight its riders.
“DART already had a strong foundation when I joined the organization two years ago,” said President & Chief Executive Officer Nadine S. Lee. “Even so, as a leading transportation provider in North Texas, we will never stop evolving.”
DART is currently investing more than $110 million for a cleaner, safer, and more reliable rider experience. The goal is to provide service that exceeds expectations and to operate a world-class system, powered by world-class employees. Recognized by Forbes as a top employer for four years in a row, DART employs more than 3,700 North Texans, and the organization continues to aggressively add talented, diverse, and passionate people to its workforce.
Meanwhile, the organization’s Multimodal Modernization Program will replace aging vehicles, systems, and facilities ̶ giving DART a complete makeover in the coming years. DART’s Mobility+ effort is guiding agency improvements for the next decade, while the Silver Line Regional Rail project will span from DFW International Airport to Shiloh Road in Plano. DART anticipates the line will be operational by late 2025 or early 2026.
In addition, the agency continues to innovate with GoPass, its industry-leading application that modernized the rider experience as a reloadable transit payment card that makes it easy for customers to ride and save money while doing so. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) bestowed its prestigious Innovation Award to DART in honor of GoPass, the first ticket-purchasing app to integrate multiple regional transit agencies and different forms of transportation onto a single platform. The app boasts two million downloads to date. In 2023, DART also introduced a new GoPass Tap card retail network that greatly expands the number of locations where riders can purchase and reload the fare card.
Perhaps nowhere can DART’s far-reaching impact be seen more clearly than in its transit-oriented development efforts, which embody the phrase, “Where public transportation goes, community grows.” With more than $16 billion in existing, planned, or projected development, DART continues to collaborate with its 13 service area cities to create fantastic spaces that are a draw for economic and social activities.
“As an agency, we have a responsibility to ensure we are meeting the mobility needs of the community,” said Lee. “I am proud of how far we have come as an agency and will continue to work hard to meet the needs of today’s, as well as tomorrow’s, riders.”
Over the next 40 years, DART will embark on new initiatives to elevate service quality and provide seamless journeys for riders to maximize the social and economic potential of the Dallas-Fort Worth region.