By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
With a public-relations extravaganza fit for a Royal Divorce, DART inaugurated its zippy new $900 million train set last week, finally bringing commuter-rail service to Dallas.
There were opening-day parties, bevies of dignitaries, television specials, and fawning newspaper accounts. Journalists, in particular, were inundated with mounds of information on the new rail system.
Now that the hype is ebbing somewhat, the Dallas Observer felt it only fair that our readers get to see for themselves some of the beautiful brochures and promotional materials DART published for this momentous event.
Staff writer David Pasztor has sifted through the stacks of DART propaganda, and selected these highlights to share with Observer readers.
Look for these planned routes in DARTLight Rail's future...
The Al Lipscomb Line
The Walker Railey Line
Let's make Light Rail fun!
We don't want customers just to ride our new trains. We want you to have FUN and be a part of DART Light Rail as it grows. We are confident that Light Rail will become part of the fabric--and history--of our community. There is so much yet to happen!
That's why DART has teamed up with KXAS-TV Channel 5 to challenge our customers with this "Predict the Future Quiz." Do you think YOU can accurately forecast what fate holds for DART Light Rail?
To enter our contest, simply read the following quiz questions, and mark your predictions. Mail your completed entry to DART no later than July 31.
Our contest winner will receive a FREE MONTHLY PASS for all DART services, and be paid $6,000 to appear on a future installment of the wacky Channel 5 show, "Public Defenders," with host and KXAS personality Marty Griffin. DUST OFF THOSE CRYSTAL BALLS!
1) The first suicide on Dart Light Rail will occur when someone throws themselves in front of an oncoming train on the:
__ Blue Line
__ Red Line
Bonus Question: If the deceased leaves a suicide note, it will:
2)The media will nickname the first infant born on a DART Light Rail train:
__ Baby Blue
__ Baby Red
__ Li'l Gearbox
__ Baby Zoo Station
Bonus Question--After the child is delivered, the mother will be expected to pay an additional:
__ Half fare
__ Full fare
3) The first time a DART Light Rail train is stranded by a power outage, passengers will:
__ Sing and share their food
__ Eat their dead
Bonus Question: Surviving relatives of the first person killed on DART Light Rail will be represented in their lawsuit by:
__ Windle Turley
4) For his first performance-art appearance at a DART station, John Wiley Price will wear:
__ His swimming goggles
__ His muscle shirt
__ A disagreeable scowl
Bonus Question: When he pickets, Price will be demanding:
__ That DART pay more attention to Price
__ That the public pay more attention to Price
__ That the media pay more attention to Price
__ That DART contractors pay more to Price
5) The next movie Oliver Stone films in Dallas will implicate DART Light Rail in:
Bonus Question: In the movie, Kevin Costner's character will be:
__ Part man, part fish
__ Part man, part lawyer
__ Part man, part train
6) The first alternative species to be struck and killed by a DART Light Rail train will be:
Bonus Question: Passengers interviewed after the accident will say:
__ It sounded like a freight train
__ You never heard such squealing
7) The first couple to marry on a DART Light Rail train will eventually seek a divorce because:
Bonus Question: As their marriage unravels, the couple will forestall the inevitable by seeking marital advice from:
8) The first multiple fatalities on DART Light Rail will result from:
__ A domestic dispute gone postal
__ An escalating disagreement over handicapped seats
__ A despondent transit policeman
__ A train plunging into the Trinity River
Bonus Question: The crater left by a fully loaded DART Light Rail train plunging into the Trinity River will be:
__ Smaller than a ValuJet
__ Wider than a ValuJet
__ Drier than a ValuJet
9) The first federal district judge to take control of the DART Light Rail system will be:
Bonus Question: The judge will order construction of a new DART Light Rail line based on his reading of:
__ The Voting Rights Act
__ The Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Constitution
__ The Complete Works of Ren and Stimpy
10) The first local television reporter to sneak a hidden camera onto a DART Light Rail train will be:
Bonus Question: Sabrina's resulting series for Channel 5 will be called:
__ Where Litterers Lurk
__ Trains and Raves: A Deadly Mix
__ A Tarnished Car: Who's Soiling the Red Line Upholstery?
Let's all try to get along!
You can help make DART Light Rail a safe and pleasant experience for yourself and those around you. For the safety and comfort of all our passengers, DART offers the following tips for riders.
* Never lend your handgun to a stranger, or child younger than 13. And remember, "Safety's First When Your Safety's On"
* Share your ammo
* Plan to be polite--carry tissues, Lysol, and an extra drool cup for your seatmate
* Invest in our city's future--help a DISD student read the route map
* Be sensitive to fellow riders. Turn away from others when masturbating
* Do not hunt from the train out of season, or without the proper licenses
* Respect attorney-client privilege--try not to eavesdrop on Dan Peavy's conversations with his lawyer
* Share your cellular phone
* Play it safe--don't touch anyone someplace you don't want to be touched
* Observe moderation in all things--use only enough Mace or pepper spray to disable your target without displacing those around you. Remember, "A Little Dab Will Do"
* Share the contents of your purse or briefcase
Don't get caught without a ticket!
DART Light Rail will operate on the honor system, and we're hoping passengers will "play by the rules" and buy tickets before boarding the train.
But we know some of our customers will be short on cash. Others of you will figure you deserve a free ride after shelling out DART's special sales tax for the past 12 years. And a few of you--we're sad to admit--are just deadbeats.
So what are the odds that you can beat the fare? Not bad, actually.
At best, our Transit Officers of the Law (TROLLs, as we jokingly call them) will have time to ask only one out of three passengers to produce a valid ticket. We estimate that 15,000 people will ride the train each day. That means 10,000 of you will never be asked to prove that you paid your fare.
Up to 160 passengers can fit on each train, but there will be only one TROLL to walk around asking for tickets. Obviously, he's going to have his hands full during rush hour.
How should you decide whether to buy a ticket?
We encourage our passengers to employ what statisticians call a "stochastic optimization problem" by weighing the following factors.
You are less likely to be asked for a ticket when:
The train is crowded;
Your trip is brief;
You are known to the TROLLs as a regular rider;
You don't look like a deadbeat;
Your hands are full; and
You appear absorbed or distracted by children, work, or some such.
After some trial and error, you'll probably easily figure out how to ride the train without ever paying. The odds are with you.
If our transit officers do prove to be a bother, here are some suggested strategies from DART to lessen your chances of being cited for not having a ticket.
* THE FREEMEN POSTULATE: Preprint your own tickets to present when approached by a TROLL. Declare your belief that DART is an unconstitutional taxing entity masterminded by an international banking cartel. Slap a lien on the transit officer, hole up at one end of the car, and wait for the ATF to arrive. Bring three months' worth of provisions, and you may get to meet Bo Gritz.
* THE DART SCRUM: Along with fellow passengers, form an impenetrable mass of humanity at one end of the car. Make sure whatever tickets you have among you are passed to those on the outer fringes of the group. Try to appear daunting. If a TROLL attempts to infiltrate your group, begin chanting, in unison, "No Fare, No Fare."
* THE BEST DEFENSE: If you find yourself isolated and a TROLL is approaching to ask for your ticket, take the offensive. Begin twitching. Pat the bulge under your coat. Whisper sweet nothings in his ear. Quite probably, you will be thrown off the train, but not cited for failing to have a ticket.
* SPARE THE CHILDREN: Adopt, rent, or borrow one or more small children. Give them ice-cream cones, or any type of viscous liquid. Tell them the TROLLS are part of a funny game. Tell them the TROLLS must be vanquished at all costs. Tell them to slay the TROLLS. Duck off at the next station. Wait one day, retrieve the children from Lost and Found, and redeem for deposit.
* THE DAISY CHAIN: Your ticket is good for 90 minutes from the time you buy it, but the longest ride on DART's starter system is only 28 minutes. There might be a full hour left on your ticket when you've gotten where you are going. So pass your ticket along. Make a friend. Save paper.
* THE BRICK WALL: The method that American tourists have used for years in other countries can now be employed here at home. Pretend you don't know the language. Grin widely. Each time you are asked for your ticket, nod vigorously and say "Ja, ja." Take a picture of the TROLL. Start emptying the contents of your pockets into the officer's outstretched palm. Remember, the longer you can delay a TROLL, the less time he has to ask others for their tickets. Let's work together, Dallas!