Panhandlers on DART Trains: In Your Face NYC.

Cognitive dissonance: Remember when times were flush and Dallas' city leaders had goals other than keeping the lights on at City Hall? It wasn't that long ago when all the talk was "world class city" and we were assured that Dallas was a few fancy suspension bridges, a toll road and an opera house away from being New York City on the prairie.

Well, for those with civic self-confidence issues, Buzz has evidence that Big D is back on track to world classdom: We were hit up by a panhandler while riding the DART Green Line train last week. That's right, our mass transit system is successful enough to support beggars. Perhaps Buzz has been in Dallas too long, but we felt a surge of civic pride rise up when the skinny guy with a peeling nose walked down the aisle, asking for change so he could get something to eat. "Wow, Dallas really is growing up," we thought, while straining to avoid eye contact and keeping our change safely tucked away in our change purse. Oh, we are so Mr. Dallas.

DART spokesman Morgan Lyons says a few panhandlers have cropped up on trains, but he laughed when we told him that seemed a sign Dallas was creeping toward the big leagues.

"What we encourage customers to do is decline the request and call DART police," Lyons says, since panhandling is illegal and your basic beggar probably doesn't have a train ticket. Besides, train riders can be discomfited by panhandling, particularly newbie riders unfamiliar with the mix of incomes, classes, odors and levels of inebriation found on big-city buses.

More than half DART's riders have their own vehicles, Lyons says, so it looks like DART is drawing a broader customer base. That included Buzz for the past seven months, when we moved and started riding DART.

We're back in a car now, but we learned a few things that we hope will encourage the inexperienced suburban dweller to take up public transit. First, if anyone asks, tell 'em you take the train, not a bus. While trains are acceptable, many Dallasites consider riding the bus akin to eating government cheese. Second, not every sportswear-clad black male under age 35 is, in fact, a gang member, despite what North Dallas thinks. Third, most schizophrenics are harmless, and it won't kill you say hello. Last, that odd smell on the bus is humanity. If it bothers you, don't worry. It probably won't cling to you.

 
My Voice Nation Help
27 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Bkilgore0
Bkilgore0

chiming in a bit late here but.....

I find this article hilarious! It cracks me up when Dallas accidentally acts like the big kids. Graffiti breakdancers erratic cabbies etc. I try to contribute by jaywalking as often as possible. I see it as a public service: preparing sunbelt drivers for a dense, urban future.

Stevethrash1952
Stevethrash1952

Panhandlers are not just a problem on Dart but everywhere in downtown Dallas. I had one man several years ago ask for money and I said I did not have any and he demanded I pull my pockets out and show him my wallet, which I did not and he got mad when I told him to just go away. This was in Front of Parkland hospital.

Gkinse
Gkinse

Grow up, Buzz and back to your limousine!

Scott R
Scott R

I don't need to give money to beggars, I prefer to write cynical articles full of snarky comments. That boosts my self-esteem much more than actually lending a hand.

Starhex
Starhex

Yeah right, DART police. There was an extremely intoxicated man with a small child on the train one day. He was so drunk that he dropped the child several times. We called the DART police several times but they never showed up. We were even giving them updates on where the train was. Nope, never showed up. They don't seem to care about child endnangerment, so I doubt they'll care about the panhandlers either. But hey, they'll sure haul you off the train for not paying your $3.

Jacquelinebrown73
Jacquelinebrown73

You are so right, DART Police are never around when they are needed, it seems as if they are afraid to deal with the the misfits that seem to want to hang around the west-end.l After working all day, commuters are just wanting to get home in peace and without being hassled.

Francisco in Uptown
Francisco in Uptown

DART Police need to enforce fares. Put 1 DART Cop on every train. 1) DART would be more profitable as it would discourage free-riders and require them to pay for tickets 2) DART trains would be safer 3) Safer DART trains means more of the paying public would ride DART trains for their daily commutes 4) this could possibly pay for itself in the long-run as the word gets out that DART cleaned up their act.

Strathound
Strathound

"... humanity. If it bothers you, don't worry. It probably won't cling to you." Well played.

Southvietnam Charles
Southvietnam Charles

I HELP ONE R TWO GOOD PEOPLE EVERY TIME I GO TO TOWN @ I FEEL GREAT FOR GOD KNOW I HELP A PEOPLE THAT HE WAS ASKING FOR HELP @ NOT STEALING FROM NO ONE @ THIS PEOPLE WHO HATE POOR PEOPLE ARE SICK IN THE HEAD @ ARE MEMBERS OF THE KKK-RETIRE SOUTH VIETNAM SPECIAL FORCES COMBAT VETERAN

Smash Crasher
Smash Crasher

Southern Democrats were the members of the KKK you idiot. People like you are so ignorant it's pathetic. Read a little history before you open your piehole.

Bodegabayjoan
Bodegabayjoan

When I worked downtown a couple of years ago, the company I worked for would pay for our DART passes.I rode the train for one week.In that week I witnessed fights, drug sales/use, urination (on the train) disgustingly slovenly attire, the use of profanity...deliberate inconsiderateness...and the list goes on.DrugsAssaultsRudenesTrash trainYou can keep it.

NONE
NONE

last time I road Dart from Forest Lane Station to Pearl Street for jury duty, no one asked me for a ticket or pass either going or coming....never say anyone taking up tickets at all. What gives??

William
William

DART uses the honor system. DART Police will randomly board a train and check passengers for a ticket and/or pass. If you don't have one, you can be fined,or if they are nice, the Police will ask you to get off the train at the next stop and purchase one.

Patrick Williams
Patrick Williams

Apparently that's changing. I usually rode buses, but the few times I rode the Green Line there were DART cops checking for passes. Never saw anyone do that on the Red Line though.

Patrick W.

Loki Laufeyson
Loki Laufeyson

Patrick, I just rode the Red Line from Mockingbird Station to Pearl Station, then transferred to the Green Line to Parkland, and took the Orange Line from Parkland back to Mockingbird Station-- first time riding either of those lines even though I've ridden DART off and on for years. Never once was asked for my ticket on the round trip, on either line. I would have thought for sure that someone would check. But nope, I could have ridden for free. And DART wonders why they're strapped for cash!

Meanwhile, they cut 2 main routes serving the White Rock Lake area and White Rock rail station-- the 519 to Mockingbird Station, and the 466 to White Rock... forcing us to ride 2 buses and spend an hour to make a 3 mile trip, or else ride all the way down to the new Lake June Station just to catch a train. Heck, I can walk the 3 miles over to White Rock rail station faster than I can get there or to Lake June on the buses. And DART wonders why ridership is declining on certain routes, prompting them to cut service! SMH...

Loki Laufeyson
Loki Laufeyson

I like the train too. I just don't like the one-hour ride that it takes to get to the train that's only 3 miles away. Might as well just drive to my destination if it's within a 10 mile radius-- which is MOST of my trips (East Dallas to Garland, for instance.)

Patrick Williams
Patrick Williams

Yeah, unless you're just going from train station to train station, it's not fast. I enjoyed riding DART for the past seven months, but the fastest I could make the six-mile trip from my condo at Preston and Northwest Highway to our offices at Oaklawn and Maple was about 45 minutes with one transfer (that's from my doorway to office and included getting to the bus stop a few minutes early). If I left the office late, it could run to more than an hour. I can drive it in 15 minutes. On Unfair Park, Jim Schutze has a post about transit that has a link to an interesting op-ed in the Morning News about light rail. Love the trains, but as a user I think I'd rather see buses running on 20-minute intervals.

Patrick

Loki Laufeyson
Loki Laufeyson

BTW... the 519 also ran through Lakewood. Now, in order for someone living on the east side of White Rock to get to the west side/Lakewood area, they have to take the 60 downtown, then catch the 76 back out and up Abrams. Why? The 519 used to be a direct trip and only took about 20 minutes. Now, it's an hour and 37 minutes during morning "rush" time (7:53 am departure from Garland @ Peavy to Abrams @ Mockingbird) and 1 hour 22 minutes at approximately 11:30 am.

To White Rock Rail? I have 3 choices (choosing to travel at about 11 am): Depart 10:51a from stop GARLAND @ PEAVY - N - FS on line 060 SOUTH GARLAND T.C./UNION STATION OUTBOUND. Arrive 11:04a at stop SOUTH GARLAND TC. Transfer 11:10a at stop SOUTH GARLAND TC to line 428 SOUTH GARLAND/BACHMAN STATION WESTBOUND. Arrive 11:30a at final destination stop WHITE ROCK RAIL STATION. Total time-- 38 minutes and one transfer.

Depart 10:52a from stop GARLAND @ PEAVY - N - FS on line 467 BUCKNER STATION/SOUTH GARLAND NORTHBOUND. Arrive 11:07a at stop SOUTH GARLAND TC. Transfer 11:45a at stop SOUTH GARLAND TC to line 428 SOUTH GARLAND/BACHMAN STATION WESTBOUND. Arrive 12:05p at final destination stop WHITE ROCK RAIL STATION. Total time-- 1 hour 12 minutes and one transfer

Or, Depart 11:28a from stop GARLAND @ PEAVY - S - MB on line 060 SOUTH GARLAND T.C./UNION STATION INBOUND. Arrive 12:06p at stop HOUSTON @ YOUNG - S - MB. Transfer 12:21p at stop UNION STATION to line BLUE BLUE LINE NORTHBOUND. Arrive 12:42p at final destination stop WHITE ROCK RAIL STATION. Total time-- 1 hour 14 minutes, one transfer.

Again, I can walk or bicycle and get there faster than I can by riding DART.

"Definitely Ain't Rapid Transit"!

Sue Robinson
Sue Robinson

should put the dart police number in the article

Loki Laufeyson
Loki Laufeyson

It doesn't do any good to call. The cops never show up anyway. I know that from experience.

guest
guest

well the dart police number is in at least 6 locations on each section of each train - 3 in spanish and 3 in english so even though it wasnt put in the article, it is easily found on the train..... no excuses :)

Jaded2011
Jaded2011

High voltage stun guns work really well on panhandlers, and it's also incredibly fun to administer.

guest77
guest77

I saw a beggar on the red line during morning rush hour yesterday and a girl that thought she was some sort of rap star.

Guest
Guest

I wouldn't necessarily say that the beggars don't have tickets. Every time I get off the train (whether in Downtown Dallas or Downtown Plano), there's a guy there waiting to hit me up for my day pass.

(Presumably they try to resell the day pass to someone who comes up, but they could use it to get on the train and beg for money).

Truckdriver1402
Truckdriver1402

Your white leftist guilt was soooo strong you had to throw in the obligatory shot at the NOrth Dallas white people

Well Blacks also think the same thing

ahahahha

You leftists

 
Loading...