Denton Music Still Sees No Benefit From The A-Train

The A-Train began its Denton-Carrollton service on June 18, much to the delight of many North Texas commuters. In a boon for the Denton economy, business has already picked up in the shops, restaurants and bars in and around the city's downtown square. An increase in foot traffic is obvious to any daytime observer.

But there remains concern — specifically in regard to the train's much-debated schedule, which was initially proposed by the Denton County Transit Authority to be idle on weekends, though it currently runs on Saturday. Also of note: After a robust debate between citizens and council members, the previously scheduled run-time was extended to midnight — certainly a win for many in Denton's small-business community.

But there remains one group of Denton small-business owners and managers who feel they haven't reaped the same sort of benefits. The bars and clubs associated with Denton's music community typically have shows that run until 2 a.m., making the A-train a virtual non-factor for the out-of-town commuter who plans on making it to one of these shows.

"Our shows are so late that it's really kind of hard for people to utilize that service," says Heelers frontman Isaac Hoskins, manager at Dan's Silverleaf. "It's hard to come see a show and go back to Dallas."

Although Dan's opens at 4 p.m., its main function as a music venue makes it near impossible for showgoers to use the A-train.

"I've only actually heard some negative things," says Sundress frontman Ryan McAdams, who does booking for Hailey's Club. "It doesn't connect all the way to Dallas, and it doesn't make anything easier for people who want to come see shows."

D.R. Simmons, part owner of the Abbey Inn and the Abbey Inn Underground (a restaurant and music venue, respectively) is able to see both the positive effects of the new train service and the lack thereof: "We've seen more people coming in the restaurant during the daytime and in the evening," he says, "but by 10 or 11 that's over. If anything, I think the train would be affecting the music community adversely, because it doesn't support the venues."

Many of those operating the venues near the station, including Simmons and Hoskins, have developed plans to have early shows in order to catch the tail end of the A-train rush. There's some difficulty, however, in changing the culture of a community that is used to late shows. Meanwhile, state and local budget concerns make it unlikely the A-train's run schedule will be pushed back to go any later than it already does.

 
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4 comments
BTS
BTS

I don't think DART is going to change their times anytime soon. After rush hour there is very little ridership. I don't think there would be enough people to justify the cost of running late night trains. What I would like to see is the TRE running on Sundays.

 gloria f isaacson
gloria f isaacson

Maybe if they get MADD involved in this fight to extend the train service to extend past 2 A.M., this might help. I have never figured out why MADD has not figured this out yet. In order to get "drunks" from driving, you must provide an alternative way to get to & from the areas that "drunks" would go to that is cost effective. Just check out the rail service in the D.C. area. At the end of the stations, their is a line of taxi's waiting to assist the passenger's to get from the stations to their homes or restaurants or bars. I was up there recently & stayed with friends who lived at the end of the Orange line & went into D.C.several nights to have dinner & listen to music & used the metro system plus taxis & it made for a pleasurable visit, This does not exist in the Dallas/Ft.Worth/Denton area.. If they run the trains, just not for daytime travelers, they might discover there are people who do travel at night. Doesn't this area run on almost a 24 hr clock? If not, why are there some stores that are open 24/7/365? Some one must be moving around past 12 midnight.

El Mugwumpo
El Mugwumpo

Ask any band who has "headlined" a four band bill whether they would object to an earlier show. They would not.

Guest
Guest

Service to 2 am was never part of DCTA's service strategy. Plus most nights DART doesn't even run that late so there would be issues connecting at Trinity Mills after midnight.

 
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