Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: You Can Take DART to the Airport, but Beware the Coyotes
As part of our look this week at what it means to live in Dallas without a car, Amy Silverstein put DART to the test to see how well it could get her from our offices at Oak Lawn and Maple avenues to D/FW International.
There's a United Airlines flight leaving Dallas at 6:33 p.m. on a Wednesday. Google Maps tells me I can get there in an hour and 15 minutes by public transit if I catch a 4:23 p.m. bus outside the Dallas Observer office, and then take the TRE, then take another bus and then walk for half a mile. Two transfers and a 10-minute walk? That's not bad at all.
It says I will arrive by 5:38, giving me just enough time to run through the airport and barely make it for boarding time. I accept this challenge.
See also: Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: I Want My Damn Car Back Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: Cabbies Find Ways to Survive in a Tough Business Adventures in a Car-rFee Dallas: Which Transportation Alternative Is Right for You? Adventures in a Car-Free Dallas: Catching a Ride Where Cabbies Fear to Tread
4:23 My bus, the 409, drives by me without stopping as I wait at the stop. Time to call up a new route on Google Maps.
The new route is completely different. Everything is ruined. Now it says I must take the 29 bus from the same stop, to a second bus. One less transfer, but I'll still need to walk for half a mile. And I will not get to my terminal until 6:10.
4:36 My scheduled bus arrives and actually stops. It would cost $2.50, but the cash machine doesn't work so I don't have to pay.
4:45 Now I'm on my second bus. The driver is asking a passenger about his stepdaughter as she waits for people to board. "She doesn't talk to me and I don't talk to her," the passenger responds.
4:52 She starts driving. The windows are covered with thick black screens, so the view outside is more depressing than usual.
5:06 We're slowly making our way to Irving by street, passing Mockingbird Lane and Interstate 35. Peeking through the screen, I see everything mostly looks the same. We pass a sign for a place called Adult Superstore.
5:31 The bus is pretty empty until we get to the downtown Irving Heritage Crossing Station. I'm going to need to get to the airport soon.
6:08 We have arrived! To a rental car station on Airfield Drive. Google tells me it's time to begin my half-mile walk.
6:10 A sign in front of the building where I was dropped off says I should head left to get to the terminal. Google agrees, so I head that way.
6:15 There are no sidewalks. I'm walking in the grass along a four-lane highway.
6:25 Google indicates that I now need to walk across the highway and cut through a barren field. Weird. Why isn't anyone else doing this? Instead, I walk back to the mini-building where my bus left me to figure it out.
"Is that you I saw walking along the road?" a DART bus driver asks as he waits for people to board.
Yes. I say I need to go to the United Airlines terminal. That won't be a problem. It turns out the bus stop where I was dropped also has DART buses that shuttle riders to the terminals for free. Google Maps forgot to mention that.
6:30 The bus driver is now getting me to my terminal safely, nearly an hour later than I intended. We see some coyotes in the field I almost walked through. I'm glad they didn't eat me, but I've probably missed my hypothetical flight.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.