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.
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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.