In advance of the thundersleet-bearing storm that's currently causing a minor inconvenience throughout North Texas, Dallas Area Rapid Transit put its new winter weather contingency plan into effect for the first time.
It was fitting capper to AIA Dallas' car-free week: Dallas' already suspect public transit system significantly cutting service just in time for the type of day that could most benefit from there being fewer cars on the road.
As of right now, DART is in winter weather scenario one. Trains aren't running north of LBJ or south of Far North Oak Cliff in any direction. Hopefully, as DART spokesman Mark Ball told us in January, the limited train service is allowing the agency to focus on the stops that are operating. Twice in the last four years, DART rail has completely shut down during an ice storm.
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It's a situation that sucks for train commuters unfortunate enough to have to come into the office today for sure, but there are shuttle buses connecting stations outside of the temporary boundaries to the rest of DART's light rail system.
The limitations being imposed on bus service today -- at least for me, someone who uses DART every day -- are more troubling. Starting at 7 p.m. Sunday and continuing until service starts Tuesday morning, each of DART's buses is running on a Saturday schedule. Anyone trying to take a bus to work or anywhere else will face excruciatingly long headways in the bitter cold. As an example, route 29, which connects downtown, Uptown, Oak Lawn and the Medical District is only running every 40 minutes during rush hour this morning.
City council member Philip Kingston called DART's cutbacks during the storm embarrassing. He's right.