OK, so we're a day too late on this latest effort to bolster local tourism. DART announced today that the highly anticipated DFW station would be opening four months ahead of schedule.
With an originally scheduled opening in December, the date has been pushed up to August 18. Oh, and construction costs have come in under budget. We'll pause here for you to recover from your shock.
The opening of a DART DFW station makes the airport the third largest in the country with a city connecting railway. From the downtown it will take about 40 minutes to get to the airport, via the orange line which will go to Terminal A. From Terminal A you can access the other terminals via the Skylink rail.
"It's so intuitive when you travel to, say London or Rome, that you can take the train," DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said. "Travelers in other parts of the world are used to getting around in that fashion. So for them to fly to DFW and go directly to a train that will take them downtown, that's significant."
Connecting the airport to the city's rail line will help make Dallas more accessible to visitors who rely on public transportation. Both DART and the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau are now eagerly anticipating a boom in conventions in the years to come.
The line will also benefit DFW employees, around 60,000 of whom commute to the airport, although DART officials expect around 1,000 people to access the airport line every day. Official test runs to the airport begin today.
"What we've seen in other airports, particularly around Europe, is the ability for people to get access to good jobs at the airport, and it opens the labor market for employers. The most significant impact will be on the labor market," says Lyons.
So even if the construction process was maybe, possibly hastened a bit to attract certain high profile national conventions, the DFW station's premature opening is just a happy side effect, and can only benefit local job seekers. The orange line also passes by Love Field, where workers and travelers through that airport may already take the train to downtown.
"We're excited," said Lyons. "This has been part of the vision since the inception of DART. Being able to provide this rail connection really helps set DFW -- the airport and the region -- apart from some of its competitors in providing that level of service. And so we think this is a great opportunity."
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