Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

People will use it you know

Posted in America, Commuter, Customer service by Chairman Pip on 6 December 2010

Today, the Green Line of DART’s light rail network started its full service with the opening of the northern extension to Carrollton. This route is the one that will allow interchange with the DCTA’s planned commuter rail service, A-Train, which is planned to open from next summer. This is something I have paid keen attention to, as I have a friend who actually lives in Denton, and who is most excited about the prospect of being able to catch a train into Dallas, not least of which because that is where her partner lives. She keeps a blog, and has regularly posted about how tiring it is for the two of them driving backwards and forwards from one city to another to spend time together, and how much easier it will be to let the train take the strain. The thing that she was worried about though was the timetable, as in most of the new commuter rail markets services tend to stop after “peak time”. For example, the last Trinity Rail Express train from Union Station to T&P Station leaves at 21:20 on weekdays and 21:49 on Saturdays, meaning if you want a night out in Dallas and you’re travelling by train, you’re having an early one. So, it came as a surprise to me to see what DCTA had announced for their planned timetabling for the A-Train. Although from Monday-Thursday it is planned for the last train to be at 20:30, as an initial pilot from the start of the service for the first year, on Fridays the last train will be at 23:00 and on Saturdays at midnight. This is the kind of time that the long established commuter services in the north-east run (both PATH and LIRR run 24 hours a day, while the last Metro-North and NJT services leave after 01:00). This I had to communicate to my friend, as I’m the one who keeps her updated as to the progress of the commuter rail service in her locale. Never mind the fact that she’s right there, and I’m 4000 miles away :P. Anyway, this was her response:

THIS IS EXCELLENT NEWS. mwahahahaah *rubs hands together sinisterly* ….ok, that was kind of a strange response, sorry. ANYWAY, I’m very excited about this! I can’t believe they’re going to be running the train on weekends..and LATE, too, which actually makes sense. OMG squee! thank you for the link, Pip – it did indeed pass me by! 😉

Of course, it is a pilot for the first year remember. The press release announcing the plan stated that the late finishing would be reviewed against “set performance measurements”:

Continuation of such service beyond the first year of operation will be dependent upon the service meeting ridership standards and sales tax meeting budgeted goals.

The fact that the DCTA took into account public feedback is extremely promising, as it suggests that there is a market for the use of the train in Denton. Given that Friday and Saturday are the nights that most people would choose to have a night out in Dallas (and I hope my friend, assuming she reads this, will correct me if I’m wrong), then it makes sense to give them more options of getting home that don’t involve driving. So, if you’re from Denton, and you read this, spread the word along that your town’s new rail service has a year to prove that late running is a winner. Who knows, if it takes off, maybe the DCTA will actually EXTEND their off-peak service to the rest of the week. Then we can really have a party.

Oh, and by the way, in case you didn’t know about the other important aspect of rail travel, i.e. ticketing, those of you from Denton will no doubt be delighted to hear that DCTA, DART and The T will honour each other’s regional passes, meaning that there will be no additional charge transferring from one operator’s service to another. So, for those that have experienced it, this will (I imagine) be not dissimilar to you using your Oystercard in London. How excited are you now?

“DCTA Board Approves Expanded A-train Service Levels”
Ticketing and Fares

Coming soon - proper, genuine commuter rail travel for the good burghers of Denton

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4 Responses

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  1. Sararr said, on 6 December 2010 at 6:11 pm

    It just so happens I DID read this! And thank you for keeping me updated on the news regarding the A-Train. Sure, I could do a better job at keeping up with the news myself, but I know you enjoy sharing information, and you’re quite good at it, so I consider you to be one of my best news sources regarding this! As for the Green Line, I have several friends who use it, some of whom are apparently traveling to Carrollton today. It’s exciting that we’re finally starting to see some progress regarding local public transport in DFW. I’m pleasantly surprised at just how much has been completed, and how much will be completed within the next year!

  2. Epackj said, on 8 December 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Nice!

    My brother took the Green Line this past week and said it was excellent. If only a line directly from Denton to the Ball Park in Arlington could be established haha 🙂

    • Chairman Pip said, on 9 December 2010 at 9:24 am

      How dumb is this?

      Arlington is the largest city in the United States not served by a comprehensive public transportation system. Voters have rejected a fixed-route bus transit system three times.

      [Head/Desk]

      Searching for answers on this, I found the following comment on a message board

      …I think, it’s regarded as unTexan to use public transportation. It seems that every other vehicle is a truck or SUV, whether the driver ever gets out of the city and onto the back roads or not.

      That cracked me up 😀

  3. […] have believed it Posted in America, Customer service by Chairman Pip on December 9, 2010 My post about the A-Train caused a couple of excited responses from people that live in Denton, which led me to consider […]


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