Monday, October 28, 2013

Arlington, Texas still don't have Public Transit

You know when I first read that Arlington, TX was finally going to get public transit, I was expecting that there would be several buses serving the city's spreading out down the major corridors and through neighborhoods and connecting major commercial, residential and transit areas. What they got was just a bus that don't even make stops as it goes down the streets of Arlington. There's only two stops on this bus, one at the University of Texas Arlington (UTA) which is located in downtown Arlington, the other at CentrePort/DFW station along the Trinity Railway Express Commuter rail line. I wanted to see what was all the hype that SF weekly Blog and made this out to be, so I packed my bicycle up and hoped aboard a Greyhound bus from San Antonio, where I live to Dallas, Texas.

Now it is noted that Arlington, TX is the largest city in the United States that lacks a public transit system even though Arlington sits right between Dallas and Fort Worth. I knew from doing research on my TransitTimes+ App on my phone, that the MAX (MetroArlingtonExpress) Bus #221 only had two stops. Further research also brought me to discover similar service in Mesquite, TX on the other side of Dallas which I didn't have the chance to ride.

I got to CentrePort/DFW station around 3:50PM in the afternoon. I got off the train (Trinity Railway Express) and proceeded to put my bicycle on the bike rack of the MAX bus. As I boarded, I notice that each row of seat had at least one person. The seats are comfortable and they do recline as they do on most express/commuter buses. As we took off, we proceeded down the freeway to Arlington, TX. Any other public transit service would have made stops along the corners of the streets it went through town but this bus did not. It stayed in the center to left lane most of the way to UTA. As the bus came to a stop in Downtown Arlington, I saw all the people get off the bus. Not all look like they were students, one person had a hard hat others looked to be regular folks.

There wasn't much to do around Arlington, The city is built for cars first and everything else is left well hanging. As I rode my bicycle around, I had my lights flashing and that seem to slow down traffic in the 12 ft lanes and stop signs I passed by. I was surprised to discovered an out of a way shop called Potager's Other stuff. An out of the way shop totally local and hippy. The Mocha I ordered turn out to be a great taste.

As I got aboard the bus again to head back to Dallas, only a hand full of people, a group of students from the Czech Republic and a middle age lady. The middle Age lady told me that she wished the service was better and made more stops but it was better than nothing. She also told me that from time to time, the bus failed to make it's connection to the TRE heading to Dallas. By the time we got back to the train station, as the bus was pulling up to it's stop, the train arrived. Everyone hurried off the bus and hopped aboard the train.

In the end, Arlington still doesn't have public transit. It is still a car oriented community with lots of car dealerships pretty much on every other block. Although the bus service is better than nothing, it is still the largest city in the United States without public transit.

Sources for the Story:
Metro Arlington Express


Since I first wrote this story, they have introduced a new stop by Six Flags. Also apparently they have only 2 years of this service before the city of Arlington has to come in and pay for the service.

Sources for The Story:

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting setup. It seems that DART is trying its best to fill a demonstrated public need in a place that has consistently voted against transit service. It stops on UTA property and connects with the campus shuttle system. The university also runs a weekly bus to grocery stores and other shopping locations but that's clearly inadequate for the public need (and not designed for it).

    Maybe in the future, once the service is well established, DART can push the political boundary by making unofficial flag stops in locally known places of high demand. This service could serve as a community building tool by connecting existing bus riders (those with mobility needs) and organizing for a proper transit system. A bike collective could also work toward these goals by helping people get free or cheap bikes and maintenance.