A DART Light Rail Red Line train at Westmoreland Station in Dallas, Texas IN 2019.

(Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)


DART logo, yellow, blue, white.


Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is a transit agency serving the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex of Texas. It operates buses, light rail, commuter rail, and high-occupancy vehicle lanes in Dallas and twelve of its suburbs. In 2023, the system had a ridership of 50,463,300, or about 166,900 per weekday as of the fourth quarter of 2023.

DART was created in 1983 to replace a municipal bus system and funded expansion of the region's transit network through a sales tax levied in member cities. DART Light Rail began operation in 1996 and operates over 93 miles (149.7 km) of track. It was the longest light rail system in the United States until 2022, when it was surpassed by Los Angeles Metro Rail with the opening of the K Line.

DART jointly operates the Trinity Railway Express commuter rail line between Dallas and Fort Worth, with Trinity Metro. The agency also operates the Dallas Streetcar and provides funding for the non-profit McKinney Avenue Streetcar.



Precursor agencies

The Dallas Transit System (DTS) was a public transit service operated by the city of Dallas, from 1964 to 1983. DTS was formed by the consolidation of various privately owned transit companies and streetcar lines. Prior to DTS, the company was formerly known as the Dallas Railway and Terminal Company when Dallas had an extensive streetcar system that spanned from Oak Cliff to North Dallas. The name was changed shortly after the last streetcar ran in January 1956. DART formally took over operations of the DTS in 1988.

In 2000, DART employees restored a 1966 DTS bus to its original state.


Creation of DART

DART was created on August 13, 1983, as a regional replacement for the DTS (Although the name "Dallas Area Rapid Transit" was intended to reflect the new agency's coverage of the greater Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, its acronym DART almost immediately evoked comparisons to San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit system, known as BART). Citizens of 15 area cities had voted to levy a 1% sales tax to join the system by the time it began transit services in 1984 (though the formal acquisition of the Dallas Transit System wouldn't be complete until 1988).

In 1985, member cities Carrollton and Farmers Branch held elections to pull out of DART, though the measures failed. But shifting suburban politics and a loss of confidence in DART management after voters declined to support DART's measure to incur long term debt in 1988 led to seven more pullout votes, two of which (Flower Mound and Coppell) were successful. Just one suburb joined DART – the tiny community of Buckingham, which was later annexed by DART member city Richardson.


Financial scandal

In December 2007, DART revealed it was facing a $1 billion shortfall in funds earmarked for the Blue Line rail service to Rowlett and Orange Line rail service to Irving, and the DFW Airport.

In January 2008, DART announced it would divert monies from rail lines being built in Dallas. When Dallas officials protested, DART president and executive director Gary Thomas—who had known about the shortfall for at least eight months—announced the agency would borrow more money.

In late January 2008, DART Board chair Lynn Flint Shaw, who was also treasurer of Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert's "Friends of Tom Leppert" fund-raising committee, resigned from her DART post. In February, she surrendered to the police on charges of forgery. On March 10, Shaw and her husband, political analyst Rufus Shaw, were found dead in their home in what turned out to be a murder suicide.


2016 shooting

On July 7, 2016, one DART officer was among several people shot in a mass shooting targeting police officers providing security at a Black Lives Matter protest. One of the officers, identified as seven-year veteran Brent Thompson, died from his injuries and became the first DART officer to be killed in the line of duty since the department's inception.


New bus network

On January 24, 2022, DART's bus network, which had dated back to DART's 1983 incorporation, was completely overhauled. The overhaul, branded as DARTzoom, was intended to improve the bus system's service reach, frequency, and hours of operation. All DARTzoom local routes would be available 5 AM to midnight, seven days a week. The centerpiece of the system was 22 "core frequent" routes, which would be available from 4 AM to 1 AM with 20-minute headways for most of the day and 15-minute headways during peak periods.

DARTzoom saw many short or low-use routes consolidated or removed, and bus stops were re-organized to be a constant distance apart. Eliminated routes were usually replaced with GoLink zones. The system also introduced a new route numbering scheme, which assigned route numbers and colors based on a route's frequency, rather than the previous network's type designations. Only one route (883, a shuttle route sponsored by the University of Texas at Dallas) retained its original designation.

To celebrate the new network and allow riders time to adjust, all rides on the new network were free for the first week of operation.


DART Blue Line train at Akard station in downtown Dallas heading towards Downtown Rowlett station.

(Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)


DART Light Rail

The DART light rail system comprises 93 miles (149.7 km) between its four lines – the Red Line, the Blue Line, the Orange Line and the Green Line. With 43,400 weekday boardings in 2020, DART Light Rail had the 5th highest ridership of light rail systems in United States. The system uses light rail trains manufactured by Kinki Sharyo, with all trains being converted to "Super" LRVs (SLRVs) which feature level boarding (especially convenient for strollers and wheelchairs) and higher passenger capacity.

Before the 1983 election, DART had a plan for 160 miles (257.5 km) of rail. After the election, the plan was pared down to 147 miles (236.6 km) when Duncanville, Grand Prairie and Mesquite, which would have had rail lines, opted to not join the agency. DART chose light rail transit as its primary mode of rail transportation in 1984. The plan was pared down again to 93 miles (149.7 km) before the 1988 bond vote. After the vote, the agency again pared the regional rail system to 84 miles (135.2 km): 66 miles (106.2 km) of light rail and 18 miles (29 km) of commuter rail.

The following lines are maintained by DART:

  • Red Line (Opened in 1996, completed in its current state in 2002)
  • Blue Line (Opened in 1996, completed in its current state in 2016)
  • Green Line (Opened in 2009, completed in its current state in 2010)
  • Orange Line (Opened in 2012, completed in its current state in 2021)
  • Silver Line (Approved for construction in 2006, planned opening no later than mid-2026)



McKinney Avenue Transit Authority
DART also assists in the operation of the M-Line Trolley, with joint operating funding given to the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority along with the Uptown Improvement District.

Dallas Streetcar
In May 2013, DART began construction on a 1.6-mile (2.6 km) streetcar line which will operate between downtown Dallas and Oak Cliff by way of the Houston Street Viaduct. Phase one of the streetcar line, running between Union Station in Dallas and Methodist Dallas Medical Center in Oak Cliff, opened on April 13, 2015. The line was expanded to its current length in August 2016 with the addition of the 6th Street and Bishop Arts stops.


Trinity Railway Express train set pulling into Fort Worth Central Station at 9th and Jones Streets. (WRHowellJr at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


A-train diesel multiple unit coaches at Downtown Denton. (Edgepedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Commuter rail

Trinity Railway Express
The Trinity Railway Express (TRE) commuter rail line connects downtown Dallas with downtown Fort Worth. The TRE, created in 1996 by an interlocal agreement between DART and Trinity Metro, connected the cities' centers by rail for the first time since the 1930s, excluding Amtrak's Texas Eagle.

The TRE commuter line has an average weekday ridership of 7,300 passengers per day and is the fifteenth most-ridden commuter rail system in the country. In 2012, the TRE carried a total of 2.3 million passengers.

Silver Line
The Silver Line is an under-construction commuter rail service that will run from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Plano along the former Cotton Belt route. It is expected to commence service in 2026.

DCTA A-train

The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) built its A-train commuter rail service in partnership with DART and the TRE. The DCTA leases the right-of-way for its 21 miles (34 km) commuter line from DART, and coordinates with DART to provide connecting service between the A-train and DART's Green Line. The DCTA also leased Budd diesel rail cars from the TRE for its initial service. The A-train operates between downtown Denton and Trinity Mills station, where a transfer to the Green Line is available. Through its partnerships with DART and TRE, DCTA sells "Regional" fare passes which include access to DART and TRE service.



Area served: Dallas, Texas and 12 nearby suburbs
Transit type: Bus, light rail, commuter rail, modern streetcar, curb-to-curb, paratransit
Number of lines:

  • 89 bus
  • 32 on-demand zones
  • 4 light rail
  • 1 commuter rail
  • 1 modern streetcar

Daily ridership: 166,900 (weekdays, Q4 2023)
Annual ridership: 50,463,300 (2023)
Chief executive: Nadine Lee
Headquarters: 1401 Pacific Avenue, Dallas, Texas
Website: dart.org
Began operation: 1983


More Information

For more information on Wikipedia about DART click here.