Downtown Dallas club owners and promoters say they are disappointed Dallas Area Rapid Transit won't be providing late-night transportation to the thousands of party-goers in town for the NBA All-Star Weekend.
The All-Star Weekend, one of the biggest events in American sports, is coming to North Texas Feb. 12 through 14. While the All-Star Game will be held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, the Dallas Convention Center and American Airlines Center are hosting several events.
Club owners and promoters such as Ron King were hoping DART would provide around-the-clock service for the thousands of party-goers that will fill downtown clubs that weekend. Instead, DART trains will run only slightly longer than normal.
King, a club promoter and the president of Partychaser.com, a Web site that lists events for the Dallas area, said he has attended the last four All-Star Weekends in their respective cities. He said visitors would benefit from using public transportation so they can travel to their destinations without having to worry about traffic and parking.
"It's going to be gridlock, and you won't be able to get place to place, so I think DART should take that into consideration, at least until 2 o'clock or 2:30 a.m. after the clubs or parties are over," he said.
DART said it considered extending its hours, but decided against it after discussing the issue with other cities that have hosted the NBA All-Star Weekend.
"We also looked at other cities that have hosted All-Star Games before, and they find that a lot of the events, they don't see a big change in the transit usage," said DART spokesman Morgan Lyons. "A lot of the events are private events, so they wouldn't be using transit."
But DART is preparing for the influx of visitors, including thousands of basketball fans and dozens of celebrities.
The agency is trying to redeem after last year's fiasco during the Texas vs. Oklahoma game, when thousands of fans missed parts of the game because trains were too full.
"We'll run trains more frequently," Lyons said. "In situations where we'd have single car trains, we'll run two-car trains, so (we will have) more trains, more frequent service."
DART trains will stop at the Dallas Convention Center and American Airlines Center every 15 minutes -- instead of every 30 minutes -- for a few hours before and after All-Star events.
"Most of the events end around 10 o'clock or so, we're going to continue our train service 'till after midnight," Lyons said.