Catherine Ross, NBC 5 Collin County Reporter
DART light rail can cut U.S. Highway 75 out of your commute if downtown Plano is your destination, but it's taken 12 years to make public transportation a reality in West Plano.
Plano and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit are hoping a new park-and-ride site will attract new residents, businesses and transit users.
After about 12 years of discussion and design, DART began service on Monday to and from the Northwest Plano Park and Ride located near the Legacy business and shopping districts.
"You're walking distance from Hewlett-Packard, Pizza Hut, JC Penney," Mayor Pro Tem Lissa Smith said. "We are attracting new businesses each and every day."
While Plano has been on board DART for nearly three decades, public transit options on the city's west side are still developing.
"The northwest part of Plano, it was somewhat underserved," said Gary Thomas, DART president and executive director.
The park-and-ride site will serve several bus routes and shuttle services to some of the larger nearby employers.
"This is going to bring a bit more accessibility to the businesses on this side of [State Highway] 121," said Michael Godwin, of Frisco, who uses DART to commute.
Godwin said the facility changed some of the Plano bus routes to the chagrin of some riders but thinks the Fair Share Parking lot -- which is free for residents of DART member cities and available to others for a $2 daily or $40 monthly fee -- will attract new riders from nearby areas such as Frisco or The Colony.
"It's going to work; people just need to get used to it," he said.
City leaders also see potential to bring in reverse commuters, those who live in other cities but work and, in turn, spend money around the Shops at Legacy.
"It's a great opportunity for those citizens of Dallas to come up to Plano," Smith said.