Free Downtown Dallas Shuttle Buses to Roll by August


Free shuttle buses should be circulating through Downtown Dallas by the end of August under a plan unveiled at City Hall Monday.

Two years in the making, the shuttle bus plan would link the new attractions around the downtown area including the Klyde Warren Park, Perot Museum and expanding Arts District with other places like the Dallas Convention Center, Main Street restaurants, South Lamar night clubs, the Bishop Arts District and Stemmons Freeway hotels.

John Crawford, with Downtown Dallas Inc., said the complaint used to be that there was nothing to do downtown.

"So that's no longer a problem. The other problem is how do you get to all these things," he said.

DART will run the shuttles with smaller, specially marked buses arriving in 15-minute intervals.

"We want it to be distinctive and separate from what people expect when they get on a DART bus," Crawford said.

A Dallas couple showing friends the new Klyde Warren Park Monday agreed a shuttle would be useful.

"It is far apart for people that want to walk so it would be nice to have something that hopped from one place to another," said Dallas resident Ruth Adams.

"It's nice to get on the DART and come down, get into town. And once you get here you need some way to get around," Kent Adams said.

Members of Dallas City Council Transportation Committee strongly supported the project at a briefing Monday.

"We think that we've got a good plan," said Committee Chairperson Linda Koop.

DART, The City of Dallas and Downtown Dallas, Inc., would pay for the service and Crawford hopes it will be free.

But Council Member Vonciel Hill praised the downtown San Antonio shuttle where riders pay a small fare.

"I don't think there should be any coin taken, but I do think free should cost one dollar. That's my opinion," Hill said.

The shuttle will cross the existing DART light rail and McKinney Avenue Trolley lines and the Oak Cliff Street Car project which is under construction.

"They're all connected together to where people will be able to get to a much larger geographic area by using the combined system," Crawford said.

The shuttle could one day be replaced by a downtown street car system that Dallas leaders would like to build but for now there is not enough money to complete the entire shuttle route with fixed rails.

The Oak Cliff Street Car to the Bishop Arts District is under construction. The Street Car would replace the shuttle bus leg to Bishop Arts when it is completed but for now there is no money to extend the street car past Union Station to the east downtown.

The McKinney Avenue Trolley is also being extended but it too is far short of the entire shuttle path.

Officials want the shuttle service running by the end of August when a Megafest sponsored by Dallas Minister, Bishop T.D. Jakes, is expected to bring 100,000 people downtown.

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