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Lessons from Dallas Area Rapid Transport (DART)

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Metro RailPublic Transport

I'm writing in from Dallas, Texas where I am currently on a couple of months Training assignment. I use the Commuter system called DART and found some interesting lessons that perhaps can be shared with the BMTC and Namma Metro folks who can implement what fits in with our city's ethos, viability and pre-determined plans.

Firstly the Trains are normal metro trains that have between 2 to 6 coaches depending on rush hour or not. The system utilizes light rail trains manufactured by Kinki Sharyo, with all trains converted to "Super" LRVs which feature level boarding (especially convenient for strollers and wheelchairs) and higher passenger capacity. I could be wrong but it looks like they run on standard guage. What is very interesting is that the stations are very ordinary and simple - clean yes but not elaborate. I think our Hi-Tech stations planned may be very fancy but they are an expensive infrastructure that would not be missed as I noticed in the dart system.

Tickets are sold through vending machines that accept various notes and coins and passes are available as single rides, day , weekly, monthly and annual passes. All passes can be used on the DART busses as well!

But the main reason of this blog is to showcase last mile connectivity that we are all debating about back home. The DART busses that begin at all stations run into the east and west neighbourhoods but interestingly they dont run back-and-forth from a station but actually loop in a way that they begin at one station and terminate at the other while going interior to the various areas. What this means is that commuters can use the bus at either direction to reach a station.

For example in context of our Metro, lets say you took a metro train and got off at the Ulsoor Station you would find a bus that began at the station headed towards ulsoor lake, naga theatre, commercial street, cubbon road and to the MG road station and back. Thereby allowing commuters to get in at either direction and reaching the metro station. I do this all the time here in Dallas - I dont look at the direction the bus is going - knowing fully well it terminates at a DART rail station.

Other interesting characteristics is the park and ride facilities, well communicated schedules and (well adhered to schedules). Dependability of the schedules etc.

In downtown Dallas the trains actually slow down and use the same roads that the cars use - the descpline is impeccable. I understand this is something we cannot really do back home but its just a note. The railway level crossings are automatic and very basic with just a small bar across the crossing - so it works fast and effeciently.



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silkboard's picture

knowing where the bus terminates

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Let me pick out one important line from above:

"I do this all the time here in Dallas - I dont look at the direction the bus is going - knowing fully well it terminates at a DART rail station."

What you are pointing out is that the buses only form the arterial network around a trunk route (DART)

In the context of Bangalore today, one can picture this.

  • Imagine identified trunk routes - Metro routes (train), and Big10 routes (bus)
  • Imagine all other bus services to be terminating at a trunk route station. So, you can take any bus that doesn't look green with Big10 on it, and expect to hit a Big10 route or Metro station.

Imagine on. This is what we want, isn't it?

Vasanth's picture

Gave a good idea on the feeders too

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Thanks for sharing Clive. Looking at this we could have buses just going in circle in either directions connecting the TTMCs, Metro Stations, Big 10 routes if any available.

If we take the example around Jayanagar TTMC, we could have a route which starts at Jayanagar TTMC, Jayanagar Metro Station, Kanakapura Road Big 10, KR Road, Banashankari TTMC, RV Road Metro Terminus and back to Jayanagar TTMC - This is just a guess work on one side of the Metro Station. On the other side, we could have Jayanagar Station, TTMC, Bannerghatta Road - Big 10 - Jayanagar 9th Block - Jayanagar TTMC.

But, looking at the Jayanagar TTMC's feedback on Praja, I feel it is not capable to handle large number of buses. comment guidelines

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