DART Disappoints Native Australian" />
The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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DART Disappoints Native Australian

ARRIVAL Dallas DART train approaches the stop.

 

As an Australian and native Melbournian, I am completely at ease with Melbourne’s public transport system, the Metro.  A city famous for its trams, Melbourne boasts a rather comprehensive public transport system including trams, trains, buses and even ferries.  When I first came to Dallas, I was unsure as to whether the system would be different, but I didn’t worry as I was sure that the new friends I would make at Hockaday could show me the ropes just as I could do for them in Melbourne.

I was surprised to learn that this was not so.  On the contrary, when I asked about the public transport system in Dallas, I was generally met with comments like “I’ve never been on the DART”, “I don’t think it’s a very good way to get around Dallas” and even “There’s a public train in Dallas?!”  A little disconcerted, I decided to set out on a bit of an adventure – I decided to try and take the DART (or Dallas Area Rapid Transit) to somewhere in Dallas to see what it was like.

Back home, I often use the train without planning my trip, because I’m comfortable with the system, but since I’m not comfortable with the DART (and since I wasn’t going with anyone who is) I knew I had to plan my trip carefully.  To do this, I checked out the DART official website.  I can’t say that the DART website is particularly user-friendly. What seemed to be a helpful “Plan your trip from A to B” tool on the home page actually turned out to be a rather complicated and slightly frustrating process.

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However, the slight inconvenience that the website caused me wasn’t my biggest problem.  As a boarder at Hockaday, I have very limited transportation options, and Google Maps told me that the shortest possible walk to the station was nearly an hour and a half.  Considering the drive was all of ten minutes, I wondered how that was possible.  I must admit I was a bit disappointed that driving to the station was my only viable option.

Both my home and school in Melbourne are within walking distance from the train station.  Unfortunately the DART does not offer this convenience.  I don’t drive, but thankfully a fellow boarder and friend of mine does, and she generously agreed to join me on my adventure.

My friend and I drove to Forest Lane Station, where I was pleasantly surprised.  Despite some of the negative comments I had heard about the DART, the train was on time, the station was clean, and the train even had air-conditioning (which is more than I can say for Melbourne’s trains, which can get very uncomfortable during the height of summer).  Judging by what I had been told before riding the DART, I had assumed there would not be very many people riding it.  In fact, many of the carriages were filled – but not so much so that it made it uncomfortable.

In Melbourne, the Metro is not only a means of transport for people living in the suburbs and working in the city, it is also a very popular way for students to travel to and from school daily. Train stations in Melbourne are very conveniently situated and the train takes much less time than a car during the working week.  As I discovered, DART stations aren’t very conveniently placed in relation to Hockaday, so really taking the train to and from school isn’t a practical option for Hockadaisies like it is for students at my school in Melbourne.  This is a shame, since the DART really is a very pleasant ride and environmentally-friendly too!  While it may not be appropriate for everyday use, I do recommend the DART as a means of transport for a fun day out with friends.  I know many of us can either drive or have a parent who can take us places, but the DART provides an exciting way to experience Dallas.

–Eve, Form III

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