Despite being a car-happy, suburb-loving city, Dallas’s public transportation options are surprisingly decent. The city is home to the country’s longest light rail system—the DART— in addition to a bevy of buses, taxis, rideshares, and trolleys. Here’s what to know about public transportation in Dallas.
How to Ride the DART
Most people who use mass public transit in Dallas use the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system (or, as it’s much more commonly known, the DART). The DART is more than just a typical bus system; it’s a bus and connecting train system that links downtown Dallas and the surrounding suburbs, and it’s constantly expanding.
All in all, there are 64 DART Rail stations and 14 bus transfer facilities, in addition to 10 Trinity Railway Express (TRE) stations — the TRE connects downtown Dallas Union Station and Fort Worth, as well as several towns in between and the DFW International Airport. Personalized, on-demand, curb-to-curb service is also available via GoLink. Finally, the Dallas Streetcar operates in Oak Cliff and makes connections with the final DART Rail trains at Union Station; trains are free and operate every 20 minutes.
Routes and Hours: DART buses and trains operate daily, from approximately 5 a.m. to midnight. The 93-mile light rail system consists of four lines:
- Red: Parker Road to Westmoreland (north-southwest)
- Blue: Downtown Rowlett to UNT Dallas (northeast-south)
- Green: North Carrollton to Buckner (northwest-southeast)
- Orange: DFW Airport to Parker Road or LBJ/Central (northwest-north)
- Information about the DART bus schedule, the Trinity Railway Express schedule, GoLink service areas, and the Dallas Streetcar route map are all available online.
Fares: Day passes and monthly passes can be purchased to make commutes and unlimited transfers easy; otherwise, tickets are sold on board buses, from ticket vending machines at rail stops, and via GoPass, which allows passengers to purchase tickets from their phones.
- Day Passes (valid for unlimited rides on the date of purchase through 3 a.m. the following day): $6 local, $12 regional, $3 reduced
- Single Ride (valid on DART buses only): $2.50 local, $1.25 reduced
- AM/PM Passes (for those who need to travel for more than two hours but don’t need a Day Pass): $3 local, $1.50 reduced
- Midday Pass (allows for unlimited travel between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., seven days per week): $2 local
- Monthly Pass (Only available on the GoPass app): $96 local, $192 regional, $48 reduced
Dallas offers DART service to both area airports: Dallas Love Field and Dallas-Fort Worth International. DFW is served by the Orange DART light rail line; it takes roughly one hour to get from downtown to the airport in Terminal A. Love Field is served by the Green and Orange DART light rail lines, and it takes 15 minutes to get from downtown to the Inwood/Love Field Station, followed by a quick transfer on bus 524.
In addition, SuperShuttle runs from Dallas Love Field or DFW to downtown and most major hotels. This shared-ride service is affordable and efficient: Once you schedule your ride, SuperShuttle groups you with other travelers headed in the same direction; then, they assign you a pick-up window with plenty of time to spare at the airport or your local destination.
The McKinney Avenue Trolley
The McKinney Avenue Trolley (also known as The M-Line) is a beloved form of transportation that consists of restored vintage trolleys that operate 365 days per year. Not only is taking the trolley a unique way to see the city and get around, but it’s also free (though do consider dropping a donation). Service goes from McKinney Plaza and travels downtown; many of Dallas’s must-see cultural sites are accessible by The M-Line, including Klyde Warren Park, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Crow Museum of Asian Art.
The journey between the West Village and the Arts District takes about 20 minutes. (The complete route map is available online.)
Taxis and Ride-Sharing Apps
Taxis and rideshares are everywhere in Dallas; popular rideshare apps include Uber and Lyft, and the Curb app connects people to taxis and other professional for-hire drivers.
Of course, in a city designed for cars, renting a car is a good option for zipping around Dallas’s criss-crossing freeways. Provided you don’t mind sitting in heavy traffic and you’re aware that parking downtown can be a pain, having your own car can be quite useful.
Tips for Getting Around Dallas
Sure, Dallas isn’t the most public transit-friendly city, but it doesn’t have to be a complete headache to get around. Follow these tips to make transportation as easy as possible:
- Be extra-careful around pedestrians and bikers. If you’ve opted to rent a car, it’s important to operate under one rule: Assume that bikers and pedestrians know nothing. Unfortunately, as we’ve mentioned, Dallas is rather unfriendly to bikers, pedestrians, and anyone not driving behind the wheel of their own vehicle. As a result, pedestrians and bikers don’t always know how to abide by traffic laws. Be vigilant, drive slowly, and exercise caution if you’re in the vicinity of someone who isn’t in a car.
- Watch out for one-way streets. Dallas’s streets are notoriously confusing and seemingly haphazardly created, especially when it comes to one-way streets. When you’re driving around Uptown and Downtown, watch out for those pesky one-way signs; they can be subtle and hidden away.
- If there’s inclement weather, you can bet there’s traffic. Drivers in Dallas aren’t the best at driving in the rain (and if there’s snow or ice, we recommend staying off the roads entirely if you can help it), so if there’s rain in the forecast, expect to spend a little extra time sitting in traffic.