Dallas — Trolley Expansion
Rail Transit Online, April 2002
A huge celebration complete with a real
circus is planned for Apr. 13 marking the McKinney Avenue
Transit Authority's 13th anniversary and the opening of a
1.25-mile (2 km)
extension north to DART’s CityPlace light rail
subway station. Also being inaugurated will be a shuttle from
the St. Paul Street trolley stop in the Arts
District to the West End light rail station using historic
buses. The $3.5-million rail project will make the heritage trolley system an
integral part of the city’s rail transit network, although it’s unique character
will not be lost. “We may have to be more businesslike, but we certainly
don't want to lose that volunteer spirit,” Transit
Authority Executive Vice President Ron Kovatis told
the Dallas Morning News. The company’s
annual budget will increase four-fold to $1.5 million, subsidized by
DART, the Downtown Improvement District and the Uptown Public Improvement
District. The jump is being primarily fueled by the replacement of volunteer
operators with a paid staff of up to 10 people who will operate McKinney’s four
vintage cars, which range in age from 76 to 96 years. However, most of those
being hired come from the ranks of the volunteers. In addition, operating hours
will be longer and the current 30-min. headway will be shortened to 20 min.
during rush hours. The trolley’s expansion program is not yet completed.
The planned turntable at the CityPlace station has
not been installed but trolley officials hope to start work on it this summer.
Also proposed is another route extension to the West End station, replacing the
bus shuttle by 2004.