As gas prices rise, DART adds trains on Red Line

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on March 9, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 9 at 9:35 PM

PLANO - Will our pain at the pump translate to more people using the DART light rail system?

Right now, prices for a gallon of regular unleaded are passing the $4 mark in some areas. Wednesday morning, the national average was $3.51 and it was $3.40 in Texas.

Gas prices are predicted to keep on climbing. When that same thing happened two years ago, DART ridership climbed as well, which has the public transportation agency once again preparing for a similar situation.

DART will add capacity next month on the Red Line, with four extra trains in the morning heading south, and six additional trains heading north in the evening during rush hour between downtown Dallas and the Parker Road Station in Plano.

There will also be more 7.5-minute departures.

"It will make a big difference, because right now -- if I catch the train coming back out here anywhere from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30, 6 o'clock --  it's standing room only," said Mike Hallquist, a DART rider. "And sometimes I've counted like 30 people standing in the aisle on just the car I am on."

"It's so bad that sometimes you feel like a sardine," said Marion Lambert, another DART rider. "So, adding more trains is definitely a big benefit."

DART planned on implementing these changes next year, but decided to roll them out earlier with the gas price hikes.

In 2008, when gas prices went above the $4 mark, DART saw a 15 percent boost in ridership.

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