FORT WORTH, Texas — TEXRail, the new rail service between downtown Fort Worth and DFW Airport has exceeded ridership expectations in its opening weeks, according to transportation leaders.
Trinity Metro says since service started on January 10, nearly 83,000 riders have filled the train, which includes stops in North Richland Hills and Grapevine, providing a key transportation link in Tarrant County.
Trinity Metro President Paul Ballard says the free fares in January have helped bring out everyday commuters and the curious.
"I think people have been waiting on this for a long time," Ballard said. "It's just exceeded all expectations."
Trinity Metro posted ridership numbers in excess of 18,000 for the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The past two day weekend topped those figures, with nearly 10,000 daily rides on both Saturday and Sunday.
Ballard says he's confident the success will continue when paid fares begin Friday February 1.
TEXRail will cost $2.50 for a one-way ride on the 27-mile route and $5 for a day pass, which includes access to bus service as well.
The early success is already paving the way for future expansion. Ballard says Trinity Metro is looking to extend the TEXRail line southwest out of downtown towards the TCU campus, but no timeline is in place.
Further down the line, Ballard says Trinity Metro wants to extend TEXRail by tying in with Dallas Area Rapid Transit and it's plans for the Cotton Belt corridor running east from DFW Airport through Carrollton, Addison, UT-Dallas in Richardson and Plano.
"You'll be able to take a train from here in Fort Worth and reach all those locations. I think that will be a game-changer for everyone," Ballard said.