Dallas citizens voted for a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system in 1983 and 13 years later the light rail system opened on time and on budget. Today, as the rail system celebrates its 25th anniversary, Tramways & Urban Transit, an international light rail magazine located in London, England says it is one of the largest light rail systems in North America. The magazine features DART as its cover story in its August 2021 edition. The monthly magazine, which was founded in 1938, is about light rail transportation and tramways throughout the world and has an international audience.
The 18-page article includes, not only a history of DART in detail, but its partnership with JBJ Management, a management consulting firm headed by Willis Johnson. A partnership, according to Johnson, that has lasted over 17 years.
The first contract JBJ Technology Division signed with DART prepared specifications for a new two-way radio system that provided voice, mobile data, AVL, and video transport for DART’s revenue and non-revenue vehicles. “This newly designed system incorporated state-of-the-art two-way radio technology utilizing digital techniques and a packet communications protocol that service DART’s bus, light rail, paratransit, police, maintenance, fare collection and other operations,” said Johnson. “The system services some 2,000 mobile users covering DART’s 12 member cities for the next 10 to 15 years.” At the time, DART’s transportation network included a fleet of more than 700 buses servicing about 130 routes over a 700 square-mile service area, a Light Rail system of approximately 45 miles, 31 freeway miles of HOV lanes, about 203 Paratransit vehicles for mobility-impaired customers, and 35 miles of diesel commuter Trinity Rail Express (TRE) jointly operated with the Fort Worth “T”™. In addition to this infrastructure,
DART was in the process of adding an additional 45 miles of light rail development.
JBJ Technology was also contracted with DART Paratransit to provide turnkey two-way radio services in support of Veolia for 5 years, and later MV Transit’s paratransit outsourcing contract for an additional 7 years. Specifically, JBJ provided design, installation, operations, and maintenance for this new radio system. The system services over 251 mobile users operating in DART’s 12 member cities from 2006 and lasting a minimum of 15 years.
In 2016, DART was faced with new challenges that included managing a complex set of service and safety requirements, political fulfillments, and community awareness goals while serving varying demographics. JBJ was hired to utilize its marketing and public engagement Divisions to create a strategic plan to handle the wide range of ridership diversity and unique crisis management services as DART started two new projects, the D2, and the Silver Line.
During a tense political climate, the regional cities surrounding Dallas disagreed on the potential effects of the new projects and threatened to end both projects. “A series of key meetings involving City Council members and community influencers and educational open houses for interested citizens were needed to advance the projects,” said Johnson. “We developed and implemented a strategic solution that offered more effective communications and clarification between the City of Dallas and DART properties.” The firm also offers additional consulting services in some under-served areas which has prompted DART to fund over $600,000 in reduced-fare bus passes.
As DART celebrates its 25th anniversary, clearly an important milestone, you have to wonder what the future holds. This spring the 65th light rail station opened in Hidden Ridge, which is located between North Lake College and Irving Convention Center stations on the Orange line. “What that means to me is there will continue to be a new generation of light rail stations just waiting to open,” said Johnson.
To read the entire article on DART click on this link http://www.tautonline.com/25-years-dart-light-rail/