AOL Travel

Dallas Transportation

Getting There

Dallas has a duo of airports to choose from. Venerable Dallas Love Field (DAL), located to the northwest of downtown Dallas, saw its first flight departures in 1917 and is now served almost exclusively by Southwest Airlines. Local DART Bus 39 links Love Field and downtown Dallas. Vast Dallas Fort Worth (DFW), the city’s international airport, is just 15 miles from the city, but you should count on eating up at least two hours to brave the traffic to and from the gargantuan airport. Shared-ride services Go Yellow Checker Shuttle, City Shuttle and SuperShuttle DFW take some of the stress out of getting to and from the airport. Dallas Area Rapid Transit or “DART” daytime buses connect DFW to commuter-rail links. Things move swiftly once you reach the American Airlines hub, even at peak travel times. DFW is also a major destination for Continental, Delta, Frontier, United and U.S. Airways, as well as international carriers, including British Airways, Air Canada and Mexicana.
The city—Greyhound’s U.S. headquarters—is easy to reach by bus, with service to Dallas by Greyhound from around the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The station is in downtown Dallas, just three blocks from the West End light rail DART station.
In addition to the cities served by the 39-station DART light-rail network, two Amtrak routes reach Dallas—the Texas Eagle, which travels between San Antonio and Chicago, and the Heartland Flyer, which links neighboring Fort Worth to Oklahoma City. The Texas Eagle leaves from downtown’s Union Station, the Heartland Flyer from Fort Worth Amtrak ITC Station. If you’re traveling shorter distances, Trinity Railway Express links Dallas Fort Worth Airport, American Airlines Center and Dallas Union Station to adjacent Fort Worth. Keep in mind that TRE trains don’t run on Sundays.

Getting Around

A taxi from DFW to downtown will probably tip over the $40 mark, whereas Love Field is about $20 away by cab from the heart of the city. Yellow Cab and Cowboy Cab Company are the prominent cab operators. Initial drop rate is $2.25, with another dollar or two per extra mile. It can add up pretty swiftly in a city of this size. To be sure of a safe, reliable cab company call, rather than hail, a cab. It’ll probably be faster, as you’ll see few free cabs cruising the streets outside of nightlife areas, such as Lower Greenville and Deep Ellum.
You’ll definitely get more out of Dallas if you rent a car. Sure, the traffic can be terrible, and parking meters are few and far between, but the Metroplex area is vast and—unless you have a week—driving between sights is a must. Having said that, those staying directly downtown can hop the trolley, light-rail or bus to get Uptown or between Arts District attractions. Make use of the plentiful HOV lanes to escape some traffic snarl and, if possible, avoid rush hour—between 4:30 and 6PM Monday through Thursday, and from 3:30PM on Fridays. Stay off the cell phone in both Dallas and Fort Worth or risk a hefty fine. Once you leave downtown, you’ll find parking costs evaporate.
Public Transit
Although it’s very much a car culture, Dallas has a clean, safe and efficient public transit system, called Dallas Area Rapid Transit. An improving light-rail system is a boost for Dallas transportation, linking city and suburbs and giving easy access to many major downtown sites and sports grounds. DART buses mostly serve commuters. A good choice downtown, they can be slow and distinctly unreliable, but useful if Uptown’s malls are on the itinerary and you’re not in a hurry. You can access the suburbs by bus, but renting a car would be much, much faster. Mostly popular with visitors, the quaint, vintage McKinney Avenue Trolleys rumble along McKinney, linking Uptown and Downtown’s Arts District for free.

Useful information about Dallas DART services: DART buses are clean and rarely crowded outside rush hours. Buses and light rail accept exact fares or DART passes (unlimited trip Day Passes—valid till 3AM the following day—are available on buses or from station vending machines). You’ll probably not have much need for bus services numbered higher than 200 as they serve farther suburbs and are often express routes. Dallas transportation options—both light-rail and bus services—run roughly from 5AM to midnight. If traveling to Fort Worth, DART services link up with the Trinity Railway Express, another safe, easy, un-crowded way to travel, if you avoid rush hour.