Dallas Area Rapid Transit System. 1401 Pacific Ave., Dallas, TX. 214/979–1111. www.dart.org.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (called DART by locals) operates a 45-mi light-rail system in Dallas and some surrounding suburbs. The lines, open since 1996, extend as far north as Plano in Collin County, east to Garland, and south to South and West Dallas. There are two lines—the red and the blue, which overlap in the middle of Dallas and diverge at points north and south. Cars are crowded during morning and late afternoon rush hours, filled with commuters who appreciate being removed from the crowded highways.
If you're staying Downtown, it's possible to use the train system to reach attractions such as the Dallas Zoo to the south and NorthPark Center to the north. If the train doesn't take you to your final destination, you may be able to use DART's bus or the Trinity Railway Express, which heads west toward Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (accessible via shuttle) and Downtown Fort Worth. DART's Web site is a good resource for schedules and stops, or you can call the customer information center for trip planning. Downtown stops include Pearl, St. Paul, Akard, West End, Union Station, and Convention Center.
An all-day pass allows unlimited rides on the rail and the DART bus system; a premium all-day pass ($5) is for travel in all surrounding areas including The T in Fort Worth, although the local pass ($3) excludes travel into Tarrant County. Single-ride tickets are cheaper. All tickets can be purchased at kiosks at light-rail platforms. Passengers do not have to present a ticket to board, but DART employees do walk through the cars to check for purchased fares.
The young system is expanding. A green line to areas including Victory Park, Deep Ellum, and Fair Park is scheduled to open in fall 2009. Other districts and suburbs are scheduled for access through 2013.