Transportation & Aviation | KERA News

Transportation & Aviation

Dallas Area Rapid Transit has faced many challenges during the COVID-19 outbreak, including a decrease in ridership. Still, here they are working to keep buses sanitized to prevent spreading the virus.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)

Dallas Area Rapid Transit says its buses and trains provide 62.5 million rides in 13 North Texas cities each year. But that task has become challenging during the COVID-19 outbreak, especially because of a substantial decrease in riders.

So what's changed for DART and the people who rely on it? 

In recent years, airlines have been cramming more seats onto planes and squishing passengers ever closer to one another. The entire airport experience isn't much better, with overcrowded eateries and bookshops, as well as tightly packed lines of people queuing up at check-in counters, at security checkpoints and on the jet bridge for boarding.

But that's not the case anymore.

"Airports are empty. The flights are empty," said physician Frank Garcini after stepping off a recent flight from Phoenix at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Shutterstock

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is reconsidering some of its routes, and that could affect service to people who’ve come to rely on it. KERA's Justin Martin talked about the potential changes with reporter Juan Pablo Garnham, who's been covering the issue for The Texas Tribune.

DART Bus
Duy Vu / For The Texas Tribune

Commuters in the historically low-income neighborhood of West Dallas have adapted their morning routines to new bus routes since August. That’s when Dallas Area Rapid Transit, North Texas’ largest public transit agency, redrew two lines that used to zigzag through the residential area to instead run mainly along major streets farther from many residents’ doorsteps.

Ethiopian Airlines plane crash site
Mulugeta Ayene / Associated Press

The number of deaths in major air crashes around the globe fell by more than half in 2019, according to a report by an aviation consulting firm.

Associated Press

American Airlines is pushing back the expected return of its Boeing 737 Max jets into next year.

The airline said Wednesday that it expects to slowly bring the plane back into its schedule starting Jan. 16. That's six weeks later than American planned just last month, and the sixth time the airline has pushed back the plane's return.

Texas A&M Transportation Institute

If you think you waste a lot of time stuck in traffic, you're right. A new report says drivers in Dallas-Fort Worth lose nearly three days every year stuck in traffic.

Nearly 1 in 3 Dallas children grow up in poverty — and more than 100,000 kids in the city are living below the poverty line. A North Texas nonprofit has a plan for a collaborative response and an ambitious goal: to cut childhood poverty in half within 20 years. 

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

With American Airlines joining United in pulling 737 Max planes from their schedules and cancelling flights into early November, many travel industry observers are bracing for the next shoe to drop: higher priced fares and cancelled flights for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays season.

American Airlines announced Monday it is pulling the 737 Max from its schedule through Nov. 2, canceling about 115 flights per day. American reported last week that the Max grounding has already cost the airline $185 million in lost revenue.

Associated Press

Federal accident investigators have issued a preliminary report on the crash of a small plane that killed all 10 people on board at the Addison Municipal Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration says there's a new problem with some of Boeing's 737 commercial jets. More than 300 of the planes, including some of the grounded Max versions of the jets, may have faulty parts on their wings.

Though the problem is not considered something that could lead to a crash, Boeing is contacting airlines that own the 737s in question, and the FAA has issued an air worthiness order directing airlines to immediately inspect the aircraft.

The U.S. Postal Service is experimenting with self-driving trucks to move mail across state lines.

The USPS has partnered with San Diego-based TuSimple on a two-week pilot program focusing solely on a 1,000-mile route between Dallas and Phoenix.

A TEXRail train waits at Fort Worth's T & P Station.
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

TEXRail got off to a bit of a rocky start, delayed by the federal government shutdown. But four months after the train began running between central Fort Worth and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, riders say they’re happy with the service.

Know a young driver who's ignoring your pleas to buckle up? Chevrolet suggests you might try to see if they'll listen to a different authority figure: their car.

The automaker is introducing a feature, specifically for teen drivers, that will temporarily block the auto from shifting into gear if their seat belt isn't buckled. A message will alert the driver to buckle up in order to shift into gear.

After 20 seconds, the vehicle will operate normally.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport's north entry
Screenshot of courtesy video from DFW Airport

A new terminal full of gates is coming to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Terminal F, the airport's sixth, is expected to open by 2025 and provide up to 24 new gates for U.S. and international flights.

Will Scootermania End With A Crash?

May 14, 2019

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Last week, the Austin City Council voted to back the Green New Deal, a national plan to tackle climate change that would overhaul the U.S. economy and energy sector. It was a big gesture from a city that prides itself on its environmental leadership. But, critics say, that gesture was undercut by a vote some local leaders took earlier that week – one that would drastically expand Interstate 35.

Nearly 200 people were injured because of rentable scooters between Sept. 5 and Nov. 30 last year, according to a first-of-its-kind study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Austin Public Health Department.

During that time, there were about 940,000 rides taken in Austin overall, according to the Austin Transportation Department. That results in a ratio of 20 injuries per 100,000 rides.

Could Texas High-Speed Rail Hit A Speed Bump This Legislative Session?

Apr 25, 2019
The Japanese Shinkansen is a high-speed train used by JR Central in Japan. A private company is planning to build a rail line between Dallas and Houston using the same trains.
Norihiro Kataoka

High-speed rail developers have been eyeing a 240-mile stretch of mostly rural land sandwiched between the urban hubs of Dallas and Houston for years. Their goal: buy it up and build America’s first bullet train.

But several rural landowners don't plan on giving up their private property without a fight. 

This summer, musician Katie Sucha will be touring England. And she's scared.

"It really is a serious mental challenge to walk through those doors and get on the plane," she explains. Sucha's fear of flying is so bad that when she was a teacher in Mississippi and wanted to visit her family in Michigan, she'd take a 14-hour bus ride rather than spend two hours in the air.

In the wake of two crashes of its 737 Max jet in recent months that killed 346 people and grounded those planes worldwide, Boeing continues to produce the planes while campaigning to reassure airlines, pilots, regulators and the flying public that they are safe.

Why Pedestrian Deaths Are At A 30-Year High

Mar 28, 2019

Across the U.S., 6,227 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in 2018, the highest number in nearly 30 years. The findings from a Governors Highway Safety Association report show that many of these deaths occurred in big cities like Houston and Miami.

The signs are all over most cities — stretches of road without crosswalks and people needing to walk on roads built for rush-hour traffic. But the real increase, experts say, comes from larger trends: drivers and pedestrians distracted by their phones and a growth of larger vehicles on the road.

Updated at 8:30 P.M. ET

The acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration defended his agency against criticism that it waited too long to ground Boeing 737 Max planes after a pair of deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Daniel Elwell told a Senate subcommittee that the FAA waited longer than other countries to order the move earlier this month because it wanted to see flight data that might help explain how the Ethiopian Airlines crash happened.

Boeing's bestselling jetliner, the 737 Max, has crashed twice in six months — the Lion Air disaster in October and the Ethiopian Airlines crash this month. Nearly 350 people have been killed, and the model of plane has been grounded indefinitely as investigations are underway.

Boeing has maintained the planes are safe. But trust — from the public, from airlines, from pilots and regulators — has been shaken.

So far, experts say, Boeing has mishandled this crisis but has the opportunity to win back confidence in the future.

Alan Diaz / Associated Press

Fort Worth-based American Airlines is stopping flights to Venezuela because of safety concerns after the pilots’ union told its members to refuse to work the flights.

With its fastest-selling plane grounded in the U.S. and around the world, Boeing faces potential hits to its bottom line as well as to its reputation. A lengthy delay could cut Boeing's revenues by billions, some analysts say.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

The two giants of the North Texas aviation scene are feeling the impact of President Trump's announcement that the U.S. is grounding Boeing's 737 Max fleet. 

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Starting March 30, Dallas Area Rapid Transit will be closing several light rail stations in the heart of downtown Dallas every weekend through September. 

Updated at 5:17 p.m. ET

The Boeing 737 Max is the fastest-selling plane in the company's history. And now it's under immense global scrutiny after the plane has been involved in two deadly crashes soon after takeoff in less than five months.

Southwest Airlines is lashing out at the union representing its mechanics and suggesting that workers are purposely grounding planes to gain leverage in negotiations over a new contract.
Julio Cortez / Associated Press

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday, alleging its mechanics union — the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association — is illegally slowing down work to improve "position in ongoing labor negotiations."

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