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DART's Orange Line Heads West

Monday morning, DART’s Orange Line will make three new stops in Irving. Two years from now, it will continue on to DFW Airport.

And while it may seem like a contradiction, those involved hope this expansion will make the Metroplex feel a little smaller. 

Shannin Courtney doesn’t have a car, but she uses DART within the City of Dallas almost every day. She says expanding the Orange Line to Irving would allow her to sightsee, or potentially work, in an area she had not considered before.

“It would make it a lot more accessible for people like myself that don’t have cars to get jobs further out if they are not any available in this area,” she said.

Starting Monday morning, $2 one-way DART ticket will take you as far west as the University of Dallas, Las Colinas and the Irving Convention Center.

In December, the Orange Line will add stations at North Lake College and Belt Line.

Cindy Dillon works in Irving, but commutes more than an hour by car each day. With the Orange Line up and running, she’ll be able to catch a train north of Carrolton and ride the rails all the way to Irving.

"So many people working downtown, working out in this area, the drive can get very hectic and if you can get on a train and not worry about that drive, makes it a great thing to do," she said.

And skipping out on rush hour isn’t just a draw for commuters. Shawn Callaway with the Irving, Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce says it’s very attractive to business owners.

"We have had companies that have moved here because the Orange Line is coming online. And businesses want that green designation. Our employees take the train, they love being able to tout that," Callaway said.

In December 2014, the Orange Line will extend all the way to DFW airport. Mark Ball with DART says that will be an exciting time for all communities, but perhaps Irving especially.

"Think about the opportunity. Millions of people come to DFW International Airport on an annual basis," Ball said. "And if they were to hop on our light rail to head towards the Dallas area, the first city they’re going to see is Irving. They could stop there, they could take advantage of what that city has to offer, they could stay there or they could continue on their journey."

Irving has been paying its one-cent sales tax into DART since the 1980s, so close to 30 years later, they’re more than ready to hear train bells.

To celebrate, DART will offer free rides on the new Orange Line Saturday as well as entertainment at each new station. On Monday, several bus routes will change to accommodate the Orange Line.

Check for more information.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.