DALLAS, TX — Don Johnson wasn’t quite sure what to expect when a small group of people and a gaggle of news cameras converged on him as he got off the Red Line at Union Station on an early June Monday morning. What he soon found out was he was making history and the crowd was on hand to help celebrate.
Johnson was the 250 millionth customer on Dallas Area Rapid Transits’ light rail system. The daily rider was greeted by DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas and Michael Melaniphy, president and chief executive officer of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), who was is in Dallas for the annual APTA Rail Conference. Johnson was also congratulated by Cathy Rigby, who will appear in “Peter Pan” July 10 at Fair Park.
“I started riding DART because of gas prices about 10 years ago,” Johnson said. “But it’s comfortable and gives me a chance to read while I’m on the train so I stayed. I love DART.”
Johnson, who is from DeSoto, TX and works at Vent-a-Hood in Richardson, was randomly selected from commuters by DART staff to represent all riders of the 72 mile, 55-station system that began 16 years ago. DART Rail ridership is calculated on a variety of factors, including statistical sampling.
As part of the recognition, DART will award the customer four monthly Regional passes good for use in July, along with tickets to popular destinations such as the Dallas Zoo, Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park, Hawaiian Falls, Dallas Summer Musicals and the Museum of Nature & Science.
“This is a great day and a neat milestone for us,” Thomas said. “But I’m also thinking about the individual trips and special moments that preceded this one. School kids made their first trips to the zoo, or a Mavericks’ or Stars’ game on DART. People have met, gone on first dates and found their spouses on DART. Our customers plan special outings around our service. We’ve really become woven into the fabric of the region and that’s what’s exciting to me.”