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All grown up: DART tests digital signs at rail stations in preparation for Texas-OU weekend

All grown up: DART tests digital signs at rail stations in preparation for Texas-OU weekend

Dart train
Digital signs announcing departure times and delays are being tested at several downtown stations, including this one in the West End.  Photo by Claire St. Amant
Dart train, rail
A digital sign at Union Station warns passengers to disregard messages during DART's testing phase.  DART
Dart train
Dart train, rail

If you've been to the West End DART Station recently, you probably noticed a pair of shiny digital signs. One day soon, they'll display helpful information. For now, it's just a test. 

Although the goal is to have the signs showing arrival times and delay notices by Texas-OU weekend October 13, the impetus was not football or the State Fair, which combined account for the biggest DART ridership of the year. When last year's ice storm caused the first full closure of all DART lines, there was no way to alert passengers. 

 "We're not a baby anymore," says DART spokesman Mark Ball. "We've been around for 30 years, and we need to act like it." 

"It was an eye-opener," says DART spokesman Mark Ball. "We had no way to get employees to the platforms to inform riders that the trains would not be running." 

Ball says eventually the digital signs will display information at all stations. But the heaviest trafficked downtown stations are the first to receive the signs. The decision to digitize announcements mirrors what other mass transit systems around the country are doing. 

"We're not a baby anymore," Ball says. "We've been around for 30 years, and we need to act like it."