Throughout my time inDallas, DART, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, has expanded and created many great alternatives for people without a car (I was one of these people until recently.) They have even partnered with Denton County Transit Authority to provide connections for individuals commuting betweenDentonandDallas. I can still remember when the first rail station opened. There was one located a few blocks from my house. My grandmother thought it was a sign of progress, as I do now. However, DART needs to do a better job communicating with the public about issue when they arise.
Over the course of the past year DART has had more PR related problems and seems to never learn its lesson. As the institution grows, its issues with the public’s perception seem to as well. The problems that continue to plague the company are all avoidable; Too bad Dart’s relationship with its public is not up to par! As I stated in a previous blog about ethical behavior, if the public has trust in a company or brand than mishaps are less devastating; but because DART continues to “flub” without communicating with the citizens of Dallas properly there is no room left for error in the consumer’s mind. The instances that DART does public address issue they go about it the wrong way. Earlier this year during the NBA Finals, Dart had a train full of passengers stalled for over an hour, with no explanation, the passengers de-boarded the train and began walking through the underground tunnel to the exit. Apparently this action was done against the direction of the train operator, however with no just cause given for the delay the passengers felt that matters had to be taken into their own hands. Afterwards, the company released a statement condemning the passengers’ behavior. Instead of apologizing and compensating the customers for such a hassle, DART chastised them. This was a terrible move and as a result the company got tons of terrible press!
In 2009, after the highly-anticipated opening of the rail toFairPark and during the Texas/OU football weekend, the institution was unprepared for the number of riders and had to transport travelers by shuttle. DART was only prepared to carry about 25,000 passengers when 60,000 actually showed up. The stranded sports fans were needless to say less than pleased. Ultimately it was a grand disaster. The following year however, DART did do a much better job accommodating the large crowd. They dedicated more buses to the event and also dedicated a traffic lane specifically for the event.
Over the summer as I commuted home from my internship, the train I was on (a red line train headed towardsPlano) stopped suddenly in the underground area between City place station and Mockingbird station. After a 30 minute delay, with no message from the driver informing us of what was going on. We began to move and within 2 minutes we were out of the tunnel at the Mockingbird station. At this point however, the train was evacuated and the platform was full of pissed off passengers. DART did not acknowledge the problem, nor did they apologize for the delay. Fortunately for me my mom came and picked me up from Mockingbird station, but for those passengers who had worked a long hard day and were forced to wait
This week DART stated that they would be laying off about 35 full-time workers even though they were going forward with plans to create/expand the orange line to Irving. They also announced at the same time that they were purchasing several new smaller buses. Many citizens could not understand how the company could afford these new projects but were firing more employees, especially when the economy is so unstable.