Published October 26, 2016 in print and online at the North Texas Daily.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit opened a new train station at UNT Dallas Monday as part of their blue line extension. The two new stops, UNT Dallas and Camp Wisdom, extend three miles from Ledbetter station.
The train runs every day starting around 4 a.m. and goes until around 1 a.m. the next day. The train comes every 20 to 30 minutes and has connecting services to bus 415 to Ledbetter. The station was fully funded by DART along with a parking lot with 475 spaces.
Ashley Johnson, UNT Dallas spokeswoman, said having the station nearby will help provide additional access to the university for thousands of students throughout North Texas.
“There will definitely be a significant increase in the number of students who take DART now that it comes to campus”, Johnson said. “Because up until now you had to take a bus to a train to get home. This is going to simplify that for a lot of students.”
Johnson thinks the opening of the station is a significant milestone for the university and will be looked back on in future years.
“We are very excited to have partnered with DART and for DART to have considered UNT Dallas for this expansion,” Johnson said.
Though not many students were using the train Monday when it first opened, Johnson said this can be attributed to students already purchasing a parking pass for the semester. When more students realize the station is there, she believes more students will take advantage of it.
Business major Kyam Blakely gets dropped off in the mornings by his mother and takes the train home to Arlington, what used to be a two-and-a-half hour commute.
“This gives me more time at school,” Blakely said. “I can just walk up to the station, I feel like it’s faster.”
It is only a five-minute walk from the station to the campus, but 18-year-old Lizbeth Munoz says the uphill walk can feel long. Munoz starts her commute to school on the green line, totaling her trip time to over an hour. Now that the UNT Dallas DART station is open, her commute is simplified.
“I would have to take the train to Buckner, get a bus to go to Ledbetter, and then get the one that would come here,” Munoz said. “So now I just take two trains.”
Math major Arriana Leblank’s commute from Dallas used to be 20 minutes but since her car broke down it now takes her two hours. With the new station open, she hopes to spend less time traveling.
“Hopefully it cuts [my commute] down,” Leblanck said. “Instead of having to wait for the bus it just takes me to the Ledbetter station.”
UNT Dallas has plans to expand its campus to the train station and into the 264 acres of woods surrounding the campus in the coming years. The university is opening its first 120-bed residence hall in the fall. The station will give students living on campus access to Dallas and the surrounding areas.
“It also opens up more opportunities for our students to take classes, while concurrently pursuing internships and other service learning opportunities downtown,” Johnson said.
Students can buy a day pass for $5 at the station or a 31-day pass for $80 online.