Expats moving to Dallas will find the city has an extensive but under-utilised public transport network. Despite the bus and rail services available to the city’s population, most residents prefer to get around using a car. Even expats who use public transport to commute to work during the week are likely to invest in their own car, as it comes in handy for exploring the surrounding areas at weekends or travelling during vacations.
Public transport in Dallas
The city's public transport system is known as DART, an acronym for Dallas Area Rapid Transit. This extensive system is made up of buses and a large light rail network.
Residents can use the trip planner tool on the DART website to find the best route to their destination. The website contains regular updates on route changes and public transport delays in Dallas.
Dallas’ light rail network serves most of the city’s suburbs and consists of four colour-coded lines. Trains operate from 5am to 12am daily, with trains arriving every 7 to 15 minutes during rush hours and every 20 to 30 minutes at off-peak and late-night hours.
There is a single commuter train line known as the Trinity Railway Express, or TRE. The TRE has connections with all four light rail lines and covers areas west of the coverage provided by the light rail system.
With more than 130 routes available, the bus network in Dallas is extensive. One can get almost anywhere using the city’s buses. However, most bus journeys will require multiple transfers that lengthen travelling times. Therefore, if there's the option to travel using the light rail network, this will usually save a considerable amount of time.
DART operates a free modern streetcar service which runs from the Bishop Arts District to Union Station, the major transport hub downtown. Streetcars run from 5.30am to midnight and arrive every 20 minutes.
There's also a historic tram service known as the M-Line Trolley, which is also free. There are a number of attractions along the single route it travels daily, including restaurants, shopping districts and hotels.
Taxis in Dallas
Various taxi firms operate in the city. While taxis are readily available in downtown Dallas, locals rarely use them on a regular basis.
It's possible to hail a taxi from the side of the road in the downtown area of Dallas; however, it is best to pre-book a vehicle if travelling from the suburbs.
Ride-hailing applications such as Uber and Lyft are also operational in Dallas.
Driving in Dallas
The easiest way to get around Dallas is by car. The road networks in Dallas are sophisticated, making it possible to get across town relatively quickly. Petrol is quite cheap in Dallas and gas stations are plentiful, making life convenient for drivers. Road conditions in Dallas are excellent and signage is clear.
Expats with residency in Dallas can drive on their foreign licence for up to 90 days before they have to get a local one. Certain countries have a reciprocal agreement with the state of Texas, allowing a foreign licence to be exchanged without taking a local driver's test. Non-eligible expats will have to take both a knowledge and a skills test to be allowed to drive in Dallas.
Cycling in Dallas
Dallas is not known for being a particularly cyclist-friendly city. However, as the population becomes increasingly health-conscious there have been demands for improved cycling infrastructure, with the city adding both dedicated and shared bike lanes in selected areas. However, cyclists will still likely find themselves having to ride on the road or sidewalk. All in all, expats will probably want to opt for another form of commute, though there are numerous parks and trails that are great for recreational cycling.
►Looking for a job in Dallas? Read Working in Dallas to get an overview of the city's job market.
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Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Dallas. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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