More than 5,500 people have downloaded DART's "Say Something" safety app since it launched last September, allowing them to anonymously report suspicious and criminal activity to police. DART officials say it's been a big success.
"I was [just involved] in an arrest," said DART Chief of Police and Emergency Management James Spiller at an early-morning news conference to promote the app and new safety measures being put in place. "Someone sent in that something was happening on a train with an individual."
The app also allows DART police to relay an alert to everyone using the app, which can help to locate a suspect if he or she does not stay put. With a lot of ground to cover, Spiller says the public's help is essential to ensuring safety on DART's buses and trains.
"We cover 700 square miles, and it's pretty tough to cover 700 square miles with the number of people we have."
But that number will be growing. DART is aiming to have an armed officer or security guard at each of its trains at all times by April. It has also upgraded the lighting at some stations to make it easier for both people and cameras to see if something needs to be reported.
"In the future we'll be able to look through the cameras as the officers are coming near so they can see what's happening on there, so they can gear their response to know what kind of a tactical approach that they have to make."
In other train news, Grapevine held a ceremonial groundbreaking on Wednesday for its $105 million Grapevine Main project, a five-story downtown train station with surrounding development that will host a new 27-mile commuter rail line, TEXRail, connecting the city to DFW International Airport and downtown Fort Worth.
"Lifestyles are beginning to change," said Mayor William D. Tate. "People are wanting to take commuter trains to work and get off the highways, with one car and one person and all the cost of that. So we're trying to provide that. We've been a part of the past and we want to be a part of the future."
The project will include retail stores, restaurants, a 121-room boutique hotel, a large outdoor plaza, and a 552-space parking garage. While it's hard to think of Texans giving up their cars, Tate believes this could be the start of a railway renaissance once surrounding areas get a look at Grapevine Main.
"I think pride will overcome and these cities will want their own stations and want to be a part of it."
TEXRail is scheduled to begin running in December and is projected to serve 8,000 riders daily at nine stations by the end of 2019.
Hey, if it helps rush hour to chug along a little faster, we're all for it!
Check out the renderings: