Don Johnson wasn’t quite sure what to expect when a small group of people and a gaggle of news cameras converged on him as he got off the Red Line at Union Station Monday morning. What he soon found out was he was making history and the crowd was on hand to help celebrate.
Johnson is the 250 millionth customer on the light rail system of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). The daily DART Rail rider was greeted by DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas and Michael Melaniphy, president and chief executive officer of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), who is in Dallas for the annual APTA Rail Conference.
“I started riding DART because of gas prices about 10 years ago,” Johnson said. “But it’s comfortable and gives me a chance to read while I’m on the train so I stayed. I love DART.”
Johnson, who is from DeSoto and works at Vent-a-Hood in Richardson, was randomly selected from Monday morning commuters by DART staff to represent all riders of the 72 mile, 55 station system throughout the past 16 years. DART Rail ridership is calculated on a variety of factors, including statistical sampling. As part of the recognition, DART will award the customer four monthly Regional passes good for use in July, along with tickets to popular destinations such as the Dallas Zoo, Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park, Hawaiian Falls, Dallas Summer Musicals and the Museum of Nature & Science.