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Thursday, July 12, 2012

An Eventful Day on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit BLUE LINE

An Eventful Day on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit BLUE LINE

By Daniel Getz, July 12, 2012

Reporting from Dallas, TX

When I decided yesterday to jump on the Blue Line at the West End Train terminal with the intention of riding it to the end of the line which was the Ledbetter Station, I really had no idea what I was in for, particularly at the last 6 stops which primarily consist of South Oak Cliff…8th and Corinth, Morrell, Illinois, Keist, VA Medical Center and Ledbetter.

Between Morrell and Illinois, the “highlight” of my trip began.  Recently I picked up a pair of camaflouge pants, a camaflouge hat and some dark sunglasses.  Ok, ok…the sunglasses have bright red frames with Pink and Purple Peace Symbols that I’ve been told are “Very Retro…80’s”, but then again isn’t that the key to being a Master of Disguise…you know…to keep the “enemy” guessing who you really are??  I had discovered a few short weeks ago, that when I donned this type of attire, I actually (kind of) looked like a U.S. Marshal, FBI agent or some type of high level security agent.  After a while I began to have a little fun with this, particularly when there appeared to be a higher than normal amount of shady characters and unruly youth on board the D.A.R.T. trains.  I would periodically pace up and down the cars, stepping off briefly, look both ways down the track and platform at the stops, and then climb back on board.  Sometimes, I would even exit one car, only to get back on the same train in the next car until I had covered all of the cars on that particular train.   Today, for a little more “reality” I had donned an ear piece with an earbud in my left ear and the wire snaking down the inside of my shirt which was actually hooked to nothing, but then again, nobody could reasonably detect that…could they?  Top that with a recently shaved head and well…I could be part of the elite Special Forces or Navy Seals…Right???  What has even been more interesting is that DART police, employees and Fare Enforcement quickly accept the “fact” that I am “one of them” giving me “knowing” nods, glances and approving smiles.  When I told one group of DART employees who I really was, they firmly said, “NO…you WORK for DART.  We know you could not possibly be anything else than a DART employee!!”

So, with the perception of “someone in charge” who apparently had some connection with possibly National Security, I quickly stepped up the game a bit when I spotted a DART police officer on board this particular train.  As we passed, he “knowingly” and “affectionately” said, “Hey Boss,” to which I “knowingly” nodded an affirming nod acknowledging our “common ground” and “fraternal bond”.  Soon after this brief “hello”, the Officer began checking passengers to ensure they all held valid tickets.  Very quickly he approached a young African American Male and asked him, “Do you have a ticket?”  When the youth immediately acknowledged that “No he did not,” the Officer informed him that he MUST get off at the next stop.  The unidentified young man then made a undetectable, though obviously disrespectful remark to the officer as he turned to return to his friends who were waiting for him a little ways down the aisle of the car.  At that point, the Officer said, “Excuse Me Sir.  Do you have any type of identification on you?   To this inquiry the young man quickly snapped, “No.”  The Officer then brought to his attention that, unless he had identification, and particularly a valid ticket, he COULD NOT ever ride anywhere on the DART bus and train system.  The young man was still much less than respectful to the officer and slowly walked back to his seat leaving the impression that he was still undecided as to whether he was going to comply with the Officer’s directive to exit the train at the next stop.  At one point, I made my presence even more known to the young man with the appearance that I was ready to cover my “colleague’s” back, should the current situation warrant additional “enforcement” by stepping closer to the pair.  At this point, the young man re-joined his friends who openly mocked the Officer and most likely me as well.  Throughout this exchange with his friends, I stared him down, though he could not possibly detect my eye movements behind…did I mention…my DARK, INTIMIDATING SHADES.

As the train came to a stop and the doors were opened the “hoodlum” made no apparent movement to exit the train as he had clearly been directed to do.  I moved closer, continuing to stare him down with my dark…intimidating…shades.  Nothing.  Finally, at the last possible moment he ran towards the open door.  Quickly ascertaining that he had absolutely no intention of staying off the train, I ran out after him just in time to see him re-entering the train through the open door of the next car.  As he did this, I yelled, “HEY!!” ran up to the door he had just entered but was just now closing behind him only to discover that because the train was just about to leave the station, the door would not open for me.  I then just as quickly realized that I had left my two bags in the last car of the train while in pursuit of this kid who did not believe it was necessary for him to purchase a valid ticket in order to ride the D.A.R.T. train.  I quickly found a .A.R.T. Police  Officer who immediately radioed the train driver of the train I had just exited, and they proceeded to coordinate a quick search of the train, secure my baggage and confirm that the train, within 3 stops would reach the end of the Blue Line at Ledbetter, and then be coming back in my direction to return my baggage to me.  I then asked the Officer that if I simply waited for the NEXT BLUE LINE train on the other side of the platform, would THAT be the train my baggage was on?  He quickly affirmed my belief that there were no other trains in between the one I had exited, and the presumably SAME train that would be returning on the other side of the platform.

I waited approximately 30 minutes when the FIRST BLUE LINE TRAIN rolled into the Illinois train stop.  I jumped on board the LAST CAR, where I had left my two bags and quickly discovered that none of my baggage was in sight.  Fortunately there was another Police Officer on board at the front of the car and rapidly caught him up to speed with regard to my dilemma.  He told me that we needed to speak to the driver of this train (about 4 cars up) at the next stop which was Morrell.  When the train rolled into the stop, I hurriedly walked down the platform until I arrived at the car containing the Driver of the Train, actually getting there several minutes before the Police Officer.  I proceeded to get the Driver’s attention by tapping on the window of his door and inquired of him as to the whereabouts of my baggage.  He immediately relayed to me, and then the officer a few moments later, that he was not the driver of the train that my bags were on, and that my bags were on the train BEHIND him, obviously meaning that there had been ONE TRAIN in between the train I had exited and the one returning on the other side of the platform.  The Officer sensing the urgency of my situation got on his radio and was quickly able to confirm that “Yes, my baggage was indeed on the NEXT TRAIN, and that I needed get off at the next stop (8th and Corinth) and WAIT for a D.A.R.T. Police Officer to bring me my two bags.  I thanked him, waited to get off at the next stop as instructed, and proceeded to wait.  After about 30 minutes, I tried to contact D.A.R.T. police by pressing the 9-1-1 button on the DART ASSISTANCE intercom only to discover that while I could hear the dispatcher on the other end, they could not hear me due to a presumed broken speaker or wire.  After a few more moments I found a DART police officer obviously chatting on his cell phone with a wife or girlfriend.  After patiently waiting for several minutes, he agitatedly asked, “Can I help you?”  Again summarizing my “situation”, he quickly accessed that he needed to end the call with the female on the other end of the line, but then was less than helpful in assisting me as he told me, “That is my train.  I need to get on that train.  I am sure your bags are ok and they will bring them to you as they have indicated.”  When I reminded him I had already been waiting an hour, and politely asked him to PLEASE at least relay my concerns on his radio after boarding the train, he agreed to communicate with his fellow officers that I was STILL waiting for my bags at the 8th and Corinth station.

5 or 10 minutes later, I spotted another DART police officer on the other side of the tracks.  Seeing me, she said, “Are you the passenger who is waiting for his bags?”  When I immediately affirmed this, she directed me to “Stay on my side of the tracks and a train carrying my bags would soon be arriving with a DART POLICE OFFICER to deliver my bags to me in person, but to STAY where I was and NOT board the Train.  A few moments later, I spotted an officer near the front of the train that had just rolled in with my two bags.  I thanked him for all of their efforts in securing my baggage and was able to continue my journey, which by this time was to return to the West End.  Before I reached the end of my “journey” there was an attempted theft of a cell phone by a DART passenger from another DART passenger who inadvertently left his cell phone charging at the station, a car I discovered whose Air Conditioning was completely broke and blowing large volumes of hot air and a mistake I inadvertently made where I ended up on the Red Line at the Dallas Zoo.

While national security was most likely not at stake, I had to wonder if a day like this could possibly be routing on at least some parts of the DART rail system?  Maybe?  Probably? Undoubtedly?  I guess I will have to continue to ride the various lines, buses, TRE connection to Ft. Worth and the “A TRAIN” to Denton to see…Right?

This article was written by and about Daniel Getz,, YouTube 12131966dan, FACEBOOK (Dan Getz & Dance4One), Twitter @Dance4One and LinkedIn (Dan Getz).

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