Dallas — MATA Upgrades to Begin in 2013
Rail Transit Online, August 2010
The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority is poised to change its focus from being primarily a tourist ride to becoming an integral part of the city's rail transit system. Once two short extensions are completed, MATA will have 5.1 mi. (8.2 km) of track connecting the Uptown District with the Arts District in the center of downtown and with two DART light rail stations.
The expansion will also provide reversing facilities at each end of the line, a turntable at Cityplace and a loop at the downtown end, permitting the use of two soon-to-be refurbished single-end ex-Toronto PCC cars that are already on hand. MATA also owns an ex-Dallas, ex-Boston double-end
PCC and an all-steel ex-Dallas Railway and Terminal Co. Peter Witt car. These four will allow MATA, a registered non-profit organization, to vastly increase its capacity and frequency of service compared with its present schedule using only a fleet of antique wooden cars.
"There has been a definite shift in our mission," MATA President Phil Cobb told The Dallas Morning News. "We're not just a little Uptown tourist attraction anymore. We'll have to be faster, we'll have to be cleaner, we'll have to run on schedule and we'll have to add more cars."
Commuters already provide an estimated 45 percent of MATA's 300,000 annual
hoardings and the agency hopes to increase that to around 900,000 once the extensions are in service. Kourtny Garrett, senior vice president of marketing for Downtown Dallas, said the upgraded streetcar system will
help transform downtown and continue the growth of both Uptown and the Arts District. "What we've needed is a connector to bring all these aspects together," she told The Dallas Morning News.
MATA is subsidized by DART on condition that it remains fare-free, although voluntary contributions are accepted. Cobb hopes that can change in the future, providing the McKinney line with additional operating revenue.