DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Area Rapid Transit is celebrating a major milestone on Tuesday. The agency turns 30 years old. It was this day in 1983 that residents in Dallas and 13 other North Texas cities voted to have one percent of their sales tax go toward the new system of public transportation.

Three decades later, the entire DART system is a big network and it is still growing. DART president and executive director Gary Thomas said Tuesday morning, “It really is starting to make a difference. It really is starting to impact the way people think about where they want to live, where they work, where they go shopping, and where they want to go — all those things that people envisioned 30 years ago.”

During the 1980s, the very first DART riders were taken from suburban areas into downtown Dallas. But since then, the agency has added a light rail system, para-transit and HOV lanes. Now, riders in Dallas can go as far west as Fort Worth, all on the DART system. “We’ve gone to the zoo because, like I said, we got to Fort Worth, got on the TRE train that goes to Fort Worth,” said frequent DART rider Trey King. “That’s been pretty fun.”

Brenda McIntosh commutes from Arlington to Dallas each day for work. She drives a little bit, and then hops on a DART train to get into the downtown area. The move to public transit has saved her a lot of money, she said, since she began the routine eight years ago. “We don’t have to pay for parking, which is very high downtown. It’s like $10 behind our building,” said McIntosh. “Then the gas. I couldn’t say, maybe $500 or $600.”

McIntosh loves how the DART system has grown, and hopes that it will soon expand to the point where she no longer has to drive at all on her way to work. “Just a tad bit more,” she said. “I would like for us to go all the way around from Arlington, Grand Prairie and beyond. But we’re getting there.”

DART is also looking ahead, too. The Orange Line is going to expand to DFW International Airport, and there will be a streetcar line starting at Union Station in Dallas. So, even after 30 years of service, there is still a lot more to come for DART in North Texas.

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