The fact that Dallas is our backyard is one of the best parts of being at SMU! This city has everything: exciting sports, tantalizing eateries, electrifying concerts, adventurous trails, captivating museums, and more! But figuring out how to travel to these events and places seems to be an insurmountable hurdle for SMU students…or is it?

Travelling around Dallas is actually really easy! And cheap! So don’t let a little logistics stop you from maximizing your time in this incredible city! Check out a few of my favorite transportation options below…

Running/Walking/Wogging

The cheapest, most fun, and most active way to get around Dallas!! On a beautiful Dallas spring day, grab a friend and a 7/11 Slurpee and head to anywhere in the city! Some popular spots near campus to walk to are Snider Plaza (eat at Bubba’s!), or to La Madeleine (use that student discount!). And if you really just want to walk, head down the Katy Trail. You can make it all the way to the American Airlines Center in only 3.5 miles under a canopy trail. You can walk, run, and jog there! Or if you are really adventurous, you can wog (walk jog). Some cool spots to stop along the way are the Village Baking Company, Wild About Harry’s, and the Katy Trail Ice House!

Pro: Free, fun way to explore, exercise!

Con: Takes a long time, limited geographic area

Your Car!

Freshmen can bring their car! Having your own car does provide you independence because, hey! Want to drive and get a Whataburger Hub Chub (Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit) at 1 am? Forgot to get a memory foam mattress topper at Target? Need to drive to the interview for your first internship? Yep! Having a car makes it easy to do all of these things and more. Your schedule, your car, and your time to explore! Also! You can 100% offer to drive your friends around. Better to explore together!

However, if you aren’t used to driving in a big city (or even if you are), Dallas drivers can be a little crazy. They drive FAST here, and the interstate system has many off and on ramps. Also, finding parking can be challenging to find, and then they make you PAY for it! Wild!

Pro: Independence, your own air fresheners, control (if you’re one of those people who need it)

Con: Paying for gas, parking, Dallas drivers

Friends!

The easiest, quickest, and potentially the cheapest alternative to having a car. Your first friend on campus is typically your roommate, and the best way to bond with your roommate is to drive  unnecessarily long distances to stock up on the essentials. Carpooling with your roommate and new friends is the best way to make friends and help each other out. Although campus is great, people typically want a reason to go explore their new home (aka Dallas). So give them a reason to check out the latest Swedish furniture trends at IKEA, get gas at the greatest gas station in the world – Buc-ee’s, try a Czech Stop Kolache, and/or play at Klyde Warren Park.

Pros: Make new friends, give your friends a reason to explore Dallas, environmentally and economically friendly carpooling

Con: Lack of independence (no way to really hurry up that friend that can’t decide), parking

Uber & Lyft

The Uber and Lyft drivers are bountiful on SMU’s campus. (Not a bad side gig if you need one.) And with downtown only being 10-15 minutes away, no trip is ever too expensive. Plus, if you split a ride with friends (safety in numbers!), you’ll be paying pennies for your rides! Okay, so maybe not actual pennies…but! It will be cheap! The drivers are generally pretty friendly with great stories, and they know campus well. Convenient if you ever need to get somewhere fairly quick and want to avoid parking.

Pros: Fairly inexpensive, no parking, fun stories from your local drivers, convenient

Cons: Safety (just make sure to bring a friend or two), still does cost money, little less control

DART

THE SINGLE GREATEST TRANSPORTATION OPTION EVER!!!!!!! Okay, that may be a little over dramatic/not 100% true…but! The DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit System) is awesome!! The DART is essentially free because you only pay $5 for unlimited access to the DART buses AND monorails for. all. 4. years. And the DART goes everywhere! I have personally traveled to the Texas State Fair, DFW Airport, American Airlines Center, Dallas Marathon starting line, and to many other places. Not only did I not have to pay for gas, I also didn’t have to worry about parking. Plus! I reduced my carbon footprint by using public transportation! And how fun is it to get a big group of friends and all travel together without worrying about who will drive or fighting over who gets shotgun?

Okay, so here is the non-rose-colored version of the DART. The DART is truly an easy and inexpensive way to get around Dallas. While the schedule is fairly reliable and consistent, the DART does not have the same time precision as a German train. (Aka it can be a little late). I would also recommend taking the DART with friends during the daylight. Also, although police officers patrol the DART, they cannot be everywhere at once. You will most likely make it home safely, but if it’s super late, you would be better off just taking the $10 Uber home. However! Coming from someone who didn’t grow up with reliable and ubiquitous public transportation, I cannot stress enough how cool of a resource the DART can be for us as SMU students!

Pros: Essentially free, cool way to explore Dallas, no parking, no Dallas traffic, ability to make memories with friends

Cons: Best to take during the day, potentially unpredictable schedule

The good news is that whatever form of transportation you choose, you will be able to explore Dallas and make memories with your new friends!

 

Travel onward, and Pony Up!

Nick Fontela

Class of 2021

Accounting, B.A. | Cox School of Business