Did you hear the news?! The DART trains are running until 2 a.m. tonight!
I hate to break it to the friendly folks over at DART, but 2 a.m. ain't that late. Take a look at the public transit systems in places with world-famous nightlife, like Berlin, where trains and trams runs through the night. In Munich trains run until about 3 or 4 in the morning. That's standard in European cities. It's the key to a vibrant nightlife. You can go out, eat, drink, make merry and then take the train home.
So, whose brilliant idea was it to have the DART trains shut down at the exact same time the bars close on New Years Eve, the night on which even the boring people go crazy? DART should at least keep trains running until 3, so that partyers can catch the train after last call. That'd keep a whole lots of drunks off the road.
That's exactly right. I've always believed that public policy contributes greatly to drunk driving rates. Zoning regulations prevent neighborhood bars and often isolate drinking establishments in districts where most people must leave their home and drive to get there. More importantly, they must drive to get home. (In "dry" jurisdictions, the problem is even worse.) Add to that a failure by most Texas' cities to invest in adequate public transit, and anyone who wants to drink at a bar is virtually required to either drive home or find a designated driver.
More than 5,000 Texans are currently imprisoned at TDCJ for having three or more DWI convictions. Would many of them take public transit if it were convenient, available and ran at the times when they needed it? Not all, but I think many of them would.
Relatedly, Austin is preparing to open a commuter rail that happens to have a train stop just a couple of blocks from my house, ending downtown near the convention center and the entertainment district. When I first saw the proposed route, I thought, "Great! I can take the train downtown when I want to go to a bar and not have to worry about driving home. But the schedule for the train is even less sensible than DART's, entirely fixated on commuters from Austin's suburbs instead of facilitating in-city transit. So the train won't actually run during them times when Austinites might use it to avoid drinking and driving.
The solution to every social problem cannot be cops, courts, jails and prisons. Where non-punitive strategies can prevent crime and promote public safety, that should be the preferred approach.