REPORT ON MEETING ATTENDED Humanur Timurbanga The University of Texas at Arlington Title

REPORT ON MEETING ATTENDED
Humanur Timurbanga
The University of Texas at Arlington

Title: DART Public Hearing Community Meeting
Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 6:30pm
Venue: DART Headquarters – Board Room, 1401 Pacific Avenue, Dallas, TX 75202
The full agenda of the meeting is reproduced in Appendix 1.
First of all, I would like to thank Professor Amber for giving me the opportunity to attend the Dart Public Hearing Community Meeting in Dallas. The meeting gave me the opportunity to learn many issues in regards to the transportation issues in Dallas Area. As an international student, I find it was a very enriching experience for me.
(6:30pm – 6:35pm) Opening session happened by Ms. Sue S. Bauman, Chair of Dart Board. She pointed to the approval of minutes for March 27, 2018. She asked whether there is any adds or changes board member would like to make or not. Also, she asked for emotion to approve, and Mrs. Ray Jackson and Mrs. Gary Slagel reflected as an acceptance.
(6:35pm – 6:40pm) There was a Public Hearing on Route 27 and Rowlett On Call Service Modifications by Ms. Sue S. Bauman, The Chair. Public Hearing divided into two parts. The first part was a brief overview on the project by technical staff, and it followed a presentation. The technical staff announced, “Frequency on Bus Route 27, recently modified to improve service in the Harwood district of Uptown, upgraded to every 20 minutes instead of every 40 minutes during peak periods only based on customer requests.” Also, he added, “DART would implement a second On-Call zone to primarily serve the western portion of Rowlett; the existing East Rowlett On-Call zone would receive modifications as well.” Then Mayor of the City Rowlett explained how the Rowlett city and DART were very appreciative of their relationship with DART and the responses of their two concerns.
(6:40pm – 7:10pm) The next item on agenda was public comment period. During the public comments period, each member had maximum of 3 minutes to speak. There were 10 speakers who wanted to comment about the issues. I couldn’t understand all of the problems because of their accents, but some of them caught my attention. First of all, Mrs. Patrick had a concern about safety of passengers. He said that he had rarely seen police officers at night on the trains, and a lot of station didn’t have visibility for police officers. He added that there were some apps and cameras which were good tools, but they weren’t enough for safety. He wanted to see actual police officers in case something goes down. Also, he wanted to get more information about these kind of meetings. If these meetings were advertised more on trains and buses, more people from South Sector would attend. Next speaker was Stephany Yung. She talked about the things that didn’t get attention when she was there on November. She concerned that she has to pay twice for train because her train runs every hour from Frisco to Dallas Downtown. She pointed out that the Frequency on Bus Route 27 in Rowlett upgraded to 20 minutes from 40 minutes; however, there wasn’t any changes for Dallas Downtown. She wondered why in certain areas, it gets attention with no problem, and why other areas people colored it takes longer.
(7:10pm – 7:15pm) Mr. Jonathan Kelly, the Assistant Secretary of City of Garland read his approval of changes to the Audit Department Charter.
(7:15pm – 7:20 pm) The next item was individual consideration. Ms. Bauman explained approval to transfer $500,000 of Toyota Motor North America, Inc. Grant Funds to Dart for mobility on Demand Expenses.
(7:20pm – 7:30pm) In the next section, there were more public comments. One of the man thanked for the luncheon which was the day before the meeting for retired people. He praised the DART, and he said how DART treat with respect and dignity to its employees. He was pleased to have a first class transportation system, and he wanted to keep in that way. He compared the 1980s and these days, and he said that he didn’t wanted to retain those days because the system is so improved right now. Another man said a lot of co-workers couldn’t make the public meeting because most of them were at their bus, and they were driving the passengers home. He asked why he had to come there and tell them their situations. He defended that he should have someone behalf of them. Also, he gave an interesting example that people come to bus with pit bulls, and they say that they are service animals. When the operator says them your animal can’t be here, people want a documentation as a proof to show them if there is a rule like that, and the operator can’t show any thing.
I will describe briefly below some elements in the meeting.
The public meetings are designed to: 1) discuss over decisions made by officials 2) have a permission citizens to offer comments (but officials are not obliged to act on them  3) gather public opinions and concerns on issues before an organization makes a decision or takes action.
The slot of time was two-hour meeting on April 10, 2018. There were 15 senior officials in charge of having the comments at City of Dallas, City of Cockrell Hill, City of Garland, City of Irving, City of Plano, and the Cities of Richardson and University Park. (13 of 15 were white).
City of Dallas
 Sue S. Bauman –Chair
Ray Jackson
 Patrick Kennedy
Jon-Bertrell Killen
Michele Wong Krause –Secretary
Amanda Moreno
Dominique P. Torres
City of Dallas and Cockrell Hill
Catherine Cuellar
City of Garland
 Jonathan R. Kelly  -Assistant Secretary
City of Irving
 Rick Stopfer

The meeting led by Sue S. Bauman, The Chair of City of Dallas.
Participants debated a broad array of issues, including health insurance, safety issues, sexual harassment, not having enough equipment, time of the meetings, and work schedule etc.
Throughout the meeting, participants stressed the repetition of these problems, and not having solutions even they constantly share their situations at the meetings. For example, an older lady came and talked about the period of her train hours which runs every hour from Frisco to Dallas Downtown. She said, “Even if I attend every meeting, the officials didn’t do anything for solving the problem.” The Chair offered her to talk with the Representative of the City of Dallas Down Town about the lady’s issue in detail, but she denied the offer, and she added that she didn’t want to waste his time, and she didn’t want to waste her own time to talk about these issues again because she was thinking that the time was to take an action not to talk.
The last point I noted is about the meeting atmosphere. When I entered the room, I thought that I went into a wrong room because it looked like a court. Nobody was smiling, and when employees or other people were commenting on their issues, the officials didn’t react in any way, and they were behaving coldly. All in all, the employees weren’t guilty. I mean they were their employees who were suffering from the results of officials’ decisions. It would be better if the officials made them feel standing by their employees.
Furthermore, there were some challenges to be considered. Even the meeting was well attended, it will only reach a very small group of the community that require information. The reason to have a small amount of people may be that not many people had known these meetings’ existence. One of the men mentioned that he didn’t know these meetings until two months ago. He suggested to get more information about the meeting. Also, he added if the organization printed out some flyers, he could hang them in train and bus stations. In this way, more people would be aware of the existence of meetings. Even I hadn’t known the meeting before our professor gave us the assignment. Another reason for having small amount people may be the meetings’ time. Another man asked if the officials made the event for the employees, why they picked a time which was in their work hours. It is a logical question to be considered. Another reason may be that participants may not come from a broad enough range of interests to represent the entire community. I noticed that 3 groups of people were wearing the same company’s clothes, and they talked about their issues.
Moreover, even though there are some challenges to be considered, I believe these types of meetings have many advantages. They provides opportunities for exploring alternative strategies, and they provides all participants a chance to voice their concerns, issues, and ideas.

APPENDIX 1

REFERENCES
April 10, 2018 Board Meeting – Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). (n.d.). Retrieved from
https://dart.swagit.com/play/04102018-1458

DART.org – DART Board Biographies. (n.d.). Retrieved from
https://www.dart.org/about/board/boardbios/boardbios.asp