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As part of DASH’s commitment to supporting the City of Alexandria’s Eco-City initiative, DASH is moving toward operating a 100% electric fleet. On October 19, 2020, DASH celebrated the first milestone in achieving this goal with the public unveiling of the agency’s first battery-electric buses.
DASH is the first public transit bus agency in Northern Virginia to put 100% electric zero-emissions buses in service. As of December 2021, electric buses make up more than 10% of DASH’s fleet, including standard 40-foot and 60-foot articulated buses manufactured by New Flyer and Proterra.
New DASH Network
On Sunday, September 5, DASH launched the New DASH Network. The New DASH Network represents a complete redesign of the existing DASH bus network to provide more frequent service that will allow more people to use DASH at more times of day. These service changes pave the way for the proposed 2030 DASH Network outlined in the Alexandria Transit Vision Plan. The New DASH network is the most accessible and useful transit service ever to operate in Alexandria. The network is the result of years of planning and conversations with the wider Alexandria community as well as integral support and commitment from the City of Alexandria. Visit dashbus.com/newnetwork to learn more.
New DASH Tracker
In July 2020, DASH launched an upgraded new Tracker in beta. Launching in beta will allow DASH to gather feedback from riders and continue to make improvements before the new Tracker fully launches. In addition to real-time information from DASH, WMATA and Fairfax Connector, the new DASH Tracker is mobile-friendly and offers improved prediction accuracy, new ways to search for a stop or route, and the option to suggest nearby routes based on mobile users’ GPS location.
Alexandria Transit Vision Plan
DASH and the City of Alexandria are working to transform the city’s transit system into a more useful and modern network. The Alexandria Transit Vision Plan is the first network reimagination in the region. This initiative is built on community and rider feedback. When completed, the project will benefit the community by reducing traffic congestion while improving sustainability, mobility and quality of life. The redesigned service network will also benefit low income, minority and senior residents, making transit in Alexandria more equitable.
The Alexandria Transit Company (DASH) Board has approved and accepted the proposed 2022 and 2030 networks, which include changes to several routes. Implementation of the 2022 network will begin in July 2021.
Free Student Rides Program Expansion
Introduced in 2017, DASH’s Free Student Rides program allows students from participating schools to ride all DASH buses for free during the school year. Students must present a valid student ID card. The program has expanded year after year, and now includes several area schools. Students should check with their school’s administration to verify if their school participates.
In 2019, Fusion Academy became a participating school, making students eligible to ride DASH for free with their student ID card.
I-395 Commuter Choice Service Improvements
With funding from the inaugural I-395 Commuter Choice program, DASH implemented its largest service change in 5 years in October 2019. The Commuter Choice Program provides funds to local transit initiatives from toll lane revenue. DASH successfully funded two service enhancements through the program.
These funds paved the way for significant improvements to the AT-1 and AT-9 routes, including AT-1 PLUS service, which features 10-minute peak headways and extended evening and weekend service on the pre-existing AT-1 route. Additionally, AT-9 service frequency was increased to allow 20-minute peak headways and Sunday service.
DASH Mobile Ticketing Pilot
DASH introduced a mobile ticketing smartphone application, making it the first agency in the Washington DC region to do so. The DASH bus app put information directly in passengers’ hands during the 2019 Platform Improvement Project and beyond. The app also provided a new and convenient way to pay fares and plan trips.
LED Lighting Replacement
We have reduced our energy consumption and shrunk our carbon footprint by upgrading more than 400 light fixtures within our 160,00 square foot facility. Fluorescent lights have replaced with more efficient LED lighting technology. The upgrade promotes safer working conditions by providing better lighting for the more than 200 employees who work on DASH’s fleet within the facility’s interior yard and maintenance spaces. Additionally, the new LED lights will reduce DASH’s electricity consumption by more than 600,00 kWh per year, translating to 486,000 lbs of carbon emissions annually. That’s the equivalent of taking 90 passenger vehicles off the road for a whole year! The upgrades will also translate to yearly savings of approximately $7,000.
WMATA Platform Improvement Project
DASH helped keep hundreds of thousands of Metro passengers moving during WMATA’s 2019 Platform Improvement Project, which temporarily closed several Blue and Yellow line stations and disrupted transit in the Northern Virginia region. DASH was contracted by WMATA to operate the Blue Line Shuttle, with local shuttle service between the Franconia-Springfield and National Airport Metrorail Stations.
The unprecedented project was accomplished thanks to the dedicated teamwork of all sectors of the agency, from frontline maintenance and operations employees to administrators. The project saw DASH grow its fleet to more than 130 buses and expand its workforce to more than 330 employees.
Ultimately, the Blue Line Shuttle was a success, helping passengers make approximately half a million trips during the 108-day shut down.