DASH ridership increased to nearly 300,000 total boardings in March. This represents a 73% increase over ridership in August 2021, just before the launch of the New DASH Network and free fares.
In the first four months after the new network launch in September 2021, DASH saw a 50% increase in monthly boardings, which was the largest four-month ridership surge in over a decade. After briefly receding in January and February due to the Omicron variant, ridership spiked again in March with a nearly 46% increase over February. DASH has now achieved 95% of pre-COVID ridership levels. The 73% increase from August 2021 to March 2022 marks the largest ridership increase over a seven-month span in recent DASH history.
The biggest increases in ridership have occurred during middays and weekends, which now exceed pre-COVID off-peak ridership levels. This is the combined result of the implementation of the new frequent, all-day bus network and higher fuel prices. The increase can also be attributed to the elimination of fares systemwide thanks to additional funding provided by the City of Alexandria and the Virginia Transit Ridership Incentive Program (TRIP). The New DASH Network provides more service during off-peak periods in the West End, Arlandria and the King Street Corridor.
“We are absolutely thrilled to see that the Alexandria community is embracing the first phase of our long-term Alexandria Transit Vision (ATV) Plan,” said DASH General Manager/CEO Josh Baker. “Our shared goal with the City of Alexandria in implementing the ATV Plan is to provide more useful bus service that makes transit a more relevant option for more trips in Alexandria. As we continue to get more people on the bus, the entire Alexandria community benefits from less traffic congestion, reduced parking demand, reduced climate impact, and a better overall quality of life.”
With the introduction of the New DASH Network and free fares on all DASH buses in September 2021, DASH and the City of Alexandria began a new era in public transportation seeking to provide more useful bus service in places where more people could use it. Despite the continuing pandemic, the first six months of the new transit network experienced unprecedented ridership growth with more trips being made with DASH.
For more information on the DASH system and upcoming service change proposals, please visit www.dashbus.com.