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DASH ridership inching back toward pre-pandemic levels

Electric DASH bus, photo via DASH/Facebook

DASH ridership has been working its way back up toward pre-pandemic levels after a nasty slump caused by COVID-19.

In a monthly newsletter, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson shared some figures for DASH ridership from the months after the city’s new fare-free program and route adjustment was put into place.

  • In October, DASH experienced 256,000 systemwide boardings. This was the highest single month since February of 2020.
  • Total DASH ridership increased by 50% between August and October.
  • Our October ridership represents about 72% of pre-pandemic ridership.
  • West End ridership presently exceeds pre-pandemic volume.

The bus service has hit a few bumps recently. DASH services have also been temporarily scaled back due to a bus operator shortage caused by the widespread omicron variant of COVID-19. Separately, DASH is also working on implementing electric buses, but has found that the buses have difficulty with uneven terrain and have unreliable chargers.

The city is also seeking state funding to make the fare-free program long-term.

“This is an important step forward as we create a transit system that serves more of our community with more efficient and relevant service,” Wilson said. “So far, it looks like it’s working.”

Photo via DASH/Facebook

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