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DASH implements new boarding and stroller changes

Starting today (Monday), Alexandria’s DASH bus network is going through some changes to how riders board buses and how strollers can be used.

While passengers before could only enter buses through the front doors, DASH is changing its policy for riders to be able to use either door.

“When it is safe to do so, riders may board using the front or rear doors,” the bus service said in a release. “Passengers with limited mobility are encouraged to continue using the front of the bus which can be lowered for easier boarding.”

Riders had earlier been encouraged to board using either door as a Covid precaution during the first year of the pandemic, though it changed back to front-boarding last year. Now, with bus fares eliminated, DASH said it’s returning to all-door boarding on all buses.

“The benefits of all-door boarding include easier passenger boarding and reduced dwell time at bus stops, which provides faster, more reliable service,” the release said. “As with the front door, passengers boarding at the rear door are encouraged to allow others to step off the bus before attempting to board. Passengers with mobility devices, or who have difficulty boarding the bus are encouraged to continue using the front of the bus, which has a ramp and can be lowered.”

Another change is allowing strollers to be used on the bus if the ADA-accessible space is not in use. Previously, all strollers had to be folded and stowed upon boarding. Under the new guidelines:

If ADA accessible seating is not in use, strollers are permitted in this space without being folded or stowed as long as the wheels are locked, the child is properly secured in the stroller seat, the parent or guardian maintains control of the stroller, and the aisle is not blocked.

The release said the change was guided by input from riders.

“It’s important that DASH service continues evolving to meet the needs of our community,” DASH Planning and Marketing Director Martin Barna said in the release. “Allowing strollers to be used during trips and opening all doors for boarding will improve our riders’ overall experience and encourage more people to consider using DASH.”

The changes come as DASH is starting to see ridership rebound from low figures during Covid and an omicron-related slump in January.

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