DASH will soon be free — but you should check schedules, call your employer

If you use the DASH system, it’s a good time to double-check your schedules and possibly change some of your withholdings before next month.

Starting Sept. 5, DASH will not only drastically change their schedules, but it will also drop all ridership fees. Yes — DASH will be free.

DASH Assistant General Manager Raymond Mui said the route changes are part of a reimagination of DASH’s goals for ridership.

The system has been centered around “folks who take transit and use DASH to get to a Monday-to-Friday, 9-to-5 job,” Mui said. ”That’s what the majority of the system was designed to do, and what it was good at doing.”

But he said the system was not great at providing services for those who want to use DASH outside of just going to work. That changes Sept. 5.

“The new network will introduce services, many of which will be high-frequency, high-capacity, many of which will be offering services of every 30 minutes, every 15 minutes, or more frequently, essentially all day for much of the week,” Mui said.

The goal is to allow more people to take advantage of the system for errand running, social outings and the like.

Some of the major transit corridors across the city that will see those more frequent busses include: Old Town, Arlandria, Potomac Yard, Parkfairfax, the West End and the King Street corridor.

According to Alexandra Transit Company DASH data, more than 60,000 additional Alexandria residents will gain access to high-frequency service, and the accessibility for the city’s low-income residents will go from 29% to over 72%.

Thanks to $1.5 million from the Alexandria City Council, the DASH buses will be able to run for free.

If you have DASH passes, use them now. They all expire Sept. 4, and unused or partially used passes will not be refunded.

If you have enrolled in the SmartBenefits program through WMATA, now is the time to talk to your employer’s administrator. You will need to take steps to discontinue the deduction of money you were automatically having deposited to DASH passes in the past.

“It likely is passively still occurring in the background if it’s already set up,” Mui said.

Finally, Mui said, once the changes kick in Sept. 5, everyone needs to pack a little patience on their trips.

“It will be very different; it will require a bit of getting used to,” Mui said. “We do expect some bumps.”

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2021 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up