For the first time Alexandria's public transport system, DASH, will service the Rosemont, Del Ray and Lynhaven neighborhoods. This will be one of the results of Alexandria Transit Company approving eight bus route changes.
The company had a consultant examine for two years if changes to DASH's service made sense, said Bill Hurd, chairman of the company's board of directors.
The company was asking "how can we look at these resources and see how we can use them better," said Justin Wilson, a member of the company's board of directors.
Arlington's decision to stop supporting Washington Metro's provision of the 10P and 9B bus routes also contributed to the company's new plans, Wilson said. Metro turned to Alexandria's government and asked if it wished to support all of both routes, which go through Arlington and Alexandria. Instead, the company decided to modify an existing bus route and create a new route to help replace Metro's routes.
"Our hope is that we've crafted some routes that will be more productive than Metro's routes," Wilson said.
On May 24 the company's board of directors voted 5-0 to approve the bus route changes.
According to DASH the changes to take effect on June 25 will be:
• The creation of a new AT10 route to replace portions of the Metrobus 10P route, which is being discontinued. The new route will provide a new connection between King Street Metro Station and Potomac Yard Shopping Center, via Rosemont, Del Ray and Lynhaven,
• The alteration of the AT4 route to replace portions of Metrobus 9B route, which is being discontinued, with a diversion of the AT4 route north to service Slaters Lane,
• The shifting of the AT3 route south, so that it runs on the current AT4 route and not on West and King Streets. Its route on Franklin and Washington Streets will be shifted to St. Asaph and Jefferson Streets,
• The shifting of the AT3-4 loop route south of the Braddock Road Metro Station from West and King Streets to Pendleton Streets,
• The elimination of AT6 service on Eisenhower Avenue,
• The addition of two weekday evening trips to the AT6 route to serve the Northern Virginia Community College,
• The rerouting of all DASH service southbound on Van Dorn Street, south of Pickett Street, to Metro Road,
• The extension of the AT2 service to later in the evening, with an additional trip in each direction.
The last day Metro will provide service on the 10P and 9B routes will be June 23.
THIS IS THE first time that DASH is introducing bus route changes in five or six years, Hurd said. "Once you get the bus routes established you don't want to change them."
The company will also be looking at other routes that it may be able to provide to replace Metro's service, Wilson said.
Asked about DASH's plans to re-configure its AT4 route on Monday, several riders of the Metro's 9A bus were optimistic.
"It's a very good idea for customers," said Abbelkader Elmhader.
A 9A rider who identified himself only as Tom said he was not a fan of Metro, so its replacement by DASH would be OK with him.
Schedules and routes for the new AT10 and AT4 service are already available on line at www.dashbus.com. The other service schedules/routes will be posted by Monday. Printed routes/schedules for the new routes will be available by June 25.
DASH will also be posting notices on its buses and at its bus stops, Hurd said. Riders can also get information by calling DASH at (703) 370-3274.
In other DASH news, the board decided to not increase bus fares currently $1, said Alexandria Transit Company General Manager Sandy Modell. The board had been planning on an increase, Modell said. DASH will also keep its $30 monthly pass and 35 cents Metrorail-to-bus transfer rates.
For comparison, Metro charges $1.25 for most of its buses, $3 for express buses, 60 cents for seniors and people with disabilities and offers 90 cent discounts on transfers from Metro rail to Metro bus.
As of late May ridership on DASH buses was up by 7.3 percent for the year as compared to the same point in last year, said Al Hymes, the company's director of planning and development.
The ridership increase has at least postponed the need to generate more revenue through a fare increase, Modell said.