The Alexandria Transit Company (ATC) Board of Directors approved the elimination of the add value option aboard DASH buses effective April 1, 2015, at its monthly Board meeting this past Monday. This bold initiative will make the DASH system the first in our region to take the process of adding value to a SmarTrip® card off of the bus.
I’ve heard from readers that there’s been quite a bit of confusion among passengers about this. You see, WMATA allows riders to carry a negative balance on the SmarTrip® card to pay for trips on Metrorail and Metrobus. Many local transit agencies like ATC do not let riders do that. This often causes delays during boarding on the buses.
“The original goal of the SmarTrip® program was to speed boarding and reduce dwell times. Unfortunately, the on board add value component has actually increased dwell times and negatively affected reliability and on-time performance,” stated Sandy Modell, DASH’s General Manager. “I believe that our riders overall will be pleased with this change.”
By eliminating the add value function on the bus, riders will experience a more convenient ride on DASH with less hassle, ease in boarding, and reliable departures and arrivals. ATC is starting a The Plan Ahead…Pay it Forward Campaign will provide many useful tools for riders to learn about the numerous ways that they can add value to your SmarTrip® Card without the need of adding it on the bus.
The Plan Ahead…Pay it Forward initiative will include a comprehensive marketing and education campaign that will focus on transitioning riders as seamlessly as possible by educating them as to the many add value locations found off the bus. The campaign will include a significant education piece that identifies all the add value locations throughout the City and also shows how easy it is to add value online or with your smartphone.
ATC plans to go where the riders are in order to make this initiative a success and promote the benefits that all DASH riders and the system will derive from taking the add value feature off the bus. Community outreach through informational transit fairs at Alexandria Metro Stations, transit centers, and bus stops will be a key component, along with, transit ambassadors who will be riding DASH buses to assist customers during the transition.
Riders can add value to their SmarTrip® Card:
- Online at www.wmata.com/fares/smartrip
- At any Metro Rail Station
- By using the SmarTrip App on a smartphone
- At the Alexandria Transit Store located across from the King Street Metro at 1775-C Duke Street
- At Alexandria CVS/Giant Locations
- At Commuter Stores
In addition to paying with your SmarTrip® Card to ride DASH, riders can always pay the $1.60 fare with cash or use DASH’s deeply discounted, money-saving monthly DASH Pass! The DASH Pass is good for unlimited rides on all DASH buses, on all routes, in any direction, for a full calendar month, and costs only $40. The DASH Pass is available in electronic form for your SmarTrip® Card or in paper form. For details about the DASH Pass, visit this link.