The City of Grand Rapids’ Downtown Area Shuttle – or DASH – will launch expanded service that features later hours, weekend rides and more convenient routes all for free and with a new look starting Monday, Aug. 27.
The weekend service is a first for the DASH, which has operated in downtown Grand Rapids for 20 years. Late-night rides also will be available, with service until 1 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Pickups are scheduled to take place every eight minutes during operational hours at multiple stops along two DASH routes: DASH West and DASH North. All routes will continue to be free and do not require a ticket or pass.
The changes are aimed at increasing ridership and accessibility, said Josh Naramore, manager of the City’s Mobile GR-Parking Services Department.
“With later hours and weekend service, the DASH becomes accessible to second-shift workers and more downtown visitors and residents,” Naramore said. “This makes it easier for people coming downtown for a night out or to run errands to park once and ride.”
The new operational hours for DASH West and North are:
- — Monday through Wednesday, 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (expanded by a half-hour)
- — Thursday and Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. (three hours)
- — Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. (new service)
- — Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (new service)
Routes have been shifted and expanded slightly, and stops have been reconfigured to include more popular downtown destinations. DASH West will provide access to the West Side, Monroe Center and Heartside. Points of interest on this route include David D. Hunting YMCA, Kendall College of Art & Design, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Van Andel Arena and Bridge Street Market. DASH North will service Creston, City Center and Medical Mile. Points of interest on this route include DeVos Place, Downtown Market, Founders Brewing, Spectrum Health and Belknap Park.
Along with expanded service hours and routes, the DASH also will have a new look.
“We wanted to update the DASH brand to something playful and approachable but still distinctive and recognizable. That’s how we landed on a bright pink bus,” Naramore said. “You won’t be able to miss it.”
With these improvements, the Mobile GR team hopes to double DASH ridership within the next year, resulting in 60,000 monthly users.
“It’s a lofty goal, but I think it’s achievable,” Naramore said. “Real success for us would be seeing transportation via the DASH become a cultural norm in Grand Rapids.”
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