Using electronic money will soon get DASH riders a discount

Starting July 1, using electronic payment will reduce DASH bus fare from 50 cents to 35 cents

DASH bus riders who use TAP cards, mobile apps and other electronic payments will pay less under an ordinance the Los Angeles City Council approved Friday.

Starting July 1, using electronic payment will reduce the DASH bus fare from 50 cents to 35 cents. For seniors, the disabled and Medicaid riders, the fee will fall from 25 cents to 15 cents.  The council voted unanimously to reduce the rate, hoping to encourage cash commuters to switch to electronic fare. Currently, 70% of downtown users and 80% of community riders pay with cash, according to an L.A. Department of Transportation report.

DASH buses offer frequent and inexpensive service to downtown Los Angeles and 27 other neighborhoods around the city, including Boyle Heights, Watts, Hollywood, Van Nuys and Crenshaw.

Officials hope that the cheaper fares also will speed up the boarding process and lure more riders. Over the last five years, DASH ridership has dropped by 31%, to 19.6 million. Despite falling ridership, revenue rose to $8.4 million because fares doubled in 13 months. 

Transportation department managers estimated that the rate change could increase ridership up to 12%, which would mean an additional 2.4 million DASH passengers annually. The lower fare would also help low-income and minority communities, managers said.

But if all the current cash commuters take advantage of the cheaper fare and switch to electronic methods, the department would lose $2.1 million a year, according to the report.

"Once implemented, the LADOT will monitor the impacts," Seleta Reynolds, the agency's general manager, said.

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