Photo by JLaw45 on Flickr.

Alexandria is looking for riders that want to test loading a monthly bus pass on their SmarTrip cards.

Customers would be able to load these $35 passes onto their SmarTrips. Each pass is good for a month of unlimited trips on Alexandria’s DASH, Arlington’s ART, and Fairfax Connector bus services.

The fare on each of these services is $1.50 with SmarTrip (except certain routes, where the pass is good for the first $1.50 of fare), and there’s normally a $0.50 discount on transfers from Metrorail.

Commuters who just use the Virginia bus services would use about 42 one-way trips per month for a cost of $63.00, so this $35 pass is an excellent deal.

Customers relying on both bus and rail transit might also want to use this pass. Like the WMATA regional weekly bus pass, if you transfer from a bus ride on the pass to Metrorail, you will not get a transfer discount. Paying per ride, you’ll pay $40 for the bus segments of trips using SmarTrip (after transfer discounts are tallied), and only $35 for this monthly pass. This is still a good deal.

At first, customers will have to purchase and load their passes at transit stores, CVS and Giant stores in Alexandria. Eventually, Alexandria will add the ability to purchase and load the pass online. A subscription option is in the works.

If you are interested in participating in the pilot program, visit the website announcing the DASH pass program, fill out the application, and fax it to 703–746–5641 or email it to tristan.cunningham at

Michael Perkins blogs about Metro operations and fares, performance parking, and any other government and economics information he finds on the Web. He lives with his wife and two children in Arlington, Virginia.