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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Panorama City/Van Nuys

Expanded Amtrak, DASH Service to Begin Today

October 21, 1998|HOLLY EDWARDS

An expanded Van Nuys Amtrak and Metrolink station will be dedicated and a new Downtown Area Short Hop (DASH) shuttle service linking Panorama City and Van Nuys will begin operation this morning.

State and city funding totaling $5.5 million paid for the expansion and renovation of the Van Nuys Amtrak and Metrolink Station at 7724 Van Nuys Blvd., said Los Angeles Department of Transportation spokesman Phil Akre. The station serves more than 250 daily commuters who travel downtown, to government and commercial centers in Van Nuys or to Santa Barbara.

The DASH shuttle service, one of five in the Valley, will provide low-cost connections between Panorama City and Van Nuys schools, libraries, post offices, government centers and shopping centers.

DASH will be free in its first week of operation; the regular fare will be 25 cents per trip. Seniors, disabled people and children ages 4 and under ride free any time.

Four DASH mini-buses, with a capacity of 25 passengers, will operate Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The buses will run in both directions on the 9.3-mile route and will make stops every 30 minutes.

The LADOT targeted Panorama City and Van Nuys for the new DASH service because low income communities in the city generally need more public transportation services, Akre said.

"It's quite a trick to charm someone out of a Lexus or a Mercedes," he said. "A rule of transit is that you'll probably do better where people don't have as many cars."

City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski said the Amtrak, Metrolink and DASH services are part of the city's efforts to reduce air pollution and freeway congestion.

"The rail station offers commuters a real alternative to driving their automobile and the new DASH buses are fueled with clean burning propane," she said.

For more information about DASH, call 808-2273, and for more information about Metrolink, call 808-5465. No area codes are required for these numbers. For more information about Amtrak services, call (800) 523-8720.

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