By Marcus Fernandez
A new ride-share service makes getting around Downtown Tampa convenient, affordable, and environmentally friendly. DASH, which stands for Downtown Area Shared Hubs, allows you to use an app to summon a yellow Tesla Model Y electric vehicle. Uniformed, background-checked drivers operate all vehicles. Hub-to-Hub service costs only $2.
DASH joins other transportation options to make it easier for people to get around the downtown area without relying on their personal vehicles, which only adds to traffic congestion. The following information explains how DASH works and what you need to know to stay safe when using any currently available ride-share options.
What is DASH, and how does it work?
The Tampa Downtown Partnership launched its Downtown Area Shared Hubs or DASH ride-share service on October 12, 2023, with six bright yellow Tesla mid-size electrical vehicles. DASH operates as a hub-to-hub service with 20 virtual hubs located throughout Downtown Tampa.
Riders use a mobile app on their Apple or Android devices to hail a DASH vehicle. The vehicle will take them between hubs for only $2 per person. DASH is a true ride-share that pairs riders for each hub-to-hub trip. Vehicles carry a maximum of four passengers, but you will only be paired with a maximum of two riders for a hub-to-hub trip.
The service complies with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. ADA-compliant vehicles may be summoned through the DASH app for riders with disabilities.
Dash drivers must have clean driving records and pass a background check. Drug screening is part of the vetting process. Once hired, drivers undergo a training course that teaches them safe driving skills. Drivers must know their way around the Downtown area, so a good portion of their training focuses on giving them the knowledge needed to be goodwill ambassadors capable of answering rider questions about Downtown Tampa.
The service operates seven days a week. Monday through Saturday hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Furthermore, DASH does not operate on the following holidays:
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
- New Year’s Day
- Gasparilla Day
Absent hurricanes and other extreme weather conditions that cause local officials to close roads to vehicular traffic, DASH service is available during inclement weather.
Things to know to make your DASH experience more enjoyable
The following are a few rules to know for a hassle-free riding experience using the DASH service:
- Leave pets at home: You cannot bring the family dog or other type of animal along in a DASH vehicle. An exception is available for service animals.
- Children’s car and booster seats: DASH vehicles do not have car seats and booster seats for children. Bring them with you when traveling with children.
- Limited space for bikes: You cannot bring a bicycle or scooter into a DASH vehicle except for a folding bike that fits in the trunk.
- Weapons prohibited: You cannot bring a weapon into a DASH vehicle.
- Payment method: The only way to pay to ride in a DASH vehicle is through the mobile app. Drivers cannot accept cash payments for the fare and are prohibited from taking tips. The mobile app has a rating system for riders to rate a driver.
- Do not wander away from the hub after hailing a ride: Drivers cannot wait more than five minutes for a rider to arrive at a hub location.
- No food or beverages: You cannot enter a DASH vehicle with food or drink.
- Cancellation fees apply: If you book a ride and later decide to cancel, anticipate incurring a cancellation fee.
DASH drivers are trained to call for assistance from the Tampa Police Department to deal with unruly passengers or passengers who refuse to obey the rules for use of the DASH service.
Benefits of using DASH ride-share service
During the first 50 weeks of 2023, Hillsborough County reported 439 motor vehicle crashes caused by drivers whose ability to operate a vehicle was impaired by the use of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both. DASH gives people an alternative to their personal vehicle for getting around Downtown Tampa, especially when their driving ability is impaired.
Folks residing in Downtown Tampa and students attending school at the University of Tampa now have an affordable and convenient option for getting around town. DASH allows tourists and visitors to park their cars and rely on a yellow Tesla with a uniformed driver to take them throughout the downtown area.
Tips for safely using DASH and other ride-share services
News reports of ride-share passengers injured in accidents or becoming victims of robberies and assaults evidence the need for caution when using DASH or any ride-share services. Here are a few tips for staying safe:
- Wait in a safe location: Ensure that you are in a safe, well-lit location while awaiting the arrival of a ride-share vehicle.
- Identify the vehicle and driver: Only board the vehicle confirmed by the ride-share service to ensure your safety. DASH makes it easy to identify their bright yellow vehicles. Uber and Lyft provide you with the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle picking you up. They also provide the name and photo of the driver. DASH drivers and riders have each other’s names and descriptions to use for identification purposes. Do not enter a vehicle without verifying the driver’s identity.
- Ride in the back seat: Seat in the back seat unless there are other passengers that prevent it.
- Buckle up: Always wear a seatbelt and keep it buckled until the vehicle comes to a stop at your destination.
- Don’t ride alone after drinking: DASH and other ride-shares enhance safety, allowing people to avoid impaired driving. Having a companion is safer when you’ve had too much to drink and may lack clarity.
- Trust your instincts: If anything about the ride-share situation makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy, cancel the ride. This includes unsafe driving on the part of the driver.
Report accidents and other issues with the ride to the ride-share company as soon as possible.
Help available from a Tampa personal injury attorney
If you sustain injuries in a ride-share accident, you may have the right to seek compensation for the harm resulting from someone else’s negligence. The Tampa personal injury lawyers at KFB Law can help you pursue a claim for damages. Contact us today for a free consultation.