What is the Detroit Department of Transportation doing to improve bus service post-pandemic?
Many riders are unaware of the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) effort spurred by bus riders and advocates to revise and improve the current DDOT bus system. This strategy is in response to the decline in transit service during the COVID-19 pandemic
As of 2024, DDOT has a total of 37 bus routes. DDOT Reimagined will structure the transit system by organizing routes into three (3) tiers: “Connect 10” are the main routes like Woodward #4, Grand River #3, Gratiot #6”; “Primary Routes” refer to routes like the Dexter #16, Joy #27, Plymouth #38, McNichols #32; and “Neighborhood Routes” like Clairmount #11, Cadillac-Harper #67, Chene #52.
Connect 10 routes will have frequent service every 10 minutes, and 24-hours a day. Primary Routes are routes that feed into the Connect 10 bus lines that currently are an hour and will be reduced to every 30/20 minutes depending on the route with extended evening and improved service on weekends. The same goes for “Neighborhood Routes” which will see more frequent service every 20/30 minutes and extend to 1am ending time. Services will resume at 4am in the mornings, with a gap of only 3 hours with no service as opposed to bus service ending early in the evening either due to schedule limits or lack of available drivers and buses. This schedule change will address complaints that many routes end early at 8pm /10pm, which is a major disservice to evening and weekend workers who experience lack of service following the end of their work shift.
Last summer DDOT facilitated meetings and workshops about DDOT Reimagined. Although the department deployed a mobile meeting bus conducting surveys across several neighborhoods in each of the seven (7) city council districts to reach riders and collect survey input the sessions were poorly attended because the meetings were held during times when most people are at work and families are with their children. Although fliers were distributed to bus riders from transit advocates and organizers, awareness about this project is still unknown by many bus riders.
DDOT Reimagined is now in the third (3rd) review phase by City Council and there is still opportunity for bus riders to offer comments, feedback, ideas, and suggestions to inform the plan and make it equitable – for all neighborhoods bus routes that aren’t showing up on time and have an 1hour wait schedule.
There is a concern about the Conant #12 and Shaefer #46 being eliminated, causing bus riders to walk longer distances to a similar route. This is a major issue for bus riders with disabilities, essential riders’ inability to walk long distances, and also the many riders who are elderly. Several routes will experience new detours that will by-pass traditional neighborhoods, such as the Chicago-Davison, Livernois, and several other routes. However, many routes will keep the same direction and destination point. Regardless, it is very important that we demand transparent public hearings, community presentations, and media coverage of this important process. Riders should advocate for DDOT to schedule meetings to be held at times when essential riders, parents, disabled individuals and advocates, the elderly and students can offer their much-needed input based on their daily riding experience. This will ensure DDOT Reimagined leaves no neighborhood and no rider behind!
To learn more about DDOT Reimagined, review new maps and schedules, please go here: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/e3532909f74d4977abe053fc2305d72e.