DDOT statistics obtained by our allies at Transportation Riders United show that the City of Detroit’s bus system made halting progress in 2014, but still doesn’t get nearly enough buses on the road to run scheduled service.
The statistics show daily morning and evening “pullout” – the number of buses that actually make it out of the city’s garages. They don’t indicate on-time performance.
Mayor Duggan took office in January 2014 with a pledge to get city buses running on time. DDOT pullout showed steady improvement for the first half of the year, surpassing 200 afternoon buses in May. However, it dipped significantly over the summer, to a low of scarcely 170 buses in August afternoons. (The low points on the graph are weekends, when much less service is scheduled.) Over the fall, service gradually improved, and by the close of the year, afternoon pullout was once again hitting 200 with some level of consistency. Continue reading
At Mayor Duggan’s press conference last Thursday in DDOT’s Warren Avenue bus garage, the Freedom Riders’ Regina DuBose was on hand to speak to the needs of the riding public as DDOT unveiled the first seven of 80 brand-new buses scheduled to arrive this year.
DuBose called the buses a “morale booster.” However, they didn’t come quite soon enough for her that day. After waiting for the 53 bus at the corner of Woodward and McNichols, she ended up calling a taxi so she could get to the event on time.
“New buses are nice,” she said afterwards, “but the battle is not over.”
The Mayor reiterated that poor bus service was the number-one complaint he received from citizens. “I have a goal that we are going to run a first-class bus system in the City of Detroit,” he said. “We’re not close to that goal yet, but we’re heading in the right direction. And 2015 is going to be the year that DDOT actually runs bus service according to its published schedules.”
Mark those words, riders. We need to do everything we can to make sure that happens.
This past Saturday’s Detroit Free Press featured an opinion article from Freedom Riders Regina DuBose and Pat Hammer, calling on SMART to restore the city-suburb services eliminated in 2011.
“Imagine that metro Detroit’s freeways were open only six hours a day and closed on weekends,” they ask. (Hard to imagine, we know.) “In effect, this is what SMART bus riders have faced for three years.”
One point in the original piece that didn’t make it into the article: the particular importance of restoring service along the routes designated as priorities by the Regional Transit Authority: Woodward, Gratiot, and Michigan Avenue.
If you’d like to weigh in with the SMART Board of Directors, their next meeting will be Thursday, January 22, 2 pm at SMART offices in the Buhl Building, 535 Griswold, downtown Detroit.