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Detroiters Rally For End To City Bus Slowdown

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Rev. Charles Williams II, Pastor of Historic King Solomon Baptist Church and Ex. Board member of the community organization the MOSES Project. (WWJ Photo/Pat Sweeting)

Rev. Charles Williams II, Pastor of Historic King Solomon Baptist Church and Ex. Board member of the community organization the MOSES Project. (WWJ Photo/Pat Sweeting)

DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroiters rallying Monday at the Rosa Parks Transit Center called on Mayor Dave Bing to improve DDOT bus service in the Motor City.

Taking part was the Detroit Area Agency on Aging’s Public Policy Manager, Brian White, who said Detroit senior citizens are having to travel further and further for grocery stores and medical care.

White said on-time bus service is a must because senior citizens are frequent targets of criminals and need to avoid lengthy waits for buses to stay safe.  He said winter weather on the way is also a factor.

“If you look over [at] the east coast this past weekend there was over 30 inches of snow in some places. God forbid that that would hit Detroit right now,” said White.

“Where would our seniors be? Where would our students be standing out in 30 inches of snow? How much slower would the bus service be had we had that snowfall?”

White believes the mayor and Detroit City Council are willing to get the job done. He said now they just need to do it.

Mayor Bing said that on any given day up to one-third of Detroit Department of Transportation buses are in the shop.  And while city mechanics maintain that they are under-staffed, management had accused them of a deliberate slowdown.

Henry Gaffney, head of Detroit’s Bus Drivers Union, joined members of the MOSES project alongside bus drivers at Monday’s event.

Gaffney said that the mayor has done nothing to get mechanics the parts they need to get buses rolling.

“The mayor sits back and he sits down there in the political circuit and he talks about it, but they haven’t did anything yet to help the people in the city get from point A to point B,” Gaffney said.

“So, we hope that after this short rally today, that the mayor will finally get up and do something to get the mechanics what they need to move this city forward,” he said.

Earlier this month, Bing said the city’s bus crisis will be resolved within the next 30 days. During a live interview Monday morning on WWJ Newsradio 950, he did indicate that the problem was being addressed. (Hear the interview, here).

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