DETROIT (WWJ) – Metro Detroiters who depend on the SMART bus transit system are dealing with big reductions in service. With route cuts in effect on Monday, buses no longer run to downtown Detroit, except during rush hours.
SMART spokesperson Beth Gibbons said 15 routes have been eliminated on weekdays, with a 22 percent drop in service overall.
Gibbons said SMART lost $12 million in revenue over the past few years, which she said is causing the cuts. She said they’ve been receiving reaction from customers.
“People are finding it difficult for them to find alternatives and so we understand that this is not going to be easy, but otherwise the alternative was further cuts. If we continued to operate the same level of service, we would have had to make larger cuts,” Gibbon said.
Gibbons said most of the cuts are downriver and others are throughout the tri-county area. About 123 SMART employees also lost their jobs due to the cuts.
WWJ Newsradio 950’s Ron Dewey spoke with Detroiter Angela Jones who takes a SMART bus to work in Southfield.
“It’s bad enough they have to wait, and I don’t know what they’re gonna do now … may have to catch a cab or … I don’t know what other options,” she said. “I don’t think that (cutting the routers) was a good idea.”
Cortez Crawley of Southgate commutes to Mt. Clemens for his welding job — an hour-long commute involving two buses. Now, he may need to catch four different buses.
“You know, the bus only goes so far now. It stops … on the borderline of Detroit and like, Lincoln Park I wanna say. Then you have to get off that bus and catch a DDOT bus to go downtown,” Crawley said. “From there I don’t even know what bus I’ll have to catch!”
Crawley said the changes are making it more difficult for people like himself to get to work, and, in some cases, to keep their jobs.
Find out more information on the cuts here.