No Love For Detroit Bus Riders On Valentine’s Day

DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit bus riders said they were locked out of Mayor Dave Bing’s office on Tuesday when they tried to deliver a Valentine’s Day message.

Transportation Riders United Executive Director Megan Owens said bus riders want to tell the mayor that they love Detroit and they need good transit regardless of the city’s budget crisis.

“It’s outrageous that they’re not solving these problems and they’re not even willing to talk to people,” Owens told WWJ Newsradio 950. “Just two weeks ago (we) requested a meeting with the mayor and we were told he was not available, or, with (Deputy Mayor) Chris Brown, who we met with three months ago, but we were told he was not available.

“On behalf of the bus riders of the community we want to know what the mayor is doing to improve this service,” she said.

Last fall, after news reports of people being stranded at bus stops, Mayor Bing promised improved service within 90 days.

“Well, it’s been 90 days. And, not even has the bus service not gotten better, we’re now hearing that there’s going to be even more cuts,” said Owens.

Owens said she and her group want more information about rumored plans to eliminate some weekend and night service. “How anyone is supposed to get ahead in this community, when they can’t even get around, is outrageous.”

Just last week, the union representing DDOT bus drivers called on city residents to flood the mayor’s office and city council members with phone calls objecting to the planned layoffs of over 160 bus drivers and 60 mechanics. (More on this here).

  • Bob Cowen

    How many millions of dollars and years of committee studies, task forces, presentations and promises will it take to learn our lesson? SMART isn’t smart. And if you thought that SMART was unresponsive, expensive and steeped in politics, wait until you see a Regional Transit Authority. A better solution is to allow entrepreneurs to offer unrestricted transportation services (shuttle, van, taxi, jitney). Social media will very quickly spread the word about who is good and who is not. Low income & seniors can be given vouchers or a BRIDGE type of card. It’s worked elsewhere and well worth a two year test. Put the brakes on a Regional Transit Authority before entwining three or four counties with their layers of politicians into an even bigger SMART type of mess. Tell Lansing and local government to unshackle the free market; you’ll be surprised at how quickly two good things happen: much better service for customers and much lower cost for taxpayers!

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