The Motor City is regrettably behind the times when it comes to public transportation, but that does not mean there is no other way around the city besides personal transportation. From the People Mover in Downtown Detroit to the Smart Bus system, Amtrak and the City of Detroit Buses, you can get to where you need to go, you just need a little help figuring out how to get there.
Detroit Department of Transportation
If you live in Detroit and need public transportation, then you know that there have been some problems with the D DOT, but it seems that with the new administration of Mayor Mike Duggan, changes are underway that are intended to improve service. One of the useful options on the website is a DDOT Trip Plan webpage that will allow you to input a starting location and destination and will output a schedule. The downside is that the page doesn’t seem to with the default browser settings for Chrome and only works with Internet Explorer if you allow both secure and non-secure data to be displayed. In Chrome, just click on the shield in the address bar and allow the loading of the mixed content. You can also download a route schedules from the website, check on fares, handicapped passenger services and find a listing, which is rather large, of locations where bus passes can be purchased in the city.
535 Griswold St. Suite 600
Detroit, MI 48226
SMART bus serves Southeast Michigan and is the only regional bus system in the Detroit area. The service offers 234 buses on 43 routes as well as the SMART Connector Service for senior citizens and those with disabilities who cannot access the normal fixed route system. The Connector service offers door-to-door pickup for those who need the extra assistance, though reservations are required. It is recommended that those needing transportation to a doctor’s office make the reservations six days in advance and all others allow two-day advance booking. Fares are reasonable at only $1 for a one-way ride for seniors and those with disabilities and $4 for all others who cannot access the standard routes. Also with SMART, if you have a question about fares, routes or just about anything else from the service, a call to the customer service line will get you the information you need and the website works and offers a huge amount of information for riders.
Detroit People Mover
535 Griswold, Suite 400
Detroit, MI 48226
All big cities have buses and some have subways, but Detroit has the People Move, which is about the coolest way to get around downtown Detroit. For a fare of only 75 cents, you can ride this elevated train in a circuit to 13 People Mover Stations across the downtown area. Make no mistake, the People Mover is open and running every day. Want to grab some food in Greektown while you are at an event in Cobo? Then hop the people mover. Monthly passes are now $10 and there are annual passes available for $100. If you are the type who moves around the downtown area a lot, these passes can save quite a bit of money. The monthly pass pays for itself after 13 rides and if you move around the downtown area a lot each week, it is the way to go.
11 West Baltimore Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
16121 Michigan Ave.
Dearborn, MI 48126
Getting around Detroit, you can use DDOT or SMART buses, but if you need to go a bit further like Ann Arbor, then it is time to hop on one of the Amtrak trains running out of Detroit and Dearborn. If you need to go further, these two stations can put you on track with any destination in the country. A trip to Ann Arbor from either station is $13 each way, so for $26 you can make the round trip and never have to worry about parking or burning a lot of gas, and it is a lot more relaxing than dealing with some of the drivers along I-94. There is also service north to Pontiac for $12. If you are looking for a way to Chicago for a weekend, then the train is the way to go. For $46 one way, you can head out of Detroit and a few hours later, be in downtown Chicago, never having to drive a car, find a place to park or deal with the traffic in the Windy City.
Award winning freelance writer and photographer Lawrence DiVizio is based in Southeast Michigan and works to convey in words and images the world around us. His work can be found at Examiner.com.