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Riding the bus with Mayor Mike Duggan

Posted at 11:32 PM, Feb 05, 2016

We’re hitting the streets with Detroit’s mayor to take you inside a new program 5 years in the making.

For thousands of Detroiters getting to and from work every day just got a whole lot easier. Mayor Mike Duggan is riding together with us, to talk 24-hour bus service.

It's was almost 3:00 am when we boarded the Motor City's newest mode of transportation.

Word that it is up and running is spreading almost as fast as the excitement.

"I'm glad to see that Woodward is running all night again. Yeah, we needed to do that," says Shirley Lee.

Signs of progress seem to be everywhere: transit police on buses, security cameras and, above all, increased service means more opportunity.

"Typically, you don't want to have to schedule life around the bus schedule. You want to be able to live your life," says Ruth Johnson of Transit Riders United.

Johnson has been riding DDOT for decades and knows first hand how badly this was needed.

"Remember the story about Jake Robertson, the 21 mile man who had to walk to the eastside because of the bus schedule," she says. “Onboard cameras and the security officers are doing a great job of lessening incidents, and also showing that if something jumps off there are resources there."

"We won't get huge numbers off the late night shift, but we'll change a lot of lives,” says Mayor Duggan. “A big part of running a quality bus service is to drive down the unemployment rate and give people opportunity."

On the morning of our ride along we also meet Robert Carbin, a cook at a midtown bar restaurant who, until now, has relied on calling his sister or a taxi to get home.

"I was spending $60-$100 a week on cabs," Carbin says.

The initial 3 routes cover Grand River, Woodward and Gratiot. But more routes are in the works and the funding comes from improved planning. There's also been a groundswell of support for this.

"We had a lot of trips with no riders, we cut the least productive trips and put that money into areas that needed 24 hour service," says Mayor Duggan.

Buses are now running on time, with 600,000 riders a week.
Each morning 200 buses are on the road, thanks to a federal grant that provided 80 new state of the art buses.

"We have a city that's growing, we have businesses operating all hours now. It's time we have bus service," says Mayor Duggan.

Students will also find it easier to get to and from late night and early morning classes in a city where 1/3 of people don't have a car.

The rollout is part of a mayoral campaign promise, after the city stopped 24-hour service for 5 long years.

Click here to get more specifics on the city’s bus app along with the routes.