DETROIT — According to a new LawnStarter study, Detroit falls at the bottom of the list of the best cities to live in without a car. Out of 150 cities, Detroit was ranked 125.
“If you ask any Detroiter, they will tell you that you need to have a car,” said Donald Stuckey, who himself does not own a car.
He is not alone in feeling this way. Both Stuckey and Patty Fedewa live in Detroit without a car, and both say getting around is challenging. Especially when it comes to taking the bus.
“The frequencies of the buses isn’t good enough, and each bus tends to be more local so that way, what happens is you just move slower cause you’re making stops along the way, i think we need more express routes,” said Fedewa.
“Faster routes, that have less connections, those are all the things that we need in order to allow people to get access,” said Stuckey.
Megan Owens, executive director of Transportation Riders United, a non-profit dedicated to bettering public transpiration, says the big issue comes down to funding.
“In 2016 there was a transit ballot measure that went on the ballot that would have doubled our investment in the region, that would have expanded transit into a lot more places, run more frequently, connect better to the airport and it was very narrowly defeated,” said Owens.
Owens does acknowledge some progress has been made over time, even with the lack of funding.
“When smart started running their fast buses, seamlessly connecting up and down Woodward, Gratiot, Michigan, ridership almost doubled because it became so easy,” said Owens.
Owens also points to improved technology, like apps to find bus times and pay for tickets. For example, information online on SMART FAST ride services or Dart offering a way to pay for SMART, DDOT and QLINE streetcar services on one platform.
There are also plans for the future, including new $7 million dollar DDOT transit center planned for the old state fairgrounds.
“Things like bike shares, and have electric car charging stations, they are really looking at ways to make it easier get round in this in this region,” said Owens.
For Patty Fedewa, she worries moving the current transit center could disrupt current routes.
“I think they are small steps, but it is the big steps that i think we need to make,” said Fedewa.
Owens says she hopes something can be voted on again, but it wouldn’t be until Fall of 2022.