Detroit Riders Share Their Transit Horror Stories

Detroit’s transit system is in crisis.

Photo: Jeffrey Smith via Flickr
Photo: Jeffrey Smith via Flickr

The region’s fractious transit network was highlighted last year by the story of James Robertson — “Detroit’s walking man” — whose one-way, 23-mile commute consists of two bus routes and 10-plus miles of walking.

The Detroit region has been struggling to create a unified city-suburb regional transit agency for the last few years. Next year voters will be asked to approve a tax increase to ensure transit service in the region functions at a basic level again.

In the meantime, Detroiters who count on transit are suffering. Network blog We Are Mode Shift points to a new site, DitchedbyDDOT, where riders air their grievances. We’ve collected some of the more unbelievable examples below [emphasis ours]:

  • “More than 10, less than 15 people waiting for the Dexter 16, outbound. One says he’s been waiting so long his transfer expired. The bus scheduled to stop rolls past without stopping. It’s 6:15 pm and freezing.”
  • “During the ride, a fellow passenger got an angry call from what I assume was his boss. He pleaded with the man on the phone, saying that he had been waiting on the bus since 5:50 and would be there soon. From the way the other riders nodded their heads, I knew he wasn’t the only one. When the bus dropped me off downtown, the snow on the sidewalk was almost up to the parking meters. I walked the rest of the way to work in the street.”

  • “I waited over an hour for the Woodward going northbound last Friday evening. Absolutely ridiculous to wait over an hour for a bus on the city’s MAIN line, while millions of dollars are being spent on a rail system that won’t even benefit the people that actually NEED the public transportation system. When the bus finally came, guess what happened? It passed us up because it was jammed packed. I had to wait 10 more minutes for another bus to come.
  • “This crazy. Waiting on the crosstown bus for an hour as of right now. The 4:30a & 5:11a didnt show. But three buses went eastbound. So when are they coming back?”
  • “1/6/15 – got to Greektown Casino for 48 Lafayette/VanDyke heading to 8 mile road around 7:00 pm. Scheduled to leave Rosa Parks at 7:00 pm. Never showed! Had to wait for the 8:00 pm. Outside in the freezing cold wind for 1 hour 14 minutes. Woman waiting at bus stop with me for the last 20-25 minutes said, ‘Oh, the 7:00 pm bus rarely ever shows up!!’

Hopefully Detroit area residents give the thumbs up to this tax.

Elsewhere on the Streetsblog Network today: Greater Greater Washington has the scoop on a raised, protected bike lane proposed for C Street in DC. At Seattle Transit Blog, a council member from the eastern suburb of Kirkland makes the case for devoting some of the region’s new transit funding package to a BRT route in his city. And Walkable West Palm Beach explains why you should beware of the innocuous-sounding “clear zones” that engineers try to add to urban streets in the mistaken belief that what’s safer for highways will make everywhere else safer too.

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