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Detroit's Department of Transportation said Wednesday eligible bus riders with disabilities, seniors 65 years of age and older and Medicare recipients will be able to get reduced fares for four years instead of two.

Dan Dirks, DDOT director, said the system's Reduced Fare Cards will now be valid for four years, beginning April 1. Under the program, eligible passengers will be able to ride the system's fixed route services for 50 cents per trip, which is a third of the regular fare. Currently, those riders must renew their card every two years.

“Our purpose as a transit agency is to serve passengers who often don’t have any other transportation options, especially our elderly residents and those with disabilities,” Dirks said in a statement. “We worked very closely with our advisory committee and the Senior Citizen/Disabled Local Advisory Committee  to come up with a process that makes it easier for them to access reliable public transportation and to do so more affordably.”

Last year, 2,852 applicants were approved for the reduced fare program.

Card holders with permanent mobility disability certification, such as someone who is legally blind, will be able to renew their card without medical verification, Dirks said.

In addition, he said DDOT drivers will honor SMART reduced fare cards on the city's fixed routes. Riders who show their SMART reduced fare card will also pay DDOT's $0.50 reduced fare.

Detroit's transit agency has also improved the process for applying for a reduced fare card, Dirks said.

Riders can download a copy of the two-page reduced fare application at www.RideDetroitTransit.com, complete it and mail it with the $1 processing fee to DDOT-Reduced Fares, 1301 E. Warren Ave.– Rom 106, Detroit MI, 48207.

Applications are also available at the following locations:

-- DDOT's Main Office, 1301 E. Warren Ave., from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays.

-- The Northwest Activities Center, 18100 Meyers, from 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Mondays.

--  Butzel Family Center, 7737 Kercheval, from 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Tuesdays.

--  The Rosa Parks Transit Center, 360 Michigan Ave., from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays.

“DDOT is providing a much higher level of service with added routes and security,” Dirks said.  “All Detroiters deserve to be able to access this service, and these changes will help to make sure that those who need it most can access it.”

cramirez@detroitnews.com

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