People Mover train derails near transit center

The Detroit News
A People Mover car stuck at the Times Square station in Detroit.

A Detroit People Mover car left the rail Thursday night, hitting a platform near the Rosa Parks Transit Center, officials said.

There were no injuries. Three people were removed from the car, said John Roach, communication director for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Detroit police were on the scene at the Times Square station of the People Mover. Officers there would not answer questions. Detroit police Sgt. Eren Stephens later said only that "the entire system is not in operation while this matter is being investigated."

Doors to the station were locked and an entrance had a message saying the site was closed. The People Mover operations center Thursday night directed questions to the marketing division. A voice mail message there said the division was closed.

"About 10:15 p.m., one of the cars on the People Mover left the rail (and) impacted the platform at the Times Square station," Roach said.

The People Mover is seen, Thursday evening Jan. 22, 2015, stuck at the Times Square station in Detroit.

Roach said the public transportation system was closed until further notice and an investigation was ongoing. He said a mechanical problem appeared to have contributed to the crash, according to preliminary information from the public transit system, a three-mile system that loops through downtown.

"I can't say for sure if it will be open by morning," he said.

He said DDOT will send buses to (People Mover) stops Friday morning to pick up riders, referring to the Detroit Department of Transportation.

News of the derailing alarmed some city residents.

"I think it shows the People Mover needs repairs," said Larry Williams, who was waiting for a bus at the Rosa Parks Transit Center near the Times Square station.

He said he rides the People Mover once or twice a year, but now "it makes me kind of skeptical about getting on it."

A worker examines the track at the Times Square station in Detroit Thursday Jan. 15, 2015.

The system, which opened in 1987 and was intended as part of a planned regional transit system, operates on a single elevated track in the city's central business district. It is open 6:30 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. on Friday. On weekends, the schedule is 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and noon to midnight on Sunday.

The shutdown comes as the North American International Auto Show ends its run this weekend, which brings tens of thousands of people into the city.