Detroit transit system getting $32M for 50 new buses

Charles E. Ramirez and David Shepardson
The Detroit News

Detroit — U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Mayor Mike Duggan on Thursday formally announced Detroit is getting more than $32 millionto buy up to 50 new buses as part of $100 million in grants aimed at helping connect urban and rural Americans with employers.

The agency has awarded Detroit a $25.9 million grant to purchase the new buses and the state’s Department of Transportation is providing matching funds of $6.5 million.

Officials said the new buses will ease overcrowding, reduce wait times and provide more accessible and reliable service.

Foxx made the announcement during a visit to Cass Technical High School in Detroit.He was joined by Duggan and other officials.

“Today is about kids, families, access and jobs,” Foxx said. “It’s about trying to make sure Detroit can work the way the good people of Detroit need it to work. It’s about giving them that ladder of opportunity that will give them a chance to be successful.”

City officials said the grant announced Thursday will be used to buy standard buses, hybrid fuel coaches and longer, articulated buses for higher capacity along major routes.

Duggan said he expects the buses to be put into service next year.

“At some point in 2015 ... people can expect a bus to show up at the time printed on the schedule,” he said. “That’ll be the first time in 20 years you’ll be able to trust the schedule. We’re going to get there.”

Detroit’s Department of Transportation has 421 buses, but 158 of them are 12 years or older, Duggan said.

The city’s bus system serves about 90,000 riders daily and most use it as their primary method of transportation.

“I feel good about the job our bus drivers and maintenance crews are doing at DDOT,” Duggan said. “We just need to get them the equipment they need.”

Duggan said there are no plans to raise the fares for riding a city bus. The fare for adults is $1.50, and it is 75 cents for students. A bus transfer is 25 cents.

Officials announced the grant for city buses at Cass Tech school because many of its students use them to travel between home and school.

San Francisco, Denver and Oklahoma also are getting funds to maintain or expand bus service.

Foxx’s announcement comes about a week after his agency awarded a $12.2 million grant to help finish the 3.3-mile M-1 Rail streetcar line. The $136 million project, a rail system that will run from downtown to Midtown, is scheduled to be completed in late 2016.


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