People Mover service resumes; free rides Friday
Detroit — The city's People Mover resumed full service to four of its trains by Friday evening.
The first train began picking up passengers at 3:30 p.m. The second, third and fourth trains were operational by 7:45 p.m., according to officials.
Rides on the People Mover are free until 2 a.m. Saturday from all stations as service resumes after a shutdown late Thursday. The closing occurred when a bracket connecting a pair of train cars dislodged, causing the car to scrape the side of a station and shear off the door.
The Detroit Department of Transportation provided free shuttle service from each station Friday until service was fully restored.
"We thank our patrons for their patience," said Ericka Alexander, spokeswoman for the People Mover.
Detroit's Department of Transportation Director Dan Dirks said about 25 to 30 people were on the train when the bracket broke apart.
But Dirks stressed the car came to a complete stop, as it was intended to do, and the riders disembarked from the train "in an orderly fashion" in less than two minutes.
The People Mover transports between 5,000 and 35,000 riders each day.
The shutdown came as the North American International Auto Show continues this week at Cobo Center.
The equipment failure occurred around 10:10 p.m. Thursday as the car was pulling in at the Times Square Station. By 10:30 p.m., all trains and stations were closed so officials could secure the system and begin investigating the problem.
Dirks added that the incident is believed to be the first for the People Mover in two decades. The issues were isolated to one car, which has since been removed from service.
"Our safety record is probably as good as it gets in the country," he said.
"It's something I'm very proud of. ... There's a good team there, they work very hard."
The People Mover system is composed of five trains containing two cars apiece. Officials inspected each car and the track Friday before placing the trains back in service.
Dirks said the People Mover has a built-in device that prevents it from tipping over the guideway in an emergency.
In addition, there's a detailed inspection of the system every month that is monitored closely by the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Sade Vargas of Dearborn Heights paid $4 to park near the Times Square Station on Friday morning to ride the People Mover to her job in the Financial District. She then learned it was closed.
"I'm going to have to call my boss to let her know I'm going to be late," said Vargas, a bartender.
"Hopefully I can get my money (for parking) back."
Detroit News Staff Writer Candice Williams contributed.