Detroit’s Proposed Bus Cut-backs

Car, Bus, trainI’ve ridden the buses all over all my life.  It’s still often a cruel bus system.  Most of the drivers are fine.  They seem pleasant and hard-working enough.  I’ve seen riders yell at drivers and give them grief.  I don’t like to see that.

I’ve only had a few bad experiences with drivers.  I’ve been intentionally passed by when I’m standing at a proper bus stop.  I’ve been given a transfer with the wrong date or time.  When this happens I’ve had to pay two fares instead of one as the transfers taken as “no good.”  There are rare exceptions.

I think that the buses run far better than they did at the worst.  There’s been some real improvement.  There’s a new Rosa Parks Transit Center in downtown Detroit. 

It’s rare that I have major problems dealing with our  bus system.  It’s often unpredictable.  I often wait for 45 minutes to an hour yet that happens less often than it used to.

Yet serious problems is what I’d have if they went through with the proposed service cutbacks:

http://www.freep.com/article/20090813/NEWS01/908130446/1320/Bing–End-all-bus-runs-on-Sundays

I ride the buses on the weekends.  I work Saturdays.  I’d hate to see them cut weekend hours.  If they cut Sunday service, I couldn’t go visit my parents, friends and siblings unless I walked, hitchhiked or talked someone into giving me a ride.  Maybe I’d be forced to ride a bike.  It’d be a long ride. 

Aside: (I’ve nothing against biking.  It’s been years since I’ve done so and I’m open to it.  I’m just a little paranoid about getting hit by cars, dogs etc.  I’ve never had a car or a driver’s license).

The city of Detroit has suffered due to the decline of the auto industry.  Yet there are plenty of other reasons we’re in trouble.  These include bad decisions, corruption, thievery, yes there was some of that as well.

The economy here was in bad shape long before the rest of the country caught up to us.  If the bus system must suffer (even for a short while), we’ll probably end up with route cuts.  fare increases and pay cuts/concessions for DOT workers. 

All of these are bad, but to me, drastic route cuts are the worst.  I’d rather the buses come once every two hours than not to run at all.  If they ran less often but ran on time, one could just try to get there a bit early.

For more of my thoughts and observations as a longtime bus rider, you can click on to my 2005 piece for the on line magazine the detroiter:

http://www.thedetroiter.com/apr05/busstory.html

SIX REASONS NOT TO CUT BACK ON DETROIT BUS SERVICE:

1. Disruption in bus service badly hurts those who are poor, homeless unemployed, handicapped or elderly.  Aren’t these people we should try to help?  To make their lives easier not harder?

2. If people can’t get to work, they’ll lose their jobs.  People still work on the weekends.

3. If people can’t bus to stores and to events in Detroit, they’ll spend more money in the suburbs and less in the city.  People will have to forgo Detroit events such as the Concert of Colors and the downtown festivals.

4. It would make it more difficult to visit family and friends.  Sometimes you don’t have the time and energy to go visiting during the week.

5. Having less bus service on weekends would limit an entire field of possibilities for leisure time: no way to get to a lot of places.  Isn’t our city meant to be available to be enjoyed by all it’s people, not just those with cars or money for taxicabs?  Why reduce the “quality of life” for a portion of our citizens?

6. Riding buses is better for the environment.  Ten to thirty people riding together creates less pollution.

Let’s hope that all of this is resolved in ways that aren’t too unfair or even brutal.  We will see.

the “Detroit Yes” forum on our bus woes:

http://detroityes.com/mb/showthread.php?t=2053&page=2

a little history:

http://www.detroittransithistory.info/DDOT/DDOT1000-1100fleet.html

DOT Site:

http://www.ci.detroit.mi.us/Departments/DetroitDepartmentofTransportation/tabid/80/Default.aspx

also:

http://cynicalsynapse.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/detroits-mayor-bing-on-the-wrong-bus/

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5 Responses to “Detroit’s Proposed Bus Cut-backs”

  1. Don Handy Says:

    I didn’t drive until I was 29. Then agaun, as I recently told a incredulous co-worker, I lived in Detroit for most of that time, and didn’t really need to.

    There has been talk about building a light-rail system in the area, including one down 16-Mile. This is something I hope happens, as I would be able to take public transportation again. I miss reading books on the bus, as well as the daily interactions with fellow travellers. The only interactions one gets in cars involves road rage, it seems.

    The bus drivers in Detroit were great. I remember waiting an hour or so once for the 7-Mile bus. When it arrived, the driver said that hers was the only bus running that day, so she didn’t charge a fee. It was packed beyond belief, but her cheerful chatter kept everyone civil.

    Every morning I used to have Jessica’s father for a bus-driver. I never let him know that I knew his daughter. She once told me that he only liked classical music, and referred to all other music as “doo-doo music.” Hilarious, that stuck with me. As I pass by a SUV or Jeep or some-such in the parking-lot at work in the morning, in which the young kid is listening to some rocj station, that phrase always passes through my mind.

    Another one of my bus drivers was Martha Reeves’ brother. Some of her luster has faded, since she became a politician. A lot of my heroes have had terrible persoanlities or have made incredibly poor decisions in their daily unteractions, Woody Guthrie, Jack Kerouac and Bob Dylan included. So I must seperate her art from her political career, so what? One would think, however, given the fact that her brother was a DOT employee, that she would be more sensitive to their needs, and fight for them.

    Bikes are much safer if you can ride ’em on the sidewalks, by the way.

  2. Mark Schwing Says:

    8-23-2009

    Merging with Smart might be a good idea.

    There is a Protest Tuesday 8/25 9:15am at the new Rosa Parks Transit Center, maybe I’ll see you there (partly up to the weather).

  3. Detroit’s Mayor Bing: On the Wrong Bus « Cynical Synapse Says:

    […] everyone will like; any choice he makes will be unpopular with someone or other. But, the idea of cutting bus service is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. It’s penny wise and dollar […]

  4. Zeitgeist Alumnus Says:

    “Cold, tired,+ late” Love it Maugre! As a long time practitioner, I can say that biking in the city isn’t so bad, whether on sidewalks or streets, as long as you pay closer attention to what’s going on around you than the humans in cars – who are often seen by me on cell phones or stuffing puffy faces with burgers and soda (and, once, swilling from a 40 oz, what!!??). The trip from North Corridor to Livernois and McNichols can be especially nice going through Virginia and LaSalle Parks; still a little dicey in some neighborhoods, but I’ve never been hassled by folks; just sitting on their stoops or riding their own bikes most people say “Hi” and are generally genial. Been chased by dogs before, but that was up around the Zeitgeist (MLK and 14th area) and once on the eastside by Mt. Olivet cemetary. Biking downtown can be dangerous during regular business hours, but evenings and weekends (and early mornings – that’s when I do a 40 minute tour: the Lodge Service Dr. to Grand River to Cass to Fort to Beaubien to River Walk to St. Aubin to Warren to Third and home again) are strange, like biking through the post-apocalypse. The few people still lingering casting furtive and fearful glances at the whizz of my back-pedalled warning of my approach. As to supporting evidence (though I disagree with the tone of the piece), I give you this: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/opinion/05barlow.html?_r=1

  5. The Detroit Bus System 2013: Adventures become Nightmares | Adventures and Resources Says:

    […] https://maugre22.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/detroits-proposed-bus-cut-backs/ […]

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