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Bus route connecting Ann Arbor and Detroit set to launch this year

Inside a Michigan Flyer bus, which will be operating the bus service with the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan.
Inside a Michigan Flyer bus, which will be operating the bus service with the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan. (Credit: Michigan Flyer)

ANN ARBOR – During a public hearing at the Ann Arbor District Library on Wednesday evening, the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan revealed plans for its new pilot bus service directly connecting Ann Arbor and Detroit.

Led by RTA General Manager Matt Webb, the project was generally well-received by members of the public, of which about two dozen shared their thoughts on the new route.

The service will be operated by the RTA and Michigan Flyer in partnership with the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide).

The trip will take approximately 60 minutes with minimal stops and will operate between stops at 4th Ave. and William St. in Ann Arbor and Grand Circus Park in Detroit.

“This pilot project directly supports connecting the region’s communities a priority by providing an alternative mobility option for the people of Southeast Michigan to connect both Ann Arbor and Detroit where limited options exist today," said Webb.

RTA General Manager Matt Webb leads a presentation on the new Ann Arbor-Detroit bus service at the Ann Arbor District Library on Jan. 8, 2020.
RTA General Manager Matt Webb leads a presentation on the new Ann Arbor-Detroit bus service at the Ann Arbor District Library on Jan. 8, 2020. (Meredith Bruckner)

“We’ve purposely limited the number of stops between the end-to-end service to make the travel time competitive of what it would take to travel that far between the two communities," he added.

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For now, 32 hourly trips are planned Monday through Friday (6 a.m. to 10 p.m.) and eight trips are planned over the weekends (limited hours).

Pricing:

  • One-way trip: $12
  • Tickets reserved at least 15 min. in advance: $10
  • $6 for senior citizens (65+) and persons with disabilities
  • $80 for book of 10 trips (can be used anytime)

Those with disabilities must provide a state-issued disability ID card or a valid disability card from another transit agency. Seniors must also present a valid State of Michigan senior card or photo ID card.

Those who book in advance will be guaranteed a seat. Walk-ons are welcome based on availability and cash will be accepted on the buses.

Amenities on the buses will include:

  • Deluxe seating with arm rests and footrests
  • Individual lighting
  • Climate control
  • Restrooms
  • Wi-Fi
  • USB charging ports
  • Cup holders
  • Overhead storage bins
  • Storage underneath for bikes
Renee Pitter, who commutes from Windsor, Ontario to Ann Arbor every day, said the bus service is "long overdue" during a public hearing on Jan. 8, 2020.
Renee Pitter, who commutes from Windsor, Ontario to Ann Arbor every day, said the bus service is "long overdue" during a public hearing on Jan. 8, 2020. (Meredith Bruckner)

While the public’s reaction to the pilot was positive overall, some did share concerns about the need for more buses on the weekends and extra stops in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

Public comments can be submitted through Jan. 13 via email to info@rtamichigan.org or by calling 313-402-1020.

The RTA Board will evaluate the feedback and propose an updated plan. It hopes the bus service will be up and running in early 2020.


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