SMART adjusts bus services due to coronavirus outbreak

Expect free fares, reduced frequency of service

This sign signals a stop for riders of Metro Detroit's SMART bus system. (WDIV/

SMART bus services are continuing to operate during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Michigan, but changes are being made to their routes and protocols.

Beginning March 17 the SMART Downtown Transit Center and Royal Oak Transit Center will be closed until further notice.

  • Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, SMART will reduce fixed route services.
  • Hours of service will be similar to weekday routes.
  • Frequency of service will be lower than typical weekday service.
  • Many routes will be based on current Saturday or weekday schedules.

Meanwhile, SMART bus services are offering free fares on all services to limit passengers’ interaction with fareboxes and to maintain greater distance from drivers. Free services include Fixed Route, FAST, Connector, Shuttles, Dial-A-Ride and ADA until further notice.

Though services are continuing, fixed route bus service reductions will occur soon due to a decline in ridership, SMART said. The reduced bus service will maintain existing routes and similar hours of service with a reduced frequency, according to officials. SMART will notify the public with details prior to reducing service on their website here.

Passengers boarding and deboarding Fixed Route and FAST service will only be allowed through the rear door with the exception of wheelchair passengers and others who require the bus to kneel. These individuals can board and deboard through the front door. All ADA rules and guidelines will still apply during this time, SMART said.

SMART is also increasing cleaning efforts and deploying “bus cleaning teams” at key layover locations to sanitize high touch areas on the vehicles, officials said. Employees will continue their nightly cleaning routines in addition to more frequent cleaning to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Patrons can contact customer service with questions or to schedule rides for Connector and ADA services at 866-962-5515. Phone lines will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.


About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.