DDOT installing 288 safety barriers amid COVID-19 pandemic

Officials say 185 barriers have been installed as of Thursday

DETROIT – A total of 288 safety barriers are being installed on Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) buses in an initiative to protect the safety and health of bus drivers and passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, according to city officials.

As of Thursday, 185 of the barriers have been installed on buses with the remaining expected to be installed by the first quarter of 2021, said C. Mikel Ogelsby, executive director of transit and Glenn Tolbert, president of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 26.

“We’re excited about the new barriers as part of our ongoing commitment to protect the bus operators and the riders,” Oglesby said. “With robust dialogue and collaboration with the stakeholders, DDOT will continue to improve upon the transit vision while providing safe and clean service.”

According to a press release from the city, the barriers were installed beginning mid-October after Mayor Mike Duggan announced an initiative in June.

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“When I met with bus drivers in March at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of their greatest concerns was a lack of physical protection so we committed to installing these barriers by the end of this year,” Duggan said.  “We consider our bus drivers among our city’s first responders and they deserve to have the protection they need and deserve.”

Additionally, bus drivers staged a work stoppage in October over concerns of safety amid the pandemic. DDOT and ATU Local 26 came to a memorandum of understanding that same month.

Officials said once the project is complete, the barriers will allow passengers to enter the bus from the front, which also a step toward the city resuming fare collection in 2021.

“The barriers are an important piece in resuming fare collection, but not the only piece,” Oglesby said. “We still have to establish a safe way to resume use of the fareboxes, since many people may touch them between fare collection.”

DDOT would like to remind all passengers of the following when riding a DDOT bus:

  • All persons on DDOT buses are required to wear face coverings, completely covering their nose and mouth for the entire time on the coach.
  • With the exception of ADA front-door boarding, all passengers will enter and exit the bus through the rear door.
  • All passengers should remain in the designated area, and no person shall approach the bus Operator while on the bus or cross the barrier at any time while on the coach.
  • All instances of threats or violence will be thoroughly investigated, and DDOT will seek prosecution for these acts, to the fullest extent of the law.

For questions, comments or concerns, customers are encouraged to call customer service at 313-933-1300, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

View more: Wayne County news

About the Author:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.