How Detroit is filling the temporarily filling paratransit system void

City Council voted not to go forward with Transdev last year

DETROIT – At the end of 2022, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan promised a temporary fix after City Council failed to approve a new contract on a paratransit system.

We are following the details of this transit system for you because, for so many, every detail matter as rides many of us take for granted, like getting to a doctor’s appointment, church, or seeing friends, which are vital to Detroit’s disabled.

The city provided those rides, which were contracted with a company called Transdev. Riders say the vans were dirty, or the drivers were disrespectful, late, or didn’t show up. City Council voted not to go forward with Transdev.

In an emergency, DDOT took much of the ridership program in-house. On Tuesday, a progress report ensued as people were getting rides with a focus on customer service.

“To make sure that people feel respected,” said Executive Director of Transit Mikel Oglesby. “To make sure people feel that we understand. That is our main focus to show that we care.”

DDOT took January and February to stabilize the important transportation system so many have complained about.

About 90% of those rides are on-time, better than Transdev’s performance. When there have been issues, the system’s manager has driven out to solve those problems himself.

Personal attention to detail is what riders say was lacking, with customer service reps dealing with those who need rides saying they are treating callers like it was their family member who needed a ride.

“We are actually helping out our grandmothers, aunts, cousins here in the City of Detroit,” said Coral Ellington. “It’s a great way to give back and help everybody out. We’re helping them get to where they need to go just enjoy their lives.”

Read: Detroit mayor uses emergency powers so paratransit system doesn’t see massive cuts

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.