May 14, 2012
The Detroit Department of Transportation announced with big fanfare a new plan which it calls the “415 plan.” It trumpeted the plan as “improving” bus service.
DDOT promises that buses on the 4 busiest bus lines will run every 15 minutes between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Though, that means the other bus routes will run less frequently. And about that “15 minute” guarantee for the 4 busiest routes: That will actually mean worse service. The Woodward bus ran every 8 minutes less than a year ago! And it ran 24 hours a day. No longer! And three more routes are discontinued.
Buses provide the only public transportation in the city, and the only means for many workers to get to and from their jobs. Riders already face wait times of as much as 60 minutes on many routes, and that’s when they run according to schedule! DDOT had completely eliminated 4 routes in the last year and already increased wait times and reduced hours of service on many others.
Students and senior citizens, who once rode for free, now pay $0.75 and $0.50, respectively – each way – a lot of money for low-income households. Now the company managing the system wants to require riders to buy a “stored value card,” adding yet another burden to riding a bus.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has been quite open about his desire to completely privatize the bus system. He already has outsourced its management to a private company. His budget proposal for the next fiscal year includes a nearly 23% cut in the city’s subsidy to DDOT.
Cutting DDOT’s budget is criminal. The cuts already implemented have practically destroyed what bus service previously existed. They have wilfully imposed malicious neglect on this system – in order to justify turning it over to private hands.
Bus riders did not cause Detroit’s financial crisis and should not pay for it. Get the money from the banks and other big corporations who have bled the city dry!