The Derelict State of Detroit’s Buses
“Bus lines, which have a daily ridership of 100,000, have been cut or curtailed in recent years. Aging, poorly maintained buses regularly conk out, leaving remaining ones so overcrowded they often blast through stops without taking on new passengers. Many days, nearly one-third of all buses don't even make it out of their depots because of mechanical or staffing problems, according to transit advocates, union and city officials. The average age of a Detroit bus is 9½ years, the back end of a 12-year life span,” writes Matthew Dolan.
To many in the city of Detroit, transit service is not an alternative form of transportation. “More than one in four households didn't have access to a car in 2012, up five percentage points since 2007,” explains Dolan. And the lack of transit and bus service leaves the labor force with few good options for getting to and from work. “Only 20% of people in the Detroit metropolitan area can reach their job within 90 minutes using public transportation, ranking it 71st among the nation's top 100 metro areas for labor access rate…”
There have been a few signs of improvement for the state of the bus system recently, however, after years of bad news: “In February, the city increased weekend and overnight service on more than a dozen routes. Last week, city officials completed installation of exterior and interior security cameras on 50 buses, with an additional 250 expected by the end of the summer.”