Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Analysis of Detroit transit Previous Next
Top of pageBottom of page

Blackhelicopter
Member
Username: Blackhelicopter

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Friday, February 16, 2007 - 2:19 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

From Seattle's Bus Chick who visited Detroit for the Winter Blast:
http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource .com/buschick/archives/111601. asp
quote:

In Seattle, folks tend to be surprised if you use the bus as your primary form of transportation. In Detroit, they are surprised if you use the bus at all.


(Full disclosure -- Bus Chick is family).

IMO, even though Seattle's transit situation needs a lot of work (light rail won't exist until 2009, there are terrible traffic jams every day, not enough HOV / bus only lanes), Detroit area residents and businesses would benefit tremendously from a system that could attain the reliability and coverage of Seattle's.

My feeling is that improvements to DDOT / SMART such as posting the bus #'s on the stops, posting schedules at most stops, being on time, are possible without asking for large amounts of money (route coverage is a different matter).

Bus Chick lists some issues that have led to the status quo, but in terms of moving forward, I don't have a good feeling about why some of these basic things (like adding bus route #'s to the bus stop signs) continue to be neglected.

Ideas on this last thing (especially from anyone who works at DDOT / SMART)?
Top of pageBottom of page

Jams
Member
Username: Jams

Post Number: 4780
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, February 16, 2007 - 7:25 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Agreed!

Even at the terminus in Capital Park and major transfer points, unless you've spent some time watching where the buses load you've no idea where to wait for a specific bus.
Top of pageBottom of page

Livernoisyard
Member
Username: Livernoisyard

Post Number: 2557
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Friday, February 16, 2007 - 7:46 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Even at the terminus in Capital Park and major transfer points, unless you've spent some time watching where the buses load you've no idea where to wait for a specific bus.


Duh! Why not ask the DDOT official sitting in her little hut at Capital Park? Are they agoraphobic?
Top of pageBottom of page

Blackhelicopter
Member
Username: Blackhelicopter

Post Number: 5
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Friday, February 16, 2007 - 9:11 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Just to be concrete, the picture of the stop at the following link shows the route #'s -- routes 77,73, and 373 service the stop in this picture:
http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource .com/buschick/archives/111226. asp

Asking for help from DDOT or other folks is a good idea -- I've done that on several occasions on visits to Detroit, and that has helped work around the lack of signage. That doesn't address the case where there is no one close by (from DDOT or otherwise), which is the most common case.

In the Seattle area, every single stop lists the bus routes that stop there (Vancouver, BC does this as well), so when you transfer, it's easy to know if you can catch the next bus at the current stop, or some other nearby stop. It also makes it easier to learn the system -- you build up a memory of where certain bus routes cross just from seeing the signs during normal usage.

While growing up in Detroit, we used the bus only as a backup (e.g. car in the shop), so I didn't learn to use a transit system until I moved to the Seattle area. I took for granted that I could always go to where I thought the stop was located, and if it didn't list the bus route I was looking for, I knew that I was at the wrong stop.

When I came home to visit, the lack of route #'s caught me off guard -- I assumed they were a minimum requirement in order to make the bus system usable, especially for out of town visitors.

Anyway, I consider this low hanging fruit. There is certainly a cost to labeling and maintaining the signs when service changes. But it doesn't require a huge capital investment and makes the system an order of magnitude easier to use and more welcoming to newbies. This and a few other relatively inexpensive improvements would have a very noticeable impact on ridership IMO.
Top of pageBottom of page

Iheartthed
Member
Username: Iheartthed

Post Number: 394
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Friday, February 16, 2007 - 10:18 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think pretty much every efficient transit system lists the buses that service the stop somewhere at the stop itself.
Top of pageBottom of page

Planner_727
Member
Username: Planner_727

Post Number: 83
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Friday, February 16, 2007 - 2:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

CATA in Lansing does so... they also list the route path and approximate stop times at many of the stops. It is infinitely helpful. For SMART, many of the routes are single anyway, so you'd kind of have to plan to use them, but still, I agree that the numbering coupled with working on reliabliltiy might go a long way. Any other typee of system that is built will still need a level of support from the SMART/DDOT system.
Top of pageBottom of page

Apbest
Member
Username: Apbest

Post Number: 422
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Friday, February 16, 2007 - 3:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

CATA is a great system...Im an MSU student and I think DDOT/SMART could learn alot from them
Top of pageBottom of page

Royce
Member
Username: Royce

Post Number: 2064
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 5:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've heard a lot of arguments for mass transit(subway or light rail) here in Detroit. My question has always been,"Who's gonna ride?" I say this because I was driving back from the post office today and asked myself, "Why would I take mass transit?" I know that I would not have taken it to go to the post office.

I realized that there are only a few instances when I would find mass transit useful. One would be to go to a sporting event like a Tigers, Red Wings, or Lions game. The second would be to go to work downtown if I had a job downtown. The third would be to go to the airport. That's it.

These things I would do every blue moon, so, I wouldn't be contributing a lot to the maintenance of this system. Therefore, how does a mass transit system benefit me?
Top of pageBottom of page

Citylover
Member
Username: Citylover

Post Number: 2150
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 6:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pb cs.dll/article?AID=/20070216/M ETRO/702160383/1003
Top of pageBottom of page

Ray
Member
Username: Ray

Post Number: 852
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 7:23 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Royce,

The answer is this. The current built environment is structured around the auto, and there are not many good opportunities for transit. But if we had transit, we would have dense development around the transit and a reformation of our sprawling city into a more compact city, with walkable commercial and residential areas and an economically and ecologically socially just transit system.

Another crucial point: we know someone would ride mass transit because they are already riding the busses. The security gaurds in our building, who happen to be black, spend 2 and occassionally 3 hours EACH WAY commuting to our office by bus from Detroit.

I think it is inhuman to create a system -- as we have done -- where jobs are in distant suburbs, poor people live in the center city, and there is no viable transit option other than to spend 4 to 6 hours a day on a bus for a 6 hour, minimum wage shift. It's morally repugnant. I'm sickened to even live in Michigan are participate in this shameless apartheid. It's a fundamental lack of respect for other people.

I'd like to take the fatass complancent suburban pricks who control the political agenda in this region and force them to spend 3 hours each way to work on a bus, including 40 minutes in the freezing cold waiting for transfers. Oh dear, no time for golf, soccer or snowmobiling when you spend 120 hours a month commuting.


I wish the federal government would declare this situation a human rights violation and order Michigan to fix it. It makes me ill.
Top of pageBottom of page

Tomoh
Member
Username: Tomoh

Post Number: 287
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, February 23, 2007 - 10:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If only someone had a can of spraypaint and a few stencils of numbers....

Bus Chick makes some truthfully critical observations, such as the Trip Planner web site being down, which is a damn shame. Wouldn't be hard (for certain people on this forum at least) to make a much improved web site for bus trip planning in Metro Detroit. But it's also not true that there are no schedules and on main corridors like Woodward, busses come frequently enough that schedules aren't that necessary. Woodward Ave, especially w/in city limits, is a transit corridor, IMHO. But it's sorely lacking the signs and other info markers to let people know this.

Right on, Ray.
Top of pageBottom of page

Trainman
Member
Username: Trainman

Post Number: 341
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Monday, February 26, 2007 - 7:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Soon my web pages will be updated to reflect the many changes that took place since the Livonia Opt Out and how we can all learn and benefit from this mistake.

The real purpose of mass transit is compassion to help others and to increase the quality of life for all.

Mass transit needs to be for everyone and can be in metro Detroit.

Mass transit will work in metro Detroit and benefit all, if we all put our hearts and mind in it and think about others and not ourselves.

Imagine, all the lonely people coming together and connecting both DDOT and SMART together in peace. And, connecting the suburbs and the city of Detroit into one without merging.

Imagine, Detroit and Livonia working together and setting an example for all to follow.

It can and will happen, if you support my updated web pages (coming soon) to teach the public the real, true purpose and meaning of public bus service and mass transit.

Please post comments on how we need to bring Livonia back here. So, I can do more to improve and educate the public.

Also, I want to have public debates on this with MDOT, SEMCOG, SMART, DDOT and all the transit advocates on television.

One of the topics of the series of debates is "How do we bring SMART back to Livonia?".
Top of pageBottom of page

Upinottawa
Member
Username: Upinottawa

Post Number: 757
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Monday, February 26, 2007 - 7:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Quote (Trainman):The real purpose of mass transit is compassion to help others and to increase the quality of life for all.


Actually, the main purpose of public transit is to move people efficiently and effectively. It is sad that so many Americans view public transit as essentially a necessary evil for the poor....
Top of pageBottom of page

Schulzte1
Member
Username: Schulzte1

Post Number: 44
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Monday, February 26, 2007 - 8:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Government in this state will never have the money or the political will to get the money to develop a fully functioning mass transit system that connects most of Detroit and suburbs. A good place to start however would be a link between Metro Airport and Downtown. Find some federal dollars and build a Metro to Downtown light rail link like St. Louis did, and then expand the system from there, when the money comes available. You've got to have a way for visitors to get downtown more efficiently.
Top of pageBottom of page

Charlottepaul
Member
Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 569
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, February 26, 2007 - 8:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Not necessarily true Schulzte1. Once the inner ring suburbs realize that they have a lot more in common with the City of Detroit than the outer ring suburbs, there will begin to be a lot more pull towards regional cooperation. When this will happen, we do not know, but never say never.

Agreed that the most important rail line in the metro area is between the airport and downtown. Won't help too many commuters, but it will encourage more events for Detroit.
Top of pageBottom of page

Upinottawa
Member
Username: Upinottawa

Post Number: 758
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 8:20 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Airport to Downtown should be second on the list. Number one priority should be light rail in the Woodward corridor. Woodward has the greatest potential for transit oriented development.
Top of pageBottom of page

Professorscott
Member
Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 222
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 10:26 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Upinottawa is correct, but the Ann Arbor to Detroit corridor study is far enough along that SEMCOG feels justified in starting a pilot service in order to gauge demand. Woodward is on everybody's radar.
Top of pageBottom of page

Mdoyle
Member
Username: Mdoyle

Post Number: 36
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 10:31 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Tomoh; I like the way you think. Perhaps we should go guerrilla to help improve the transit system.
Top of pageBottom of page

Upinottawa
Member
Username: Upinottawa

Post Number: 759
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 10:55 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

With respect to trip planners, I remember hearing that Portland was going to use Google for its trip planner service. Could Metro Detroit not get on that bus (I know, bad pun)?
Top of pageBottom of page

Professorscott
Member
Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 223
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 11:09 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Did Portland actually do this? Does it work?

It would be interesting if Google could have, in general, two varieties of trip planner: the "I'm going to drive" trip planner and the "I'm not going to drive" trip planner.

Of course, most destinations in the US aren't reachable in the latter case, but many parts of urbanized places are reachable. One parameter you'd have to specify is how far you are willing to walk.
Top of pageBottom of page

Danindc
Member
Username: Danindc

Post Number: 2187
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 11:18 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've found the Washington Metro trip planner to be *very* useful:

http://rideguide.wmata.com
Top of pageBottom of page

Malcovemagnesia
Member
Username: Malcovemagnesia

Post Number: 13
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 11:19 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Having a method to track buses (estimated time of the next arrival at your stop) would be incredibly helpful.

San Fran has such a system in place for their electric (trolley) buses, the streetcars and even the cable car lines. I can easily look up e.t.a.'s using a web interface on my mobile phone and it's just an incredible way to not waste time waiting at the stop.
Top of pageBottom of page

Professorscott
Member
Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 224
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 11:27 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In many cities the trunk-line transit services (such as subways) have an electronic display giving such info. I believe the Metro Airport People Mover has such a thing. I've never seen such a thing at an ordinary bus stop though. Perhaps such a thing could be put at the transit centers?

Another idea would be a web site or something you could access from your cell phone or PDA. Give the stop number and bus route, and it could tell you the ETA.
Top of pageBottom of page

Detroitplanner
Member
Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 1029
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 11:50 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

AATA has such a GPS-based system that will allow you to track buses by cellphone, pda, or home computer. Check it out at www.theride.org
Top of pageBottom of page

Professorscott
Member
Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 225
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 12:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wow!
Top of pageBottom of page

Upinottawa
Member
Username: Upinottawa

Post Number: 761
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 3:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The bus stops in Salzburg, Austria have electronic displays informing passengers when the next bus will arrive.

Actually, there was even a bus stop in downtown London, Ontario that had such an electronic display (I am not sure if it is still there).

Ottawa's OCtranspo has an excellent travel planner: http://www.octranspo.com/tps/j not/startEN.oci

Add Your Message Here
Posting is currently disabled in this topic. Contact your discussion moderator for more information.