A bus service that connects Ann Arbor, Detroit and now Dearborn provided by the University of Michigan is expanding their service first started in 2013 to seven days a week, as well as opening it up to the general public.
It’s called the Detroit Connector.
According to press information, the bus service starting nextw week includes the Central Campus Transit Center (CCTC) in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan Detroit Center, and now, new service to the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Service hours will be extended to include Fridays and and Saturdays beginning at 7 a.m. and running until 1 a.m.
And in a new twist — something very interesting in a transit-deprived region such as ours — the Detroit Connector will open to the general public.
Riders will now be able to make reservations online through their website.
One-way trips cost between $6-$10, depending on what your situation is. If you buy 10 tickets, the price reduces a bit.
There are other ways to get on cheaper. According to the University, Pell Grant students from U-M will be able to ride the Connector for free, with reduced fares available to students and faculty who engage in community service or class activities in Detroit.
The program is operated by Indian Trails and will have newly redesigned buses that have amenities such as WiFi, coach seating, individual climate controls, in-seat AC electrical outlets, onboard restrooms, and bike storage. They’re also wheelchair accessible.
A big thing that Indian Trails learned supporting a similar “AirRide” service between Detroit metro and Ann Arbor is that frequency matters. There are 12 buses per day that are direct to the airport from downtown Ann Arbor and the ride takes about 40-45 minutes. That program, and the Detroit Connector, will operate out of their Michigan Flyer unit.
“Our experience in developing the Michigan Flyer airport shuttle service should prove valuable for the Detroit Connector,” says Chad Cushman, president of Indian Trails. “One key to building ridership is frequency of service. Though not otherwise publicly funded, Michigan Flyer used a one-year, one-time federal grant to help increase its roundtrips between East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit Metro Airport from eight to 12 daily. As a result, passenger volume grew to more than 200,000 per year, ensuring the service was self-supporting.”
The truth is that it’s much easier to get to downtown Ann Arbor than downtown Detroit via mass transit right now, due to metro Detroit’s lack of coordination and investment.
Of course, everything takes money to run. The program is possible through donations, grants and and funding from the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Detroit Center.
Service kicks off on Monday, October 30.