Detroit’s aging and banged-up bus fleet is about to get a much needed boost.

The seven buses hitting the streets in the next two weeks are being equipped with security cameras inside and out.  All of the new coaches will replace older ones that are far beyond their useful lifespan. Making a younger fleet for the city means more buses can be stay in service instead of being constantly under repair, as many of Detroit’s buses are significantly beyond the normal lifespan for such coaches.

“Today DDOT is taking its first real steps toward providing more reliable, convenient and safe service to our passengers,” said Mayor Mike Duggan.  “It is critical that we provide a quality public transportation system so Detroiters can access the growing number of opportunities occurring in our city.”

Of the 80 new buses set to arrive before Memorial Day, 70 will be standard 40-foot coaches, while arriving in September are the remaining 10 which are longer 60-foot articulated buses that will provide added capacity on the city’s high-ridership routes. After all, 26% of Detroit households to not have a car.

Although it might seem like it’s taken forever to get these new buses, as far as these things go the coaches were delivered in record time.

DDOT new buses Detroit getting new buses

“Because there is such an urgent need for these new buses, we reached out to other transportation agencies across the country that had existing orders for the same model bus we planned to purchase,” said Dan Dirks said.  “Several were kind enough to let us ‘piggy back’ on their orders to move Detroit bus riders to the front of the line.”

The organizations that let Detroit ‘piggy back’ on their order are the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CONNDOT) and the cities of Pittsburgh, PA and Rochester, NY.

“This is a great example of how officials in other states are helping in Detroit’s comeback,” Mayor Duggan said.  “We owe them all a great deal of thanks.”

How are these being paid for? After all, the city just went through bankruptcy.

Well, the first order of 31 buses scheduled to arrive between now and the end of February are being paid for through a $13 million Federal air quality program grant.  49 buses are paid for through a $25 million grant recently awarded by the Obama Administration through the Federal Transit Authority’s Ladders to Opportunity program, will begin arriving in April.  Additionally, The Michigan Department of Transportation is providing the required 20% local matching funds for the grant.

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