Thursday, May 30, 2013

Things that make you go hmmm: SMART bus pickups in Detroit

This is one of a series of posts that we're working on that only the classic Milli Vanilli song can describe. Going forward, these posts will be referred to as "TTMYGHmmm", which maybe isn't that much shorter but very fun to write.

Back when SMART had their big schedule adjustment that only brought the bus into Detroit weekdays from 6-9am and 3-6pm (It seems like so long ago we enjoyed happy hour and bussing at all times so frivolously!), we noticed another adjustment. I can't totally say for sure it happened at the same time or if it was just when we happened to notice it.

In Detroit, south of Highland Park, when the bus is traveling southbound, it only drops off and doesn't pick up passengers until we reach the northern Midtown area. And the opposite happens going northbound (pick ups only, not drop offs). It also doesn't seem to be communicated clearly anywhere, because almost every time that I'm on the bus, we drive by someone trying to flag it down - and many times at a labeled stop. One time I actually yelled out (bus rider solidarity, yo) - "there was someone at that stop!" and the driver just said "drop-offs only".

I understand that DDOT services this area but why is only this somewhat specific area of Detroit not serviced by SMART? People going both directions have a reason to go in and out of the city, right? This is not a limited route either. Maybe funding-based?! Talk about the ultimate TTMYGHmmm!

I just can't get my head around any sort of logic behind this scheduling. As an accountant and property taxpayer (aka SMART funder) - show me the logic!

Anyone have any thoughts or experience with this?


  1. Very strange indeed! Call SMART and ask!

  2. I've talked to SMART bus driver about this as well, and got the same answer.

    It's a tale of two cities: one bus system that only serves the suburbs and another that only serves the city. Both systems are insufficient for the metropolitan area and are in need of an adjustment.

    However with the city of Detroit in terrible financial straits and the RTA's future implementations in questions, there will be a long wait for standard mass transit that operates like it's suppose to in other cities.

    1. Thanks for asking and for your comment, Derek!

  3. BTW its C&C Music Factory, unfortunately I am old enough to know this. Public transit in Metro Detroit is lacking in so many ways. That is what inspired me to start cycling. I have logged over 6,000 miles in the past 12 months. Thanks for the interesting perspective, keep up the good work.
    ps Are either of you on Twitter?

    1. Hi Josh - thanks for your note! Sorry for our delay in responding. We are on Twitter @2women4wheels. Keep up all your great cycling - 6,000 miles is fantastic!