Friday, February 7, 2014

Adventures in Finding DDOT Bus Passes

Last Fall, 2 Women 4 Wheels researched locations that sell SMART bus passes. We found that SMART services 75 communities in Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb Counties. And in those 75 communities, there are only 20 places that sell bus passes. Only 20! What made it worse was that bus passes were rarely sold after business hours at many of the locations. We found this to be absolutely absurd and a real disservice to transit users including us. (Read the original post here.) 

The research led us to investigate locations where DDOT, which only services the city of Detroit, sells bus passes. Naturally, we started at DDOT’s website. We found 58 locations listed on the site that sell bus passes in the city. 58!!! Compared to SMART bus, DDOT definitely gets a gold star for having more locations to buy a bus pass.

But… wait… not all of the locations listed actually sell bus passes. Yes, that’s right. Unfortunately, when we visited the Lobby Store in Cadillac Tower, which was listed on DDOT’s website, we found that they hadn't sold bus passes in a few years.

Then we headed to the CVS Pharmacy on Woodward, which was also listed on DDOT’s website. All of the stores sell weekly and monthly bus passes, which is great but in our case, we needed the $10 pass, so we can pay for bus rides as we go. Unfortunately, CVS Pharmacy doesn’t sell those bus passes.

That led us to the Rosa Parks Transit Center, where we found this machine (see picture). Unlike SMART, DDOT has caught up with the 21st century and has a machine available as long the Transit Center is open.  It was really easy to use, too. For $10, we received a bus pass valued at $10. When we asked a security guard how late people can purchase bus passes, he replied until the Transit Center closes around midnight. Midnight!!! Well beyond normal business hours. Thank you DDOT! (We should also note that we met a police office at the Rose Parks Transit Center, who is familiar with our blog, and is willing to teach a bike safety workshop. Stay tuned for that adventure!)

Key “take aways” from our research:
  • It’s way too much of a challenge to get a bus pass
  • SMART needs to sell bus passes at more venues and during non-business hours
  • DDOT needs to update their website with locations that actually sell their bus passes
  • CVS Pharmacies should sell all the DDOT bus passes including the $10 pass
  • We need one universal transit pass (please make this happen Regional Transit Authority)
What do you think? Leave a comment below.