Detroit’s transit authority (SMART) is taking a unique approach to public transit, with the introduction of a bus-based rapid transit system called FAST . According to SMART spokesperson Beth Gibbons FAST is an  early hit with Detroiters, especially in the key area of getting people out of their cars. She told the Bay Observer: “We are pleased with the results so far.  The first 3-months of service saw an overall 20% ridership increase in the three corridors .  Quite impressive when you consider the service was launched during the middle of the winter.  SMART has traditionally done little advertising regarding specific routes, however, in this case we wanted to be sure people understood that FAST was new, limited-stop, high frequency service with its own brand.  Additionally, to encourage more riders, we are in the process of adding enhanced shelters along the FAST routes that will include solar shelters with real time arrival digital signs, emergency call boxes, USB ports, solar lighting and bus stop beacons to notify drivers of passengers waiting.”

FAST lauched a TV campaign to promote the new service, follow the link (above) to see the no-nonsense way another city promotes public transit…

John Best has had a lengthy media management career, in television and radio and now print. As Vice President, News at CHCH in Hamilton, John oversaw a significant expansion of the news operation. He founded Independent Satellite News, Canada’s only television news service providing national content to Canadian independent TV stations. John is a frequent political commentator on radio and television, a documentary producer and author of a book and numerous articles on historical and political subjects. John is a past recipient of the New York Festival’s award for writing in the International TV category.

3 Comments to: Detroit promoting cutting edge transit with, er… BUSES

  1. jim graham

    May 16th, 2018

    without shutting down their primary shopping district for years in order to accommodate construction?
    Horse feathers.
    Demi will be along presently to tell our friends from Michigan (and moi) how they should have proceeded, how this really isn’t progress at all, that a 20% increase in ridership is some sort of tragic coincidence.

    A shining example, right in our midst.

  2. Marshall

    May 17th, 2018

    Bring on the buses. Just not on the A-Line, which has exposed as a white elephant par excellence. The largest A-Line ridership is at the harbourfront.

    May 16, 2018, A & B Line Amenities – Funds Reallocation (PW18042):

    “Staff has investigated several options for reallocating the funds currently reserved for public art in transit shelters ($50,000) to other initiatives along the A-Line route and provide the following options for consideration: 1. Install 3 Conventional Shelters – Install conventional transit shelters at the following A-Line stops; Upper James at Twenty Road (NE), Airport Road opposite Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (south side) and Upper James at Rymal (NW). Average daily boardings at these stops are 4, 4 and 11 passengers respectively. Estimated cost for shelter structures and associated concrete works are approximately $45,000 and can be completed by Q4 2018.”

    The A-Line — a 60-foot long articulated bus with a capacity of around 120 passengers — makes 24 trips to the airport each weekday and picks up 4 passengers on average during all of those runs. It’s 7km from Rymal to the airport, and the HSR is collecting less than $60 a day from passengers on that run. So 85% of the time, it’s just a ridiculously expensive U-turn. Enough. More people take a single GO bus from the Hunter GO station to Pearson than hop the A-Line to HIA all week.

  3. Jim Gordon

    May 20th, 2018

    “There is a new regional service run by SMART Bus on three of Detroit’s oldest roads: Gratiot, Woodward and Michigan Ave. It is called FAST (Frequent, Affordable, Safe, Transit). Why a regional service? Since SMART and DDOT are two separate bus systems, they require a transfer at the city border. FAST does not! Some SMART buses only go downtown during AM/PM commute times but FAST runs all day long!”

    SMART was running buses on these three corridors 6 hours a day, weekdays only, and FAST increased service to 18 hours a day, plus weekends. Service hours basically tripled and ridership increased 20%.

    “Metro Detroit travelers curious about SMART’s new FAST service will have a chance to test it out next month — free rides are being offered during the first two weeks of January.… The service only stops at official FAST stops, designated with a FAST sign. Fare is $2 one-way [USD $2.60], and transfers are 25 cents.”

    $5 round trips, paid transfers and stops 2km apart? Can’t please everyone… but at least they’re willing to shake things up.


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