Detroit set to roll out new Buses and mobile app for DDOT

DETROIT, MI – In yet of another sign that Detroit is on the way to recovery, at a press conference at DDOT headquarters, Mayor Mike Duggan and DDOT Director Dan Dirks showed off the first of 80 new buses scheduled to be delivered this year.  new buses

The seven buses are being equipped with security cameras inside and out and will hit the streets in the next two weeks.  All of the new coaches will replace older ones that are far beyond their useful lifespan. A much younger fleet means more buses can be stay in service instead of at the repair shop.

“Today DDOT is taking its first real steps toward providing more reliable, convenient and safe service to our passengers,” the Mayor said.  “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 and the remaining 10 are longer 60-foot articulated buses that will provide added capacity on the city’s most heavily traveled routes. Those buses are expected to arrive in September.

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.  Another 49 buses, 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.  The Michigan Department of Transportation is providing the required 20% local matching funds for the grant.

Buses delivered in record time
While new buses usually take two or more years to be manufactured and delivered, Mayor Duggan credited DDOT Director Dan Dirks and his team for finding a way to reduce the wait to less than a year.

“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,” 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 first round of buses is coming from an order placed by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CONNDOT).   The 49 remaining buses will come from CONNDOT as well as 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.”

Mayor Duggan and Director Dirks also unveiled a powerful new tool to help bus riders plan their trips and minimize the time they wait at outdoor bus stops.  The new “DDOT Bus” mobile app provides riders who have smart phones the real-time location, movement and arrival time of the next bus at their stop.

The free app (available for Apple and Android mobile devices through iTunes and Google Play) displays a map showing your location and a bus icon that moves as it approaches your stop with an projected arrival time.  To provide the information, the app uses GPS technology that is on every DDOT bus, said Dirks.

“With frigid temperatures now here, we don’t want our customers to stand outside any longer than absolutely necessary,” said Dirks.  “This new app will let you stay in your home or any other available location until you see the bus about to arrive.  Since we are not yet providing the level of service and keeping the schedule we eventually plan to, this new app will be a great convenience for our customers.”

With the DDOT Bus app on their smart phone, riders will be able to:

•    See what time the next bus will arrive at a specific bus stop
•    Look on a map and see where the bus is in relation to a specific bus stop
•    Tell the route and time the next bus will arrive at a particular bus stop location
•    Plan a trip by seeing which buses and transfers to take to get from one location to another
•    Send comments and suggestions (including pictures) to DDOT to help improve DDOT service

DDOT riders who do not have smart phones can still use the Text My Bus program to find out when their bus will arrive.  This program uses the same GPS technology as the DDOT Bus app to provide the estimated arrival time of the next bus in the form of a text message.  Just text your location (major cross streets) to 50464 and follow the prompts to get your specific route and bus information.

Links to DDOT Bus mobile app

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