High-speed bus system to link Ann Arbor and Detroit, as precursor to passenger rail

According to an article posted to the Detroit Free Press site this evening, Governor Snyder will announce plans tomorrow to roll out a high-speed bus network which, among other things, will connect Ann Arbor and downtown Detroit. Although it’s not mentioned explicitly in the article, the bus line, which appears to be following the proposed path of our long awaited commuter rail system, would likely stop in Ypsilanti, as well as Metro Airport. Although part of me worries that this might somehow be part of a complex plot to kill the Ann Arbor – Detroit passenger rail line, all indications are that this is a good thing, and a positive step toward regional mass transit. I know I don’t lavish much praise on our Governor, but, given this announcement, and the fact that he’s been able to secure the funding for high-speed rail where his predecessor wasn’t, I’d say that he deserves quite a bit of credit. As much as other things may suck in the State right now, it looks as though there might actually be a reason to be hopeful about mass transit, and that’s a good thing.

Here’s a clip from the Free Press article.

Gov. Rick Snyder will propose building a network of high-speed buses along major roads between Detroit and its suburbs to pave the way for a regional transit system, officials in his administration said this afternoon.

Snyder, in a speech that will lay out his transportation agenda Wednesday afternoon at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, will propose creating rapid-transit bus lines along Woodward and Gratiot avenues from downtown to suburbs, between downtown and Ann Arbor with a stop at Detroit Metro Airport, as well as along M-59 in Macomb and Oakland counties.

The high-speed bus lines would be operated by a new governing board made up of representatives of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties independently of existing transit providers, the Detroit Department of Transportation and SMART, the suburban bus system.

Snyder administration officials said the governor views the plan as way to jump-start a regional transit system in metro Detroit, a long-sought goal that has defied dozens of similar attempts since the 1960s. The rapid-transit system would be operated and funded independently – through a fee on vehicle registrations or similar method voters would be asked to approve – and would provide a road map for the city and suburban bus systems to ultimately work better together if not merge outright…

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8 Comments

  1. Edward
    Posted October 26, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I think this is a good thing. I suppose, however, they could be launching this service just to prove that there’s no demand for the train. Given Snyder’s work to pass the high-speed rail funding, however, I think that’s unlikely. Any idea where the Ypsi stop will be? Will there be a park-and-ride lot on 94?

  2. Tommy
    Posted October 26, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Already is a Park and Ride on I-94 and Huron/Whittaker. Not very large, but could be expanded northward on the otherside of the guard shack or simply move the shack a bit closer to the park and use existing space.

    Funny how if a Democrat wants to do mass transit, complaints arise about taxes subsidizing a big money drain. Republicans, on the other hand, want to charge “a fee” on vehicle registrations or similar method. I can see the airport thing if it runs every half hour (it won’t). I fail to see the value in going to Detroit however.

  3. kjc
    Posted October 26, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    “I fail to see the value in going to Detroit however.”

    huh?

  4. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted October 26, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I’m going to have to agree with kjc on this one. Have you ever gone to Detroit? A trip to the DIA and Traffic Jam & Snug is reason enough. If I didn’t have to drive to Detroit, I’d be there way more often.

  5. Tommy
    Posted October 26, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Let me clarify. Yes I have gone and do go to to Detroit, I have worked in Detroit and I even lived there for about nine months doing an internship in college many many years ago.

    I was thinking of the workday commute, evening activities, and the absolutely horrible public transport system that is in the city.

    By the way TJs is one of my favorite places along with the Majestic (or the Gnome if you go that far back) and Union Street. Throw in dose of Harry’s or the Town Pump before a ballgame.

    Just real hard for me to conceptualize driving to Ypsi to catch a bus, going to the Detroit bus station, catching another bus to the DIA, walking over to TJs or trying to hail a cab there, then getting another bus or cab back to the bus station to catch the bus back to Ypsi to grab a nightcap at Aubree’s or the corner, then driving in my car to my home in the burbs. I can drive to the DIA or the Majestic in 45 minutes. I anticipate a bus, if dropping off at the airport and getting to my ultimate destination at the DIA taking no less than twice that and possible more. And it would cost more too. Just don’t it working.

  6. Eel
    Posted October 26, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I agree that, given how spread out Detroit is, a high-speed bus with one downtown stop probably isn’t too attractive. That, of course, changes once the Woodward streetcar line becomes a reality. Until then, I’ll probably use this bus for trips to the airport, and the Henry Ford.

  7. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted October 26, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    and keep the people mover moving too

  8. Alvaro
    Posted September 28, 2014 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    still waiting

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