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HiSupporter! Leadership matters. Whether referring to City leadership (aka impact of bankruptcy on DDOT), Regional Transit leadership or otherwise. Read on . . . 

 Tell the RTA what you want in a CEO!

The RTA is selecting a CEO next week.  

Tell them what you want in a transit leader!!

Next week, the Regional Transit Authority board members will select a CEO to lead the region's transit improvements. Who do you think should be running transit for these next critical years?

Is multimodal transit experience most important? Or is working fairly with the entire region most essential? Does the new CEO need experience building public support for a new transit tax?     

Tell the RTA board what you want from the region's transit leader, and let them know you'll be paying attention!

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 What will Detroit Bankruptcy mean for Detroit Bus Service? 

The short answer is that we don’t know for sure, but we have reason to believe there won’t be significant cuts or other changes in the near future.

Here are a few reasons why (download our bankruptcy memo for more details and sources):

  • DDOT buses and equipment were purchased using federal and state funds. The feds would not allow their sale and transferring the assets to another agency would not net the City of Detroit any money. In other words, don’t expect to see DDOT buses on eBay.
  • Federal law provides certain labor protections to transportation employees. DDOT and Detroit People Mover receive financial assistance from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which requires the City to bargain in good faith regarding any changes in working conditions. It appears that even bankruptcy doesn’t affect this.
  • A takeover by SMART or the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is also unlikely, because neither agency wants to take over DDOT’s operational costs, labor costs or pension and health care costs.
  • It is highly unlikely that the City will shut down DDOT because the City has grants and contracts which would continue even if it doesn’t run any buses. Moreover, as long as DDOT provides fixed bus service, federal law requires it must provide paratransit service.

According to Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in a Detroit Free Press video:  

Nothing is going to change at the bus system except that it’s gonna get better. . . . The buses will still run, there will still be pick up. Frankly, we’re at about a 65% on-time rate. Nationwide it’s about 80 or 85 percent. Our goal is to get there and also get the parts that are necessary to get those buses working on time and get enhanced service. . ." 

While Mr. Orr’s words must be taken with a grain of salt, they do give some positive indication of his intent at this time.

The bottom line is that we don’t expect major changes due to the bankruptcy.

Note that doesn’t mean bus service is getting better – in fact right now, timeliness is down, operational costs are up, and DDOT management is in transition. And we haven’t seen an actual plan for short-term or long-term improvements in Detroit’s bus service.

TRU continues to fight for better DDOT bus service as we continue to advocate for a better regional transit system and dedicated funding. If you want to join the fight, contact Ruth Johnson at 313-963-8872 or Ruth@DetroitTransit.org.

Please note: this is our best available information based preliminary research and communications However the situation is always in flux. We welcome more in-depth research and legal analysis. 

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 Help Build Broad Support for Transit Investment:  Volunteer with TRU!

Reminder: TRU staff and volunteers are out at fairs, festivals, farmers markets and other great events talking transit.  We're inviting people to share their opinions on transit improvements and investment with the new RTA, along with sharing important transit information with them.

This work is essential to building the broad public support we need to make major improvements in transit throughout our region.  We've already gotten over 1,000 people to share their ideas and support.  But we need your help to reach over 3,000!  

Come help us!

Contact our Community Engagement Coordinator Mel Selman to find out all the details and opportunities!

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For even more up-to-the-minute updates, videos, articles, and more, make sure to like TRU on our Facebook page:   Support Detroit Transit.  And make sure to add your thoughts and share our posts with your friends!

Please note, I will be out of town much of the next two weeks.  I hope you have a chance to enjoy some vacation too! Thanks,    


PS - You are subscribed to Transportation Riders United's email list. TRU is Detroit's nonprofit transit advocate, dedicated since 1999 to improving bus service, removing barriers to rapid transit, and advocating for smart transportation investments.

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