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Greetings Supporter. Time to catch up with Detroit area transit issues. Come to TRU's Annual Meeting Jan 27 to learn all the latest!

Plus transit support from City and Federal leaders and a new DDOT Director. Read on . . .

Achieving the Vision: 2014 Annual Meeting on RTA Progress - Jan. 27

TRU envisions all people in greater Detroit with reliable, safe, and affordable access to the places they live, work, and play through a high-quality transit system seamlessly connecting our cities, region, and beyond.

The new Regional Transit Authority is taking key steps towards achieving that. And this could be the critical year for funding it!

Come to TRU's Annual Meeting on Monday, January 27, 6-8pm at the Boll YMCA in downtown Detroit 
to find out:

  • what the RTA has accomplished so far,
  • what leaders plan for 2014, and 
  • your role in building public support for investing in transit!

Free event. Open to all! Refreshments provided.

Please RSVP by Jan 23! Invite friends with our Facebook event.

 New DDOT Director: Dan Dirks 

New Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was (understandably) outraged by the delays in Detroit bus service during last week's bitter cold. As the Detroit News reported, he went out on the streets with a plow driver, noticed crowds at bus stops, and got “so embarrassed and angry for the people who were standing out trying to get to work in sub-zero weather for hours at a time.”

He used that opportunity to announce he was bringing on a new DDOT Director. On Friday, the Mayor's office announced "Mayor Duggan Names Dan Dirks as DDOT Director."  

"Dirks brings 25 years of local and national experience in public transportation and served as General Manager of SMART from 1998-2007.

In his role as DDOT Director, Dirks will coordinate the city’s overall transportation services, including DDOT, the Detroit People Mover and M-1 Rail. . .

“A reliable public transportation system is critical to our efforts to keep Detroiters in Detroit and to make it a welcoming place for visitors and for new businesses to locate,” Duggan said. . . .

Dirks said he was thrilled to be offered the position and looks forward to coming home to Detroit and developing a top-notch transit system. 

“I look forward to collaborating with the employees of DDOT on an action plan to turn this bus system around and make it a quality service.

DDOT has been managed by MV Transportation since August 2013 . . . with Paul Toliver as the director. He will now report to Dirks for the duration of the MV contract, which ends in September 2014.

"Dirks is expected to begin work on January 15th."

Now, Mayor Duggan and Mr. Orr, make sure you give the new Director the funds and the authority to provide quality bus service!

 Federal and City Focus on Jobs and Transportation at Event Today

I was pleased to be invited by the White House and Focus: HOPE to participate in a small group roundtable discussion on jobs and transportation this morning. The group included Mayor Duggan, US Transportation Secretary Foxx, US Labor Secretary, the CEO of Magna, the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, officials from MDOT, Ford, and several others.

Hosted by Focus: HOPE, much of the conversation focused on the gap between job openings in the skilled trades and the training job seekers are getting.

I used the opportunity to thank Mayor Duggan for his recognition of the DDOT crisis and his commitment to achieve on-time service within six months. He replied that he's the last person who needs to be told how important bus service is and reiterated his commitment to real improvement.

I also thanked the Obama Administration for their commitment to supporting Detroit area transit and urged them to keep it up. In his closing remarks, Secretary Foxx committed to doing just that. He said the whole administation was strongly invested in Detroit and in transit and we could continue to expect their support.

I'm pleased that we have such strong support at the City and federal levels. Now let's hold them to it!

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 Website Troubles and Overhaul    

Sincere apologies to anyone who has tried to use our website over the past month or two. Our website has been hacked several times - we have lost substantial information and inappropriate ads have been inserted into our content. 

We are actively working to overhaul our website and will have an excellent new site up in the next month. Thanks for your patience.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions or suggestions. Thanks!

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TRU has reestablished a Twitter account, @DetroitTransit. Follow us for more frequent news and insights!  

Thanks,    

                      Megan

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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