News about public transit in this region typically doesn't draw a positive response
, but this should, especially considering the frigid plunge in temperatures we've experienced in recent days: Over the coming months, the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) will receive 80 new buses to upgrade its antiquated fleet; the first seven are expected to arrive in the next couple of weeks.
"Today, DDOT is taking its first real steps toward providing more reliable, convenient and safe service to our passengers," Mayor Mike Duggan says in a statement.
The city says 10 of the buses from the fresh fleet will be longer, 60-foot articulated buses that provide additional capacity on DDOT's busiest routes. The other 70 will be standard 40-foot buses. The new fleet arrives thanks to a $38 million in federal grants, with the Michigan Department of Transportation kicking in the necessary amount in local matching funds.
Besides that, Duggan and DDOT Director Dan Dirks unveiled a new "DDOT Bus" smartphone app, which will provide real-time locations of buses and the arrival time of a bus at the riders' stop. The app, available on iPhone and Android devices, tracks buses using GPS technology, something every DDOT bus has, according to Dirks.
Those without a smartphone can use DDOT's "Text My Bus" program to find out where their bus is located at any given time. To use that, send a text message that only includes the cross streets of your current location to 50464, and a response will be sent with prompts to get specific information pertaining to routes and buses.