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Detroit council members hear bus complaints at community meeting

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DDOT bus (Credit: MyFox Detroit) DDOT bus (Credit: MyFox Detroit)
DETROIT (MyFox Detroit) -

Detroit City Council members heard firsthand Tuesday night what some DDOT bus riders are going through. They say living in Detroit, they have a right to have reliable public transportation.

It may be called the Motor City, but so many residents depend on the bus.

"People are actually losing their jobs because they can't get to work or they can't get to work on time," said Northend Woodward Community Coalition Director Rev. Joan Ross.

As of March, the bus routes were cut back and the complaints went up from many of the more than 100,000 people who ride DDOT's busses. That's according to the Northend Woodward Community Coalition, who started paying attention, collecting more than 1,300 signatures and testimonials from passengers who want their routes restored.

"Not long ago, I waited almost two hours on a Saturday for a Woodward bus," Syri Simpson said in one of those testimonials.

The group is hoping Detroit City Council will help to make that happen. Riders are demanding basic support for better service. Members presented those signatures and spoke out at a community meeting held at the Wayne County Community College Connor Campus.

"To save money, you cut bus service, so you make Detroiters' lives a lot more unmanageable and a lot... harder," one person said at the meeting.

"The Rosa Parks Transit Center with Mrs. Parks name on it, I am very concerned that the transportation system in Detroit live up to that name," another said.

The city believes the cost saving restructuring has improved bus service, especially on the main lines. DDOT even started offering the "Text My Bus" system. Passengers are able to get accurate arrival times for busses via their phones.

However, if you ask some riders, they claim it's not working and at the very least they want the bus system to go back to the way it was previously.

"Since they have not achieved the savings they promised, why can't they go back and provide the services that used to be provided because I don't see any big difference between where they were last year and where they are right now," said Detroit City Council Member JoAnn Watson.

"They've been creative to come up with the text bus information. We're asking to be creative about restoring our buses to us," Ross said.

They're making these complaints just as more changes are expected to take effect on September 29.

This group said it has made a formal complaint with the FTA earlier this summer, but have not yet heard back.

City council was very receptive to everything they were hearing. They hope to have a meeting for residents where DDOT management is present to help answer questions, address concerns and hopefully come up with some ways to make things easier for bus riders.

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