August 14, 2012

Michigan Flyer receives grant

Michigan Flyer was awarded a one-time federal grant of $595,680 to complete the establishment of its new motorcoach route from East Lansing via I-96 and US-23 to Ann Arbor, then to Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) on I-94 and back.

The grant enables the Michigan Flyer to increase from eight to 12 the number of daily round trips originating in East Lansing.

Michigan Flyer began its new route last April, when it formed a public-private partnership with the Ann Arbor Transit Authority to make 12 daily round trips between Ann Arbor and Detroit Metro airport. The service is co-branded as Michigan Flyer and AirRide.

Meanwhile, East Lansing departures have remained at eight per day because passenger volume was insufficient to support 12 on fare box revenue alone. That’s where the grant from the Transportation Community System Preservation (TCSP) program comes in. It will cover 80% of the first-year operating costs to establish the four new round trips. Michigan Flyer will contribute $148,920, or 20%, of first-year operating cost, plus invest $550,000 to purchase one new motorcoach to add to its existing fleet of five.

TCSP grant guidelines give priority consideration to this type of public-private partnership. Michigan Flyer’s application for the TCSP grant was sponsored by the Michigan Department of Transportation, which ranked it third of 18 proposals by Michigan applicants this year.

Michigan Flyer and Indian trails are poised to rapidly implement the new schedule soon after the grant funds are released.

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