University

U. of Mich. shuttle expands to daily service

Posted on October 23, 2017

Rendering of the newly redesigned Detroit Connector bus. Credit: University of Michigan
Rendering of the newly redesigned Detroit Connector bus. Credit: University of Michigan

The Detroit Connector, a University of Michigan bus service connecting the Ann Arbor campus to the city of Detroit, will begin providing service seven days a week, starting Monday, October 30, to U-M faculty, staff, students, and for the first time, the general public.

Bus stops will include the Central Campus Transit Center in Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Detroit Center, and for the first time, University of Michigan-Dearborn. The Detroit Connector will also include expanded service hours, including Fridays and Saturdays beginning as early as 7 a.m. and concluding at 1 a.m.

“The University of Michigan is deeply committed to creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus environment,” says Robert Sellers, Vice Provost for Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer. “The Detroit Connector helps us break down existing barriers and better connect the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Detroit communities. By expanding service and opening it to the public, the Detroit Connector can improve access to the region’s numerous research, academic and cultural opportunities.”

In support of the expanded service (previously offered four days a week), riders will now be able to make reservations online, with one-way trips ranging between $6-$10. Pell Grant students from U-M will be able to ride the Connector for free, with reduced fares available to students and faculty who engage in community service or class activities in Detroit.

Indian Trails, the Detroit Connector’s bus provider since 2014, will shift daily operations to its Michigan Flyer division, which currently supports a similar service, called AirRide, between Ann Arbor and Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

“Our experience in developing the Michigan Flyer airport shuttle service should prove valuable for the Detroit Connector,” says Chad Cushman, president of Indian Trails. “One key to building ridership is frequency of service. Though not otherwise publicly funded, Michigan Flyer used a one-year, one-time federal grant to help increase its roundtrips between East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit Metro Airport from eight to 12 daily. As a result, passenger volume grew to more than 200,000 per year, ensuring the service was self-supporting.”

Detroit Connector buses are wheelchair accessible and include amenities such as WiFi, coach seating, individual climate controls, in-seat AC electrical outlets, onboard restrooms, and bike storage.

Founded in 2013, the Detroit Connector has operated over the past four years through grants, donations, and funding by the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Detroit Center.

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