More and more people are catching rides on Metro Detroit’s mass transit systems, which saw significant jumps in ridership in 2006. The Detroit Department of Transportation
, Suburban Mobility Authority
for Regional Transportation, The People Mover
and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority
all saw ridership increases between 5 to 50 percent.
The number of people riding the People Mover jumped 50 percent, while SMART and DDOT each registered 10.5-percent and 5-percent increases, respectively. AATA ridership jumped 13 percent.
DDOT 2005 = 34,724,028 2006 = 36,488,952 (+5%)
SMART 2005 = 10,176,391 2006 = 11,251,836 (+10.5%)
People Mover 2005 = 1,558,646 2006 = 2,340,511 (+50%)
AATA 2005 = 4,856,895 2006 = 5,488,317 (+13%)
"They’re all fairly significant climbs," said Janet Foran, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Overall, people riding mass transit in Michigan jumped 8.4 percent in 2006 to 93.1 million rides. The state’s seven urban transportation systems accounted for 78 million rides. DDOT and SMART provided slightly more than half of the total number of rides in the state, or 47.9 million.
"Public transportation is a critical factor in providing mobility to Michigan residents," says Kirk T. Steudle, the state’s transportation director. "We attribute the rising numbers to several factors, including the ever-present issue of higher (and fluctuating) gas prices and effective local marketing efforts in larger, urban areas such as Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor."
Southeast Michigan, long dependent solely on buses for mass transit, is also working on two projects to diversify mass transit options by the end of the year. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
is planning to establish a commuter train line connecting Detroit, Dearborn, Metro Airport, Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor by the end of year. Ann Arbor-area leaders are also working to get another commuter rail line up and running north from the city into Livingston County along the U.S. 23 corridor by June. Source: Janet Foran, spokeswoman for MDOT