Detroit expands 24-hour bus service to more lines

The city of Detroit is trying to make getting to and from work easier with a new schedule and more 24-hour routes.

The city announced it will expand another line to 24-hour service, bringing the total routes that run round the clock to ten. To put it in perspective, the city had just six 24-hour routes in 2016.

The newest one is one that needed in the most: Route 17 on 8 Mile.

"That's the fourth busiest route in our system.  We're going to be improving the interval of service. The buses will be coming more often at all times and we're also starting 24-hour service on that route," Neil Greenberg with DDOT said. 

The new 8 Mile service starts on Saturday and will change lives for thousands, so says Megan Owens from Transportation United.

"Having 24 service can be a life changer for people who don't work the traditional 9-5 job. Whether someone is working at a bar or casino, whether they're working at an Amazon distribution centers-where those shifts start at 4am," Owens said.

The city is also starting something new this weekend: every Saturday in the spring and summer will have 'Fresh Wagon' routes. Northwest, Northeast and Southwest stops will have buses that take Detroiters to Eastern market to buy fresh food. Two hours at the market and the buses will take them back to their original stops. 

There's a long way to go but this is a far cry from where the city was just a few years ago.

After the city came out of bankruptcy, the bus budget and the number of rides in Detroit was slashed in half. Rebuilding is good. The staff is getting good marks from Medvis Jackson, who moved back to Detroit from the northeast. 

"The team of people I've dealt with, it's really a B+ attitude," Jackson said. "The Rosedale Express is great but it only runs two to three hours in the morning and two hours in the evening

They're not reinventing the wheel at DDOT. Just trying to make it work better.  And unlike other big cities, their funding source is slim.  

"No one here would claim that this system is what it needs to be. We are improving every day. We are getting a little better every day and we are looking for ways to make bigger improvements and longer term improvements that have a bigger meaning for Detroiters," Greenberg said.