Detroit mayor to use emergency powers to salvage transit for disabled residents

The mayor of Detroit vowed Monday to use his executive power to keep public transportation available for disabled riders after the city council failed to approve full service after Dec. 30.

Separately, the Biden administration warned Detroit that it was violating federal law by failing to fully fund the service, known as paratransit, The Detroit News first reported.

"Paratransit is an integral part of DDOT's transit system that eligible riders with disabilities depend on to travel to work, educational opportunities, medical appointments and other daily activities," wrote Kelley Brookins, a regional administrator at the Federal Transit Administration.

The city council recently turned down a five-year, $49 million contract with Transdev, a French company accused of inconsistent service.

RELATED: Paratransit in Detroit in limbo after council rejects $49M contract

As a result, city officials said they soon won't accept reservations for the new year unless it's an urgent medical need, reducing service by 70% - from 1,000 rides a day to 300.

"I'm not going to let the disabled of this city be stranded on Jan. 1," Mayor Mike Duggan said. "I will be exercising emergency powers to put emergency contracts in place to protect our most vulnerable at risk. ... We'll take action in the next 48 hours."