Outrage Over SMART Bus Schedule Changes
On October 17, the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) Board of Directors voted to go ahead with their plan to reduce the bus service by 22 percent. They plan to eliminate certain routes and reduce others. Several of the buses that travel through or near the city of Dearborn have also been eliminated.
The routes eliminated on weekdays are: Route 145 (Carlysle), Route 190 (Taylor Flyer), Route 203 (Edsel Ford High School), Route 245 (Cherry Hill) and Route 265.
The routes that are eliminated on Saturdays are: Route 145 (Carlysle), Route 246 (Cherry Hill), Route 250 (Ford Road), Route 265 (Warren Avenue), and Route 140 (Southshore).
The routes terminated on Sundays are: Route 250 (Ford Road) and Route 140 (Southshore). Also, the Route 200 (Michigan Avenue) bus will now transfer to the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) at Fairlane Mall during the hours of 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
These changes are not sitting well with avid SMART bus riders and concerned members of the community. One rider, Andrew Ray, 30, said, “This is ridiculous! How can they afford those fancy new buses that we see on almost a daily bases, but they couldn’t afford to keep the routes we all need going? I live in Detroit and there are times I need to take the 200 Michigan bus out to Greenfield. I can’t take it early in the morning because I have to take care of my ailing parent. I can’t take the evening bus for the same reason. To cut these buses is insane.”
Margaret Horner, 54, is a parent of an HFCC student that takes the bus to and from the college. “My daughter has yet to be absent from school. If they cut these buses and eliminate some routes, she won’t be able to make it on time. Some of the DDOT buses don’t run until after her first class starts. It is a travesty.”
Shai Williams, 25, mother of one and another avid bus rider, simply said, “With all these cuts, it’s a wonder how the city, the buses and everything else runs.”
The changes are scheduled to begin December 12th, 2011. Unless SMART can find some way to fix the $6.5 million shortfall, riders can expect more cuts and layoffs.