Public Transportation in Detroit: Detroit, MI Public Transit Guide

Public Transportation in Detroit

The population of Detroit is almost 680,000 as of 2021, well over half a million people. In fact, there are nearly 5,000 people per square mile. Of the population, current data shows that 7.6% of residents take mass transit to work daily, meaning over 51,000 individuals rely on public transit in Detroit to get to work reliably. With so many people using buses and light rails, Detroit has improved its transit systems over the years. With the following five public transportation options in Detroit, residents are sure to find a reliable option that works for their schedule.

People Mover

People Mover is owned by the City of Detroit and the Detroit Transportation Company. It's Detroit's only fully automated mass transit system. Spanning 2.9 miles through the heart of Detroit's central business district, riders can easily move from hotels, exhibition centers, sports areas, financial institutions, and retail districts in just seven minutes from the two furthest stops. If one rode the People Mover round trip, it would take approximately 15 minutes.

The fleet of 12 driverless vehicles is completely automated and controlled by a computer. People Mover travels at 56mph and dwells at each station for approximately 20 seconds. Because Detroit has a range of weather conditions, each vehicle is climate-controlled for passenger comfort. On average, the People Mover operates 18 hours a day to ensure visitors and residents can get to where they need to go.

Because People Mover vehicles are computer-operated and move on a single-loop track, delays rarely occur. However, a complete team of technicians is on standby to ensure the vehicles are up and running in the event of an error.

People Mover Ticket Costs

  • Children 5 & Under: Free
  • One Way: $0.75
  • Monthly Pass: $10 with a reduced price of $5 for qualified riders

QLine

The QLine is a 6.6-mile circulating streetcar that provides easy transit from downtown Detroit to Midtown, New Center, and the North End. When the QLine opened its doors for passengers in 2017, over 50,000 individuals took a ride in the first week. Currently, 7,140 riders use the QLine daily. The QLine is part of the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT), so anyone with a DART pass can use it to take the streetcar.

The line currently has 12 stops at key destinations throughout Detroit. As a result, those who live, work, or play along the QLine have a reliable mode of transportation. With at least one million riders annually, the QLine helps reduce the number of cars on congested roadways, which improves traffic conditions and commuter times.

QLine Ticket Costs

  • Children 5 & Under: Free
  • 4-Hour DART: $2 with a reduced fare price of $0.50 for qualified riders
  • 24-Hour DART: $5 with a reduced price of $2 for qualified riders
  • 7-Day DART: $22 with a reduced price of $10 for qualified riders
  • 31-Day DART: $70 with a reduced price of $29 for qualified riders
  • QLINE (Only) Monthly: $30

SMART Bus

The SMART Bus was established in 1967 by the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT). It's an extension of the DDOT service, so payment options can be used to cover fares for SMART Bus. Currently, SMART Bus is the only regional provider for transportation across Southeast Michigan. Riders can easily access reliable transportation in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.

Current numbers show at least nine million individuals use SMART Bus annually. With over 45 bus routes and 5,300 stops, studies have shown nearly two million people reside within a ¼ mile radius of a SMART Bus service. These routes provide riders access to more than 67,000 businesses and 850,000 jobs.

Because every SMART Bus has bike racks, riders can securely store their bike during their ride. Powered by biodiesel, the SMART Bus service is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional commuting. Recent studies show 71% of riders use SMART Bus to get to work daily. Of those, 56% of individuals report enjoying this public transit option over driving their own vehicle.

SMART Bus Ticket Costs

  • General (19–64 Years) One Way: $2 (Fixed), $2.50 (Park & Ride), $4 (Connector)
  • Youth (6–18 Years) One Way: $0.50 (Fixed), $1 (Park & Ride), $4 (Connector)
  • Older Adults (65+ Years) & People with Disabilities (One Way): $0.50 (Fixed), $1 (Park & Ride), $1 (Connector)
  • Children (5 & Under) One Way: Free
  • 4-Hour DART: $2 with a reduced fare price of $0.50 for qualified riders
  • 24-Hour DART: $5 with a reduced price of $2 for qualified riders
  • 7-Day DART: $22 with a reduced price of $10 for qualified riders
  • 31-Day DART: $70 with a reduced price of $29 for qualified riders

Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT)

The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) has provided reliable transportation for the residents of Detroit's downtown, suburbs, and neighboring cities since 1922. Over the past several years, the DDOT has expanded its routes from local Detroit neighborhoods to a wider regional service.

At least 85,000 individuals each day rely on the DDOT to get from point A to B. Many individuals use the DDOT to commute to work in the city or the industrial district. Others commute from across the region for personal or medical purposes. The bus schedules are updated four times a year based on current transit demands, one of several measures the DDOT takes to provide efficient service and reduce customers' expected travel times.

DDOT Ticket Costs

  • Children 5 & Under: Free
  • 4-Hour DART: $2 with a reduced fare price of $0.50 for qualified riders
  • 24-Hour DART: $5 with a reduced price of $2 for qualified riders
  • 7-Day DART: $22 with a reduced price of $10 for qualified riders
  • 31-Day DART: $70 with a reduced price of $29 for qualified riders
  • 7-Day DDOT Pass: $17 with a reduced price of $8 for qualified riders
  • 31-Day DDOT Pass: $50 with a reduced price of $17 for qualified riders

MoGo

MoGo is a bike rental service perfect for any resident or visitor who wants to cruise through the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods rather than walk. Currently, MoGo operates in downtown Detroit, Northwest Detroit, Ferndale, Oak Park, Huntington Woods, Berkley, and Royal Oak.

Originally started in 2012 and significantly expanded in 2015, the bike-share program is more sustainable and eco-friendly than rideshare. The bikes are designed to be adjustable for rider comfort, and options include bikes with electric pedal assist.

Anyone who rents a bike can do so by downloading the MoGo app. The bikes are available for rent 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to anyone 13 or older. Additionally, bikes can be returned to any station, meaning riders don't have to backtrack to their original destination.

MoGo Ticket Costs

  • Pay As You Go Pass: $1 unlock, $0.25/min
  • Prepaid Pass (2 hours): $18
  • Monthly Pass (unlimited 60-minute rides): $20
  • Annual Pass (unlimited 60-minute rides): $90

Get Out & About in Detroit

When it comes to accessible public transportation that is affordable for everyone to take once or daily, the system Detroit has designed is exceptional. Residents can leave their homes and easily get on a bus that takes them into the downtown area. Those exploring things to do around downtown have multiple options for moving from point A to B quickly. With over a 75% on-time arrival between all public transit options, residents and visitors of Detroit can have peace of mind they will usually arrive on time. Combined with the shopping, golfing, and dining options available throughout Detroit, one can't go wrong with spending time in the Motor City.

If you're planning to move to the Detroit metro area, contact The Perna Team of Keller Williams at 248-886-4450 to get in touch with experienced local real estate agents who can help you find your perfect Detroit home today.

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