Michigan Department of Natural Resources planning shuttle service on Belle Isle

Riders would be able to park their cars near Scott Fountain and take the shuttle to the aquarium and conservatory, the “Kids Row” playground or the beach.


Belle Isle is working on implementing a shuttle route to reduce traffic congestion on the island. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is assessing bids from companies looking to operate the service.

Scott Pratt, chief of southern field operations for the DNR’s Parks and Recreation department, says the transportation service has been in the works for a few years and it’s “finally coming to fruition.” It would initially run Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.

The goal at first was to get people to the beach because there is limited parking around that area, Pratt says.

“The system was designed for the beach drop-off, but then we figured people might want to stop at these other key areas of the island.”

There will be pickup at the conservatory and aquarium and drop-off at “Kids Row” playground area in addition to the drop-off and pickup at the beach.

“We figured people can park at the paddock area, go enjoy the beautiful Scott Fountain and then if they want to get to other areas of the park, jump on this park system, which is free. And they can get to those areas of the park.”

The service is expected to start in early July after the Grand Prix wraps up on the island.

Pratt says the original vision was that the shuttle would be a trolley but it might end up being a bus.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be a traditional trolley since those are very difficult to find and reserve for like long weekend periods. But we are working with three companies right now that have presented bids to us.”

Karen Dybis first reported on the plans for the transportation service on the island while covering the meeting for Detroit Documenters.

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  • Laura Herberg
    Laura Herberg is a Reporter for 101.9 WDET, telling the stories about people inhabiting the Detroit region and the issues that affect us here.