Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the city’s bus system was an embarrassment when he took office.
“When I started here, there were days where 40 percent of the buses just didn’t show up,” Duggan says. “We didn’t have enough drivers, we couldn’t repair the buses, the buses were so old they weren’t salvageable. And you had people standing on the corner waiting an hour, hour-and-a-half for a bus. When they showed up, they generally took their frustrations out on the drivers, who were the ones who were showing up for work.”
But Duggan says things are better now. The Detroit Department of Transportation received federal money to buy new buses. Drivers just ratified a new contract that restores most of the pay cuts they took five years ago. And DDOT has hired more drivers. Director Dan Dirks tells WDET’s Pat Batcheller having new buses on the road means having fewer old ones in the shop. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26 President Fred Westbrook also notes improvements, but says there’s room for more, especially when it comes to making sure people aren’t waiting too long for a bus. Click on the audio player above to hear both conversations.