New Regional Fare Passes for Detroit Area Buses Start Today

The Detroit area’s two bus systems, Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), are joining forces today to offer a new regional fare system.

It’s called Dart (which appears to be a portmanteau of DDOT and SMART) and it will offer additional ways to pay for transit. Starting today, 4 Hour, 24 Hour, 7 Day and 31 Day Dart passes are available at regular and reduced fares. Dart passes were created with the intent of streamlining travel, especially for riders who use both systems.

Meta Stange

How is Dart different from what already existed?

Before today, DDOT regular bus fare was $1.50. That has now increased to $2.

Also, before, if you bought a bus ticket on DDOT or SMART you could also purchase a transfer for 25 cents on SMART to transfer to either system, 25 cents on DDOT to transfer to a DDOT bus, or 50 cents on DDOT to transfer to a SMART bus. You could use the transfer ticket on just one additional ride and you couldn’t use it for a return trip on the same route you bought your ticket on. Now, Dart passes allow passengers to take unlimited rides in any direction on both systems within the time limit on the pass, without charging transfers or other fees.

Another thing that’s new with Dart is that it starts when the pass is first used and is good for the duration listed on the pass. This is different from previous passes like the monthly pass that expired when the month ended, regardless of what date the pass was purchased. For example, if you purchased a monthly pass on April 15, you would have had to pay the full price for that pass but it would have expired at the end of the month. Now if you purchase a 31 Day pass on, say, May 15 and then first use it on May 20, the pass will be good until June 20.

How much do Dart passes cost?

For each Dart pass there is a standard fare as well as a reduced fare that is available to seniors, people with disabilities, Medicare cardholders and youth who show valid ID. The regular (and reduced) fares are as follows:

4 Hour: $2 (50 cents reduced)
24 Hour: $5 ($2 reduced)
7-Day: $22 ($10 reduced)
31-Day: $70 ($29 reduced)

Where can I purchase Dart passes?

According to DDOT and SMART’s websites, bus passes should be available in Macomb County at these locations, in Oakland County at these locations, in Wayne County at these locations and in Detroit at these locations. Dart passes are also available online here. 4 Hour and 24 Hour passes can also be purchased on buses while boarding.

What transit systems do Dart passes work on?

Right now, Dart can only be used on SMART and DDOT. Officials from these systems say they are hoping to expand Dart to the QLINE and the People Mover in the near future. It’s unclear if Dart will ever be expanded to Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (The Ride).

Is there an app?

Initially, a mobile fare app was supposed to be available for use starting today. Now, DDOT and SMART officials say that an app should launch this summer.

Can I still get DDOT or SMART-only passes?

Yes. If you will only be riding DDOT you can get the 7 Day DDOT pass ($17, $8 reduced) and the 31 Day DDOT pass ($50, $17 reduced) in person at Rosa Parks Transit Center, 1310 Cass Ave., Detroit; DDOT’s Administrative Building, 1301 E. Warren Ave., Detroit; and select retail establishments (shown here). Other DDOT-only fare cards will no longer be available. The 7 Day DDOT and 31 Day DDOT passes are not available online.

If you only want to ride SMART, all of the previously offered SMART passes are still available. SMART-only passes include a 31 Day Park & Ride pass ($82), 31 Day Full Fixed Route pass ($66), 31 Day pass ($33, $17 reduced). SMART-only passes are available in Macomb County at these locations, in Oakland County at these locations, in Wayne County at these locations and online here.

What if I still have a $10 Value card or a 5 Day DDOT pass that I haven’t used?

These passes will be discontinued as of today but riders can apply the value of these active passes toward a 4 Hour or 24 Hour pass. It’s unclear what date DDOT will stop offering these exchanges. $10 Value cards and 5 Day DDOT passes cannot be exchanged for cash.

Image credit: Meta Stange

Filed Under: #DDOT #transit #SMART #bus
About the Author

Laura Herberg

Community Reporter

Through sound-rich storytelling, Herberg covers stories about the people inhabiting the metro Detroit region and the issues that affect them. Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter 2018 and 2017.

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