New bus pass system looks to simplify riding in metro Detroit

A number of changes were recently proposed by the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) to make riding the bus throughout metro Detroit easier. 

One of the main challenges for suburban-city bus commuters is transferring between the DDOT and SMART systems. This proposal would eliminate all transfers within its own system and between the two through regional passes.

It would also streamline the types of passes customers can buy to include a 4-hour, 24-hour, week- and month-long that begin at the first time of use. Prices will range from $2 to $70 with significant discounts for students and senior citizens. 

"Our working relationship with DDOT has never been better and we hope to continue to collaborate on projects that will benefit our riders and drivers as well as our both of our agencies," says John C. Hertel, general manager of SMART, in a press release. "With the elimination of the transfer fare, riders will be the biggest winners with an easier and improved riding experience."

The transit systems are also looking to make purchasing and using the passes easier through integration of mobile devices and offering more locations for customers to buy one. DDOT is also looking to add self-serve ticket vending machines at select locations. 

According to DDOT, these changes will be implemented gradually and be completed by 2019. 
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Aaron Mondry is a Detroit-based freelance writer. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter @AaronMondry.