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SMART (Detroit)


A. Wong
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The next round of Path-related service changes has been schedule for October 5.

https://www.smartbus.org/About/News/october-5th-service-changes

  • The Telegraph route will be split into two - 275 from Southland Mall to Tel-Twelve Mall, and 375 from the Amazon facility at the Silverdome site to the Meijer at Grand River and McNichols.
  • The 462 FAST Woodward will be extended to Great Lakes Crossing along the 753's existing route.
  • The 760 will be extended to Tel-Twelve.
  • The 752 will become the 790 Pontiac Crosstown and will continue east past downtown Pontiac to downtown Auburn Hills, the Silverdome Amazon facility and Oakland University.
  • Instead of Oakland University, the 756 will serve Centerpoint Parkway as the 796.

Additionally, New Flyer XD60 artics will be delivered next spring, purchased from a contract with the commonwealth of Virginia.

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  • 6 months later...

The April 2021 service changes (archived) have occurred:

  • Route 140 was extended on the south end to Southgate Meijer via Eureka and Fort. This also caused Route 250 to have some minor timing changes.
  • Route 160 was revamped, providing service to Detroit River Wildlife International Refuge as well as up Allen and Southfield to the Dearborn Transit Center.
  • Route 200 trips ending at Newburgh/Enterprise were extended to Westland Meijer and renumbered 210. The 200 and 210 are still scheduled together, however.
  • Route 280 was renamed the Western Wayne Crosstown. Service to Amazon was introduced on all trips, as well as service north of Warren Rd up to Grand River (via the 330's former routing), then east to Old Redford Meijer (via the 375's routing).
  • Route 305 was reintroduced, operating from 10 Mile/Haggerty to 7 Mile/Grand River almost via its former routing (exception: no service to West River), then extending down the 375's routing to Old Redford Meijer.
  • Route 330 was discontinued, replaced with the 280 and 305.
  • Route 525 was reintroduced, now from Bel-Air Center to Clinton Township Meijer.
  • Route 567 was discontintinued, with service to the area available as part of the Hall Road microtransit zone instead.
  • The Somerset and Oakland Mall Shuttles were discontinued. Service to those areas is available via the Troy microtransit zone.

Also, since the last posting in here, Microtransit was introduced. It operates daily, 6am to 11pm¹ in three distinct zones around Hall Road, in Troy, and in Dearborn. Before that, the January 2021 service changes were introduced:

  • Route 250 was rerouted to no longer serve Westland Mall, and to serve Ford/Wayne in both directions.
  • Route 494 was rerouted to serve Troy Beaumont (on the Sterling Heights side) and no longer serve the Sterling Heights Target.
  • Route 730 was rerouted off of 10 Mile between Berg and Evergreen, instead following a routing similar to the 400.
  • Routes 255, 530, 620, and 635 were returned to service with two roundtrips per day.
  • Routes 805, 830, and 851 were returned to service with three roundtrips per day.
  • Route 849 was discontinued, parts of its routing rolled into the 851.

¹ The app itself lists 10pm as the end time if you book after hours, but a quick test at 10:24p shows trips as still available.

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1 hour ago, ShadowFoxNixill said:

The April 2021 service changes (archived) have occurred:

  • A new Route 305 was created, operating from 10 Mile/Haggerty to 7 Mile/Grand River almost via the 330's former routing (exception: no service to West River), then extending down the 375's routing to Old Redford Meijer.

Route 305, like the 525, is also a revival of a previously-discontinued route, though this incarnation does not serve downtown.

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1 minute ago, 160 Downriver said:

Route 305, like the 525, is also a revival of a previously-discontinued route, though this incarnation does not serve downtown.

I didn't include that because of all the differences between the 2011 305 and the 2021 305; come to think of it, maybe I should've said the same about the 525.

If I remember correctly, in 2011 both the 305 and 525 of the time ran during a single peak hours in a single direction only, both routes in 2021 share one endpoint with the route of their 2011 versions, and the routing in between that and the (closer of the) other endpoint is mostly similar though not precisely the same. I guess I could conscionably call them revivals of those routes rather than new routes with the same names and numbers. I'll correct my post.

(Also, both routes' 2011 versions are vastly different from the versions whose maps are now on the CPTDB wiki.)

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3 hours ago, MaT said:

Any updates on the artic deliveries?

They will be placed into service in May. The order will be evenly split between the terminals, and each terminal will assign half to FAST and half to local service.

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On 4/14/2021 at 2:56 PM, 160 Downriver said:

The order will be evenly split between the terminals, and each terminal will assign half to FAST and half to local service.

I sure hope they're strategic on how they use the artics.

Honestly, I'd rather see all of them dedicated to the handful of lines that need them.

In that scenario, the artics can make a meaningful operational difference. It could lead the way to other improvements (off-board fare collection, for instance. Now that fares are being collected again, all can see how p a i n f u l l y   s    l     o       w   it is.)

The artics won't make much of an impact if they're randomly mingled with the cramped, miserable Gilligs on major routes.

Plus, what local routes even need artics? Wayne is going to put them on the 140? Macomb is going to use them on the 615?

On a related note, supposedly this order was piggybacked from a Commonwealth of Virginia blanket order. Yet I cannot figure out who's buying New Flyer artics in Virginia. Any ideas?

 

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On 4/16/2021 at 10:27 AM, niatrans10 said:

Blacksburg got XE60's last year

Saw one on my visit to the area earlier this month. Glad to see them running in a place like Blacksburg. Might be good for campus service.

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On 4/16/2021 at 10:27 AM, niatrans10 said:

Blacksburg got XE60's last year

The only others I can think of who could use artics are DASH (since their ex-Bee Line Neoplans seem to be doing well there) and maybe, maybe the GRTC given how much of a success their Pulse BRT has been. Everyone else is not quite there yet - Fairfax Connector, HRT, and maybe CTS/UTS in Charlottesville. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/14/2021 at 10:44 PM, MaT said:

So i guess some have already arrived?  Any pics yet?

No pics yet, but reports of ~8 XD60 units on site at Oakland.

As of now:

  • They are completely white with no paint scheme (they must be planning to wrap them rather than paint, as they've done with Gilligs for FAST)
  • Only markings visible are small black vehicle number decals (they're numbered in the 4000s)
  • Framed, black aluminum window sashes with no black trim paint between the windows
  • Three doors -- the two back doors are extra-wide with full-height, one-piece window panels
  • Rear window!!
  • Rear destination sign (route number)

High hopes for these buses. Anything other than Gillig is an absolute breath of fresh air.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/14/2021 at 11:11 AM, MaT said:

Any updates on the artic deliveries?

None to be seen at Oakland Terminal as of my last visit about three weeks ago. Some of them were delivered there prior, so I suppose they were taken offsite for something. Maybe for wrapping?

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3 hours ago, Hothoops9000 said:

Can someone explain the situation between DDOT and SMART?

DDOT provides local service in Detroit city limits -- generally with tight coverage, extensive service spans (sometimes 24/7) and relatively frequent headways.

SMART provides service in the suburbs -- at greatly reduced levels compared to DDOT. Sparse coverage, limited service hours, weak headways. With a handful of exceptions, SMART routes run hourly or worse.

SMART also provides some "regional" service to link the city and the suburbs (FAST, commuter routes).

City and suburbs have vastly different demands and landscapes for transit service.

As of 2019, there is a unified fare system for SMART and DDOT -- so transferring between the systems is not difficult.

 

3 hours ago, Hothoops9000 said:

And why there’s two Transit Agencies instead of one?

This is not unique to Detroit area.

One could ask the same questions of Chicagoland, DC, Los Angeles, South Florida, San Francisco Bay, Minneapolis-St Paul, most Canadian metro areas.

In fact, very few large metro areas only have 'one' transit agency. RTD in Denver, MBTA in Boston, SEPTA in Philly... only a few other examples.

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7 hours ago, Hothoops9000 said:

And why there’s two Transit Agencies instead of one?

Each cities/regions transit agency came about in a unique way. Some agencies like DDOT are directly ran by the city. MCTS in Milwaukee is ran by the county. LA Metro is also a county run operation, but many cities opt out and run their own system. Some areas have regional authorities that include several nearby cities/counties.

In America, public transit agencies came about for the most part 40-75 years ago as private operators of public transit could no longer turn a profit. So, the leaders at the time had to consider their specific local/state laws and find a funding source that everybody could agree on to create the agencies we know today.

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17 minutes ago, orionbuslover said:

Each cities/regions transit agency came about in a unique way. Some agencies like DDOT are directly ran by the city. MCTS in Milwaukee is ran by the county. LA Metro is also a county run operation, but many cities opt out and run their own system.

Yes!

To split hairs a bit, MCTS and LA Metro aren't technically run by the county. In the case of MCTS, it's a county-level system -- and operations are contracted out to a private non-profit company.

In the case of LA Metro, it is an independent public agency. Its boundaries are the same as Los Angeles County, but it's its own agency -- and not a direct county function.

Contrast to, say, Seattle (King County Metro) or Miami (Miami-Dade Transit)... where the transit systems actually are direct county functions, managed and operated by county employees.

 

17 minutes ago, orionbuslover said:

In America, public transit agencies came about for the most part 40-75 years ago as private operators of public transit could no longer turn a profit. So, the leaders at the time had to consider their specific local/state laws and find a funding source that everybody could agree on to create the agencies we know today.

 

Yep. In SMART's case, it was created by state legislation (as SEMTA) in 1967 -- nearly 50 years after urban transit service had already been established in Detroit proper. SEMTA did not have any concept of funding or sustaining or improving urban transit service, so the City maintained its own transit operation. Then as now, the transit needs are much, much different in the city than they are in the suburbs.

Many states enacted similar legislation at the time, which led to other regional transit authorities around the US. They have varying relationships with "central city" providers that almost always predate them.

 

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20 minutes ago, Border City Transit said:

Yes!

To split hairs a bit....

Thanks for the clarification!

I forgot all about contracting out operations. There really are so many different quirks to consider.

 

21 minutes ago, Border City Transit said:

Then as now, the transit needs are much, much different in the city than they are in the suburbs.

Very true. Modern day Detroit is much different than its heyday, but for most of it's existence, it was one of the biggest/densest American cities. Most people lived, worked, and played in the city and DDOT didn't need to consider what was going on outside city limits.

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  • 2 months later...

SMART's artics are now in service. Well, some of them, anyway.

4011 has been making the rounds on Woodward FAST routes. Here she is departing Ferndale en route to Detroit:

SMA4011F.thumb.JPG.f8caeedf23aaaa1cd03e17532ace8371.JPG

...and again laying over at the Detroit end of the route:

SMA4011J.thumb.JPG.402a9c9135086185228b825e0571259b.JPG

While I am positively relieved to see New Flyers at SMART, the FAST wrap looks cheap. Compare to Gilligs, where the gaudy "FAST" decal at least fits smoothly over the frameless windows. Frameless windows are an option for New Flyers, but SMART went with framed sashes for some reason. It causes the FAST decal to look more like FA  ST:

SMA4011G.thumb.JPG.fe61741be093d62e59afd528cd5ee6f9.JPG

I've caught a few rides on 4011. Very smooth and comfortable. The windows are so big and open, the interior is dramatically brighter than a typical SMART bus (i.e. Gillig). I haven't seen any other artics in service yet on Oakland routes. I've come across 4001 on Wayne routes. Have yet to see any artics in/from Macomb territory.

Indeed, the FAST wrap is a wrap. Here is a naked 4012 on a training mission in Troy:

SMA4012C.thumb.JPG.ba511d8970f57f826bb072b8885777f4.JPG

SMA4012T.thumb.JPG.95361696df1715a1e8bb93736ae23ffd.JPG

They got a lot of specs right -- ups for the wide back doors, rear window, extra Luminators, etc. I hope they can apply a permanent paint scheme that's more professional. The FAST wrap makes these brand-new buses look rough and beat up.

Finally, a bonus shot. DDOT artic 1962 making an unusual appearance on the 31 Mack route:

DOT1962K.thumb.JPG.89f83c3c1540642deba1a4b208cd6c64.JPG

 

It sure is nice to see Southeast Michigan transit systems gradually improve the make-up of their fleets. Enjoy!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Are you sure 4012 isn't actually them copying CATA, Bis-Man Transit, or Winnipeg Transit? It has their current paint scheme 😛

I agree that FA ST wrap looks hacked up, would probably be better if it had a smaller FAST centered in the 'lead' window and then Frequent Affordable Safe Transit centered in the next two frames. That aside the rest of it seems to fit the bus well for a wrap job. Nice to see SMART improving their fleet!

Nice catch of 1961 as well. I'll admit I'm still not completely sold on the new DDOT scheme, but it does look nicer than the previous ones and is certainly more catching than plain white or just a measly stripe.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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