6 Detroit Transit Providers to Know and Where They Go

Modified: May 30, 2023 | Story by David Gifford | Photos by Kayce Gifford

Although Detroit is known the world over as the Motor City, cars aren’t the only wheels that can move the masses. In fact, Detroit has had public transit since 1863, back then they used real horsepower to pull streetcars. These days transit in Detroit rolls on steel wheels and rubber tires and can take you to hundreds of destinations. No need to keep feeding the meter or drive from place to place to experience all that Detroit has to offer. Transit is also the easiest way to travel with a big group as buses can hold over 60 people. Before you go, make sure to download the Transit App to plan your trip and the Token Transit App to pay by phone.

#1. Detroit People Mover

Need a lift from a parking garage to your downtown destination or want to take in some city sights? The Detroit People Mover not only connects riders to work, restaurants and entertainment, it also provides unmatched views of the city and the Riverfront. It winds through downtown 7-days a week. Some of the top destinations along the loop include Huntington Place, GM Renaissance Center, Hollywood Casino & Hotel, Greektown, YMCA, Detroit Opera, Detroit Athletic Club, Music Hall, Gem Theatre, Ford Field, Comerica Park, The Fillmore, Fox Theatre, Little Caesars Arena and too many bars & restaurants to list here.

Hotels along the People Mover include Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney (Grand Circus Park Station), Double Tree by Hilton at Fort Shelby, Holiday Inn Express & Westin Book Cadillac (Michigan Ave Station), The Detroit Club (Fort Cass Station), Foundation Hotel & Crowne Plaza (Financial District Station), Courtyard by Marriott (Millender Center Station), Detroit Marriott at the Ren Cen (Renaissance Center Station), Greektown Hotel, Atheneum Suite Hotel & Hilton Garden (Greektown Station), Siren Hotel, Element Hotel & Shinola Hotel (Broadway Station).

They even have a handy interactive map tool and trip planner.

Schedule: Mon-Thr (7am-7pm) Fri (7am-12am) Sat (10am-12am) Sun (10am-8pm).

Cost: $0.75 per ride (Quarters or tokens only. ). Kids 5 & under FREE!

The Detroit People Mover

Detroit People Mover, Vito Palmisano

#2. QLINE Detroit

Whether you are getting dinner before a show at the Fox Theatre or Orchestra Hall, headed to a sporting event or concert, heading to class or running some errands, the QLINE is a versatile free way to get up and down Woodward Avenue without a car. The comfortable glass stations will keep you out of the weather and stops are located near lower Woodward’s best attractions like Hart Plaza, Spirit Plaza, Campus Martius, Grand Circus Park, District Detroit, Midtown, Wayne State University, College for Creative Studies, Cultural Center Museums, New Center, Amtrak and the Fisher Building. There are over 100 places to dine & shop along the Q and it connects to several crosstown bus routes. Extend your trip up Woodward on DDOT or FAST Woodward.

Hotels along the QLINE include Courtyard by Marriott, Siren Hotel, Element Hotel, Shinola Hotel, Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney, Inn of Ferry Street and Hotel St Regis.

Schedule: Mon-Sat (8am-12am) Sun (8am-9pm)

Cost: Free!

#3. Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT)

If you are downtown and you want to explore Detroit’s surrounding neighborhoods, don’t get back in your car and pay for parking again. You can ride DDOT’s buses to just about anywhere in the city! DDOT & Curbed put together this great list of over 50 places you can ride DDOT using their 24-hr service. Wherever you are downtown, you’re not far from a DDOT stop. Use the TransitApp to plan your trip, locate the nearest stop & track your bus. Just to name a few places you can go on DDOT’s big green buses, see below:

  • #1-Vernor: Cambria Hotel, John King Books, Mexicantown, Southwest, Dearborn.
  • #2-Michigan: Corktown, Senate Theatre, Dearborn, Fairlane Town Center
  • #3-Grand River: Beacon Park, Core City, Grandmont-Rosedale, Redford Theatre, Meijer
  • #4-Woodward: Hart/Spirit Plaza, Campus Martius, District Detroit, WSU
  • #5-Van Dyke: Greektown Casino, DCFC Fieldhouse, West Village
  • #6-Gratiot: Ford Field, Eastern Market, Better Made, Coleman Young Airport
  • #7-Seven Mile: St. John Hospital, Livernois Avenue of Fashion, Palmer Park
  • #8-Warren: Rouge Park, Dearborn, WSU, Cultural District, Wayne Co Aquatic Center
  • #9-Jefferson: Renaissance Center, Rivertown Meijer, Belle Isle, Grosse Pointe Park
  • #16-Dexter: Huntington Place, Beacon Park, Little Caesars Arena, Midtown, Wayne State, New Center Park, Motown Museum

Schedule: DDOT has (12) 24-hr routes & (30) regular routes.

Cost: $2 = 4-hour pass. $5 = 24-hr pass. (Pay with cash or use the Token Transit App)

*Reduced fares available for kids (6-18), seniors & persons with disabilities. Kids 5 & under FREE.


Need a lift to the airport or to the suburbs? SMART’s FAST buses have you covered. They run all day long and stop every 1-2 miles for a faster trip. Buses are easy to catch downtown around Spirit Plaza and other spots around downtown [Map]. They consist of three main routes: FAST Gratiot, FAST Woodward and FAST Michigan. FAST Gratiot runs out to Eastern Market, Eastpointe, Roseville, Macomb Mall, Mt. Clemens and Chesterfield. There are many hotels along the Gratiot route if you can’t find a room downtown. You can grab the FAST Michigan bus at Jefferson & Woodward as well as outside the David Whitney Building / Aloft Hotel. This route makes stops in Corktown, Senate Theatre, Dearborn, John Dingell Transit Center (Amtrak), Inkster and Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), stopping at Evans Terminal (Ground Transit) and McNamara Terminal (Air France Gate). FAST Woodward also begins at Jefferson & Woodward and makes stops at Huntington Place, Grand Circus Park, Little Caesars Arena, Midtown, Cultural Center, New Center, Highland Park, Ferndale, Detroit Zoo, Royal Oak (Corewell Hospital), Birmingham, Somerset, Troy, Pontiac, Great Lakes Crossing & Auburn Hills (Meijer).

Schedule: FAST Buses run 7 days. Hours vary by route. Check their schedule for more info.

Cost: $2 = 4-hour pass. $5 = 24-hr pass. (Pay with cash or use the Token Transit App)

*Reduced fares available for kids (6-18), seniors & persons with disabilities. Kids 5 & under FREE.

#5. MoGo Detroit

Whether you are taking advantage of the many miles of bike lanes or greenways, MoGo is a great way to get around the city on two wheels. They provide a variety of passes that are perfect for residents or visitors. There are easy to find docking stations throughout downtown, spanning from Belle Isle to Royal Oak. Take a ride through Eastern Market, down the Dequindre Cut and along the Detroit Riverwalk to Belle Isle on a standard or electric boost bike! Destinations along Detroit’s Riverwalk include the Southwest Greenway, Ralph C. Wilson, JR. Centennial Park, Hart Plaza, GM Plaza, Cullen Plaza, DNR Outdoor Adventure Center, The Aretha Amphitheatre, Valade Park, Mt. Elliot Park & Splash Pad, Gabriel Richard Park and Belle Isle. In the summer MoGo also offers adaptive bikes from May-October along the Riverfront and in Ferndale. Open every day of the year!

Cost: There are lots of options and you can use the TransitApp to buy passes:

  • Pay as You Go: $1 unlock, $0.25/min
  • 1 Hour Pass: $10
  • Explore the City: $15 (3 days of unlimited 60 minute trips)
  • 2 Hr Prepaid Pass: $18 (2 hours to be used all at once or as needed)
  • Month Pass: $20 (Unlimited 60 minute trips for 30 days)

Photo by Kayce Gifford

#6. D2A2 Bus

On the west side of Grand Circus Park on Park Ave is a bus stop that can whisk you away to Ann Arbor for the day to shop, dine or head to The Big House. The Regional Transit Authority runs coach buses between Detroit and Ann Arbor all day, 7-days a week. These comfy, roomy buses have plenty of space underneath for luggage or a bicycle and use the highways for an hour-long, non-stop trip. Step off near the heart of downtown & U of M at the Blake Transit Center. From there you can walk or catch TheRide buses around town. Also be on the lookout for a future Detroit to DTW direct airport bus from the RTA.

Schedule: Mon-Fri (5:45am-12am*) Sat-Sun (7:30am-12am*)

*Return trips to Detroit end at 9pm M-F & 8:15pm Sat-Sun

Cost: One way $8 (At the bus) $6 (Booked in advance) $4 (Seniors/Disability) Under 2: Free.

Photo by Kayce Gifford

David Gifford lives in Warren along with his family and promotes public transit through social media, blogs & his website Transit Guide: Detroit.

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