6 Detroit Transit Providers to Know and Where They Go
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.
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: Motor City Casino, 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, Wayne State University
#5-Van Dyke: Greektown Casino, DCFC Fieldhouse, West Village, Bel Air Cinema
#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
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: FASTGratiot, 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.
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.