If you have been on some DDOT buses lately you probably know some of them are getting pretty long in the tooth.
The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) is working to fix that.
It has added of 100 new buses over past three years and is putting another 20 on the road over the next few months to improve reliability and reduce the average age, according to DDOT Director Dan Dirks. The new buses have been arriving over the past several weeks and nine more will hit the streets in January.
“This is another important step forward for DDOT and it strives to continually provide better service to its customers and younger, more reliable buses on the road,” Dirks says. “Our plan is to purchase at least 20 new buses each year for the next five years to get the age of our fleet in line with other major transit systems.”
The new buses will bring the average age of vehicles in the DDOT fleet to about eight years, down from an average age of more than 12 years when Dirks took over in 2014. He says the ideal average age for buses in a transit system of Detroit’s size is about six years
There are currently about 300 buses in the DDOTs fleet with 240 buses are on the road at peak times. The rest are getting routine maintenance.
The new buses are New Flyer XD40 models and they come with destination signs on the rear, large rear windows and skylight roof hatches to allow more natural light on the interior, and an additional security camera on the exterior.
Since adding its first 80 new buses in 2015, DDOT has implemented its largest service expansion in nearly two decades (1,500 additional weekly trips), including:
- Adding 9 new 24-hour routes (previously there were none).
- Adding 6 new express routes to connect neighborhoods across the city to major job centers in downtown and midtown.
- Adding a new Fresh Wagon route that provides direct roundtrip bus service to Eastern Market every Saturday with 6 convenient pickup locations across Detroit.
- Adding a new Mid-City Loop route to connect more low-income neighborhoods in the central part of the city with the jobs and amenities of the new center and midtown areas.
- Partnering with RTA and SMART to provide express “Reflex” service to and from the suburbs along Woodward and Gratiot Avenue.
Security cameras have also been installed on the inside and outside of all buses and there is now a dedicated transit police force. Those two features have significantly improved safety across the transit system, DDOT says.
DDOT has hired more than 100 bus drivers in 2017. The starting wage for bus drivers is currently $12.69 – $18.29 hourly, including benefits. To be eligible for a bus driver position with DDOT, applicants must have the following qualifications:
- Completion of high school or G.E.D.
- Must be able to obtain a Michigan Commercial Driver’s License with Group A or B designation and Passenger and Air Brake endorsements
- Preferably, two years of experience operating automotive vehicles, as demonstrated by a State Driving Record
All persons interested in employment opportunities with DDOT are encouraged to apply for the Transportation Equipment Operator (Bus Driver) positions at http://www.detroitmi.gov/employment.