185 DDOT buses outfitted with new safety barriers to protect drivers and passengers

DDOT News Release
DDOT bus driver behind barrier
DDOT bus driver behind the barrier.
  • Total of 288 barriers expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2021.
  • Mayor committed to drivers’ union in June to purchase and install barriers this year.
  • Installation will pave the way to resuming fare collection in 2021.
  • Barriers to protect drivers from COVID-19 exposure and physical assaults.

DETROIT, Mich., December 10, 2020:  As transit riders continue to utilize the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) service, they will notice a new feature on the bus, a state of the art protective barrier next to the driver’s seat. DDOT is installing 288 safety barriers in its ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of bus drivers and passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

So far, 185 of the protective barriers have been installed on buses with the remainder expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2021 said Executive Director of Transit C. Mikel Oglesby, and ATU Local 26 President Glenn Tolbert. DDOT began installing the bus barriers mid-October after Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the directive in June at the weekly Mayor’s press conference.

Installation of the Vapor vShield, a heavy-duty laminated safety glass door manufactured by Vapor Bus International, will provide an enhanced level of operator security, visibility, and comfort. Barrier installation is conducted weekly on six-to-eight buses per day.  

“When I met with bus drivers in March at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of their greatest concerns was a lack of physical protection so we committed to installing these barriers by the end of this year,” said Mayor Duggan.  “We consider our bus drivers among our city’s first responders and they deserve to have the protection they need and deserve.”

Oglesby said the barriers will serve to protect passengers, as well.

“We’re excited about the new barriers as part of our ongoing commitment to protect the bus operators and the riders,” said C. Mikel Oglesby. “With robust dialogue and collaboration with the stakeholders, DDOT will continue to improve upon the transit vision while providing safe and clean service.”

Once the project is completed, the barriers will allow passengers to board at the front of the bus again which will increase passenger capacity as we enter the colder months. DDOT would like to remind all passengers of the following when riding a DDOT bus:

  • All persons on DDOT buses are required to wear face coverings, completely covering their nose and mouth for the entire time on the coach.
  • With the exception of ADA front-door boarding, all passengers will enter and exit the bus through the rear door.
  • All passengers should remain in the designated area, and no person shall approach the bus Operator while on the bus or cross the barrier at any time while on the coach.
  • All instances of threats or violence will be thoroughly investigated, and DDOT will seek prosecution for these acts, to the fullest extent of the law.

Fare collection expected to resume in 2021

Completing the installation of the protective barriers and allowing passengers to once again board from the front of the coach is the first step toward resuming the collection of bus fares. Since March, passengers have been provided free trips since the farebox next to the driver has been off limits.

“The barriers are an important piece in resuming fare collection, but not the only piece,” said Oglesby. “We still have to establish a safe way to resume use of the fareboxes, since many people may touch them between fare collection.”

For questions, comments or concerns, customers are encouraged to call Customer Service at (313) 933-1300 Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. 


About DDOT

The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) is the largest public transit provider in Michigan that serves the City of Detroit, surrounding suburbs, and neighboring cities, including Highland Park and Hamtramck. DDOT prides itself on providing reliable, clean, safe, and efficient service to an average of 85,000 riders daily. For routes and fare information, visit detroitmi.gov/ddot.   


Media Contact
Jennifer Frye
[email protected]
(313) 670-1687