DDOT, SMART to resume fare collection, additional safety measures implemented to protect riders and operators
- Fare collection and front-door boarding will resume March 15 for both DDOT and SMART
- Riders are required to wear a mask per federal mandates and maintain social distancing while on the coach
- DDOT operator vaccination program began Jan. 8
Detroit, Mich. – Beginning March 15, the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) and SMART will resume fare collection and increase rider capacity following extensive safety modifications to protect drivers and passengers while on the coach.
Riders should expect to see changes including the resumption of front-door boarding, barriers separating drivers and riders, hand sanitizing machines and visual social distancing cues. DDOT drivers were among the first front-line essential workers in the City of Detroit to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Last March, both transit agencies suspended fare collection to limit exposure between coach operators and riders in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic. Immediately thereafter, DDOT and SMART started implementing safety measures to protect coach operators and riders. In late 2020, DDOT began installing permanent state-of-the-art barriers next to the driver’s seat to separate and reduce air exchange between drivers and passengers. SMART is in the process of replacing the temporary shields installed and upgrading to the permanent barriers.
Riders are required to wear a mask covering their mouth and nose, per a federal mask mandate for transit systems that went into effect last month; masks will also be required at bus stops and in any transportation building. Riders must remain six feet from the driver at all times, and are encouraged to use provided hand sanitizer as they board the coach prior to paying their fare.
“Safety for both rider and driver is and always has been our top priority,” says C. Mikel Oglesby, DDOT’s Executive Director of Transit. “I’ve said since the beginning of the pandemic that I would not collect fares until it is safe to do so. With the current measures in place, we have made our buses as safe as possible for everyone on board.”
With the combination of effective safety measures in place, DDOT and SMART will resume fare collection and regular boarding on March 15th. Both agencies will also adopt a consistent, maximum occupancy on the buses of 20 passengers for standard buses and 26 passengers on an articulated bus. This number is based on scientific analysis led by the City of Detroit Health Department.
“Throughout the pandemic, our goal at SMART is to ensure service is maintained so that those who need to make essential trips to work, doctor appointments and to the grocery, pharmacy for supplies can do so,” said SMART Board Chairman Khalil Rahal. “We have taken steps along the way to protect our drivers and riders as the science has evolved, and we are now ready to safely begin collecting fares.”
Pass sales will begin Feb. 25 in all locations. Dart Regional Passes can be purchased via the DART app; more info can be found at paywithdart.org. Along with Dart Regional Passes, DDOT and SMART passes can be purchased in person at the following locations: Rosa Parks Transit Center, 360 Michigan Avenue; SMART Downtown Transit Center, Buhl Building, 535 Griswold Street; and at the Royal Oak Transit Center, 202 Sherman Drive. Passes can also be purchased online at smartbus.org.
For questions, comments or concerns, DDOT customers are encouraged to call Customer Service at (313) 933-1300, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The SMART Customer Care Center can be reached at 866-962-5515, Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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 www.ridedetroittransit.com.
Serving residents since 1967, SMART is southeast Michigan’s regional public transportation provider, offering convenient, reliable and safe transportation for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties. SMART Fixed Route and paratransit bus services connect people to employment and educational institutions, medical appointments and shopping centers. For routes and fare information, and COVID-19 Updates, visit smartbus.org.