Mayor: New Transit Center will be named in honor of late DDOT Driver Jason Hargrove

  • Hargrove died from Covid in April 2020, just weeks into the pandemic and shortly after advocating on social media for driver safety
  • Only other person to have a transit center named after them in Detroit is Rosa Parks
  • Hargrove’s wife and children travel from Texas to Detroit for announcement; wife plans to move back to Detroit this spring and work for the City


When it opens in May, the beautiful new transit center at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds will be named the Jason Hargrove Transit Center, Mayor Mike Duggan announced today. 

Hargrove was a bus driver for Detroit Department of Transportation at the onset of the Covid pandemic in March 2020 when he posted a video about a maskless passenger coughing on him.  The video, which included Hargrove urging members of the public to be more respectful and considerate toward bus drivers, amassed millions of views. Ten days later, on April 1, Jason died from Covid, leaving behind his wife, Desha and six children.

“When Jason died, it broke all our hearts.  He was doing everything right, showing up to work at the onset of a pandemic to make people could get where they needed. He was supporting his family. And he was trying to keep himself and others safe,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Jason was a hero to all of us, and for the next 100 years, he will be remembered by everyone who uses this beautiful new transit center."

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Mayor Duggan discusses the heroic efforts of Jason Hargrove during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Duggan said his office also has requested a resolution from City Council supporting the naming.  Hargrove would be in the company of Rosa Parks, the Civil Rights icon after who the city’s only other transit center is named. “That is how strongly Detroiters feel about Jason Hargrove,” the Mayor said.

The Mayor was joined by DDOT Director G. Michael Staley, members of City Council, as well as Jason’s wife, Desha and their six adult children, four of whom traveled with her from Texas to be a part of the announcement.  Later this spring, Desha and three of her children will move back to Detroit to stay and Desha has been hired to work for the city’s building safety department in the area of customer service.

"What a profound honor it is to dedicate this terminal in memory of my beloved husband, Jason Hargrove,” said Desha Hargrove. “With unwavering courage and boundless compassion, he tirelessly drove each passenger through the challenges of our time. This tribute not only celebrates Jason's remarkable commitment, but also pays homage to the countless individuals who paved the way before us, echoing the resilient spirit of Rosa Parks. Just as she stood (sat) firm in the face of adversity, Jason's dedication shines as a beacon of strength amidst unprecedented circumstances.

“May this terminal serve as a lasting testament to the unsung heroes who propel our communities forward, carrying forward the legacy of those who came before us and those that will come after us," she added.

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Mayor Duggan joins city officials and the Hargrove family for the reveal of the Jason Hargrove Transit Center rendering.


Jason Hargrove Transit Center Details

The Jason Hargrove Transit Center will be the centerpiece of a $31 million redevelopment of a major portion of that includes an adaptive reuse of the former dairy cattle barn into the new indoor transit hub and a new public open space anchored by a restored portico of the historic State Fair Coliseum that once stood on the site.  The outdoor space will be activated for community events, host concerts, food trucks and the like.  Developers Hillwood Investment Properties and the Sterling Group, which built the new Amazon fulfillment center at the fairgrounds, contributed $7 million toward the construction of the new transit center.

Work began a year ago on the 52,000-square-foot transit center to ensure buses will be able to pull in and out of the building. The interior of the new hub will be nothing like DDOT riders or operators have seen before and will be a modern, state-of-the-art facility. The interior will include some retail/restaurant options, an indoor lobby and public waiting area, a ticket office, restrooms for the public and a separate lounge and restroom area for transit operators, giving them an end-of-the-route respite point.

“Countless citizens of the City of Detroit died during the pandemic and many families were battered and broken by Covid-19.  One of those citizens, Jason Hargrove, was a part of the DDOT family,” said Interim Executive Director of Transit G. Michael Staley. “Those who worked closely with Mr. Hargrove knew him as a dedicated public servant, good friend, and loving husband and father.  Jason Hargrove remains in the hearts and minds of those who knew him best. His legacy will be enshrined at the DDOT Transit Center that bears his name.”

The new transit center will serve both Detroit Department of Transportation and SMART riders, as well as ride share customers and those using other transportation forms such as MoGo bikes and scooters.  The building will offer not only fully indoor service for transit users, but also restroom facilities, retail, and community space.

The transit center is expected to become operational in early May.

The plan to reuse the dairy cattle building and the portico was approved by Detroit City Council in November 2021 after they were presented with the results of a city-commissioned a feasibility study that determined adaptive reuse of the historic buildings was in fact an option. The study was done after community members expressed their desire for the city to find a way to preserve these pieces of Michigan history.

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Fromer DDOT driver, Jason Hargrove.


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Rendering of Jason Hargrove Transit Center.