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SMART’S New FAST Service Takes Off

Tuesday, May 15, 2018/Categories: SMART News, Featured Homepage News

SMART’s New FAST Service Takes Off!

It has been three months since SMART’s newest bus service, FAST… Frequent. Affordable. Safe. Transit., was introduced with results that far exceed expectations. Increases in ridership were hoped for along the FASTcorridors, Gratiot, Woodward and Michigan Avenues, however, SMART never anticipated the positive public response and significant ridership levels to elevate so quickly. 

At the end of the first quarter, these three key regional transit corridors have seen overall increases in ridership of: 20% on weekdays; 15% on Saturdays; and 27% on Sundays. This includes some increases as high as 65%. Riders are taking over 10,000 additional trips on these corridors every week.

“We are very pleased with the positive public response we have received and the number of people who are now riding FAST,” said John C. Hertel, General Manager at SMART, “It usually takes up to one year for new routes and service to establish itself. To have these type of ridership increases within the first three months of service is spectacular.”

FAST is a high frequency, limited-stop bus service connecting the suburbs to downtown Detroit, and for the first time, provides a direct connection to Metro Airport. Operating on Detroit’s busiest corridors: Gratiot, Woodward, and Michigan Avenues, the service provides coverage 7 days a week. 

In 2014, the SMART millage was successfully passed in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties with a 66 percent YES vote. At that time, SMART promised to replace the existing fleet of aging buses, most of which had 500,000 miles or more. Last October, SMART placed an order for the last 35 replacement buses, keeping its promise. Delivery of these buses is expected by December of this year. By replacing the fleet with new buses, maintenance costs were drastically reduced allowing SMART to expandservice and introduce FAST without increasing funding. The millage renewal for SMART funding will be in August 2018.

FAST buses are easily distinguished from SMART’s current fleet of buses. Wrapped in a vibrant array of red, blue and green colors with the FAST logo prominently displayed on the sides of the buses and equipped with free WiFionboard helping to pass the time quickly. 

Each new FAST route provides an improved level of service to key destinations on each corridor. 
FAST Michigan offers a direct connection from downtown Detroit to both terminals at Metro Airport. FASTWoodward serves Pontiac and Troy, as well as four hospitals, the Zoo and midtown and downtown. FASTGratiot connects people to 23 Mile, Mt. Clemens, Macomb Mall, Midtown, Eastern Market and downtown. 

While limited-stop service is not new to SMART or transit,higher frequency combined with limited-stops, located at about every mile, FAST service translates to a quicker commute. Riders are only able to board and deboard at the official FAST stations designated with a FAST sign. Local routes can be used to transfer riders to a FASTstation or in-between bus stops. Using this new service is easy and the fare is the same as SMART’s regular service,only $2.00 one-way. Transfers are only 25 cents.

Additional information about FAST routes and schedule can be found at www.rideSMART-FAST.org.

Serving residents since 1967, SMART is southeast Michigan’s only regional public transportation provider, offering convenient, reliable and safe transportation for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties. SMART’s Fixed Route and small bus services connect people to employment and educational institutions, medical appointments and shopping centers. For routes and fare information, visit smartbus.org.

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