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SMART and DDOT Partner to Create Seamless Transfers

Thursday, August 23, 2018/Categories: SMART News

  • DDOT proposes to create unlimited 4-hour, 24-hour options, weekly and monthly passes to streamline service
  • New 31-day, 4-hour, and 24-hour regional passes would eliminate additional transfer fare between DDOT & SMART
  • Mobile app for mobile pass purchase, additional retail locations to provide more options for riders

DETROIT, Michigan – The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) is proposing fare and transfer changes in coordination with the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), designed to make using the region’s primary transit systems much simpler for riders, Mayor Mike Duggan and John Hertel, SMART General Manager announced today.

The proposed changes will streamline the fare system for riders by:

  • Eliminating all transfer fares, including additional transfer fares between DDOT and SMART, allowing for seamless transfers between the two systems using new 4-hour, 24-hour and 31-day regional passes
  • Reducing the number of passes from 25+ confusing choices to six easy, flexible options
  • Adding a mobile fare payment app and additional retail location for tickets

“We are working every day to make our transit system better, and the fare changes will go a long way to make DDOT easier and simpler to ride,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Seamless transfers for DDOT and SMART, flexible fare options and more retail and payment choices will improve the experience for riders overall.”

The proposed changes aim to provide simpler choices and more flexibility for bus riders in Detroit and across the region. Riders can provide feedback and comments on the plan at community meetings and public hearings over the next three months. The proposal will go before City Council for approval in November. Pending approval, fare changes would be implemented starting December 1.  Any adjustments to SMART’s fares will require approval of SMART’s Board of Directors.

Building a more flexible, simple system
The proposed fare changes will simplify the fare options for riders by eliminating the current system: a confusing jumble of over 25 fare options. All new fare cards will be designed for quicker, easier boarding.
Under the new system, riders will be able to purchase:

  • A 4-hour regional ride pass on any route with unlimited transfers between DDOT and SMART for $2, with a reduced fare price of .50 cents for qualified riders.
  • A 24-hour regional pass with unlimited transfers between DDOT and SMART for $5, with a reduced price of $2.
  • A 7-day DDOT-only pass for $17, with a reduced price of $8.
  • A 7-day regional pass for $22, with a reduced price of $10.
  • A 31-day DDOT-only pass for $60, with a reduced price of $17.
  • A new 31-day regional pass, good for unlimited rides on both DDOT and SMART, for $70, with a reduced price of $29.  This would replace the existing Regional Pass and Regional Plus Pass.
  • SMART will continue to offer the current set of SMART-only passes.

Consistent with SMART’s current practice, DDOT 7 Day and 31 Day Passes will be no longer expire at the end of the week or month. Passes will be active for the full 7 or 31 days starting on the first day of use. Weekly and monthly passes that have rolling times rather than fixed dates will give riders the full value for their money.

Seamless transfers throughout the region
DDOT and SMART are working together to allow seamless transfers between the two transit systems.  The proposed 4- and 24-hour passes and new regional pass will let DDOT riders use the same base fare ticket to transfer to SMART, ending the need to carry extra change or an additional pass just to pay for the transfer. DDOT and SMART officials say ending the fares for transfers also will reduce boarding times and eliminate confusion among bus drivers and passengers.

“Our working relationship with DDOT has never been better and we hope to continue to collaborate on projects that will benefit our riders and drivers as well as our both of our agencies,” stated John C. Hertel, General Manager of SMART, “With the elimination of the transfer fare, riders will be the biggest winners with an easier and improved riding experience.”

Moving forward SMART is committed to working with DDOT to make travel around the region easier and more convenient.  A big first step would be the elimination of the transfer fare allowing riders 4 hours of riding on any route, any direction and any system.  Additionally, the proposed changes eliminate the need for a separate SMART Regional Plus pass. All of these changes will require approval of SMART’s Board of Directors.

Easier to use, easier to purchase
While the fare changes will make it easier to choose and use passes, DDOT and SMART are also working to make it easier for riders to purchase passes by adding a mobile fare payment option.   DDOT will also add additional retail locations for ticket purchases.

A new mobile phone-based pass purchase option will allow riders to purchase and store the new unlimited regional 24-hour and 31-day regional and DDOT-only passes right on a mobile phone. After the initial release, DDOT and SMART will coordinate efforts to add additional passes to this new mobile option with the goal of all passes being available later in 2019.

DDOT is also adding 40 more retail locations citywide, including community centers and convenience stores. The new pass format will be easier for retailers to sell, and DDOT will add self-serve ticket vending machines at select locations. These locations are in addition to current places bus passes are sold. Locations will be added pending approvals in December.

Base fare to provide more flexibility with no increase to reduced rates
The new base fare for riders will be $2 for the unlimited 4-hour pass, with free transfers between DDOT buses and the SMART system. Because riders will no longer have to shell out extra change for transfers between routes and/or systems, many regional trips will be cheaper. 

Student riders (under 18 years old) will see a reduction in fares, to 50 cents from 75 cents on DDOT and $1.00 on SMART, and seniors 65 or older, Medicare card holders and individuals with disabilities will enjoy all of the new benefits at the same price, with no increase.

Community engagement key to changes
The proposed fare changes follow a community engagement process from DDOT that took public input from stakeholders about the changes and conducted a Title VI On-Board Survey and Equity Analysis. The study was federally required to ensure major transit service changes are not discriminatory.

DDOT and SMART will continue to coordinate and adjust the proposed changes throughout the public engagement process.  DDOT plans additional community meetings in August and formal public hearings in October. Following the community engagement period, the proposal will go before City Council in November for final approval.  SMART will also host public meetings and hearings prior to the proposal going before the SMART Board of Directors for final approval.  Pending approvals, the changes would be implemented in December.

For more information the proposal and schedule of community meetings, visit:
DDOT: or call at (313) 933-1300.
SMART: or call at (866) 962-5515.


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