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SMART FAST Ridership Continues to Increase!

Thursday, February 6, 2020/Categories: SMART News

SMART FAST Ridership Continues to Increase!

  • Woodard Avenue increased 96%*
  • Michigan Avenue increased 68%*
  • Gratiot Avenue increased 40%*

     *ridership figures compare December 2017 to December 2019 along each corridor

  • System wide ridership over the last two years has increased 20%


Detroit, Mich., February 5, 2020: FASTFrequent. Affordable. Safe. Transit. operated by SMART is going into its 3rd year of operation and by all measures it is an overwhelming success.  Since the first day of service on, January 1, 2018, ridership has exploded along the three key regional corridors on Gratiot, Woodward and Michigan Avenues. On average, there were 5,000 additional rides every weekday on the FAST corridors compared to pre-FAST.

SMART anticipated great things with FAST, however, SMART never anticipated the exceedingly positive public response and significant ridership levels to elevate so quickly. Each route saw weekday ridership numbers increase. Michigan Avenue, which travels to the airport, increased 68%. Woodard Avenue, which travels to Pontiac, increased 96%, Gratiot Avenue, which travels to 23 mile, increased by 40%.

Despite declines in public transit ridership nationally, SMART has experienced strong ridership increases throughout the system.  Over the last two years, system wide ridership has increased 20%. Incorporating the new FAST service along three of SMART’s busiest routes has helped to prompt this growth. 

 “We are very pleased with the great success of the FAST routes.  Each corridor plays an important role in connecting the suburbs to the city and helping people get to jobs, medical appointments and entertainment venues,” said John C. Hertel, General Manager at SMART, “We wanted to get this service up and running so that residents in the region could get more access to the places they needed to go and easily connect them to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Pontiac and 23 Mile road.  Our efforts have paid off with more people than ever riding SMART.”  

SMART is always looking at ways to improve service for the region.  As part of that effort, for the past 18 months, SMART initiated a Comprehensive Operational Analysis to learn more about how to best serve riders in SE Michigan and to continue growing ridership and improve efficiency. The analysis took place through a series of in-person, written, and online suggestions from everyday riders.  In February, SMART will present a plan to its Board of Directors for approval.  The SMART Path Plan will serve as a guide for the agency on future improvements to more effectively serve the region.  Innovation is a key aspect of the plan as well as implementing more FAST routes.

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