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SMART'S New FAST Service Takes Off

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.

Is Regional Transit Important to You?

The RTA will host several Community Meetings to educate and get feedback about public transit. If you are interested in attending a meeting please see the following schedule:

 

Special Accommodations:

If special accommodations are needed, please contact Virginia Licklitter at 313-402-1020 within 5 days of the meeting date. RTA can provide accommodations for those with limited English-speaking abilities, persons with disabilities, and persons, needing auxiliary aids, signers, readers, or large print.

 

If you can’t attend a meeting, you can find more information on the RTA Website and please be sure to take the transit survey.

SMART Service Changes

Know before you go!

SMART is focused on continuously growing and improving our services. To support this effort we have reviewed our current service and are making a few changes to keep things running smoothly – starting April 2, 2018! Modifications include time changes, route changes, and a new name. 

REAL TIME ARRIVAL STILL NOW AVAILABLE
The real time arrival Bus Tracker on select SMART routes is now working and will display the real time arrival information for the routes that were modified on April 2. 

NEW SCHEDULE
The map below shows the new stops available in the Downtown area. Be sure to double check your schedules based on your route at:
NEW Schedule Look Up

Riders will find TIME CHANGES on the following routes:

• 261 FAST Michigan
• 450/460 Woodward Local 
• 461/462 FAST Woodward
• 465 Auburn Hills Limited
• 561/563 FAST Gratiot
• 780 Fifteen Mile Crosstown

ROUTE CHANGES include
• 261 FAST Michigan
• 461/462 FAST Woodward
• 563 FAST Gratiot

NEW ROUTE NAME
Due to technical difficulties Route 849 Northland Loop Park and Ride signs will continue to read Route 851 Park and Ride on April 2nd.

• 849 Northland Loop*
*These trips were originally part of the 851 service change. The new 849 route name will eliminate confusion as to the final destination.


All customers should verify their new schedule for updated routes and times. Click on the link to see the New Schedules and Service Bulletins online. Don’t forget, you can rely on our Customer Service Representatives to answer questions or offer any additional information. Please call SMART Customer Service to talk to a representative at (866) 962-5515.

SMART Sponsors MI Earth Day Festival

SMART Bus is a Proud Sponsor of the MI Earth Day Fest, one of the planet's largest and liveliest Earth Day celebrations. 

There's tons for kids and families to see and do the Fri-Sun April 20-22 in the Rochester Municipal Park/City Center, including family-friendly entertainment, arts & crafts, activities, tiny house tour, a parade, prizes, Avengers movie stuff, straw bale climb, RARA Recreation Fun Run, kids exhibits, yummy food & snacks, art and solar contest awards, and much more. Admission is free and open to all ages. Check out the MI Green Team website for more information!

Driver Appreciation Day!

Public transit connects thousands of people to jobs, school and appointments every day, a service provided by our army of dedicated drivers. Everyday residents all over our region don’t have to worry about parking, road conditions, or the general stresses of driving, because our drivers handle it, and we want to thank them. Transit Driver Appreciation Day will be observed on March 16th this year and to thank the drivers for navigating particularly rough roads throughout the year, and especially this winter.   

Send your thoughts and thanks to your driver on Transit Driver Appreciation day, by picking up a Thank You card at one of the following locations:

Royal Oak Transit Center

Downtown Detroit Office

Online (options 1, 2, 3 or 4)

Thank you to the Detroit area Wendy’s for donating 500+ gift cards to make our driver’s day just a little more special. Public transit supports the local community and Detroit Area Wendy’s stepped up to support public transit by showing appreciation for the drivers.  To continue this circle of support for our community we’ve provided a link so you can find a nearby Wendy’s to visit, many via SMART routes.

Find a Detroit Area Wendy's near you!

Customer Appreciation Month

February 1st kicks off our 8th annual Customer Appreciation Month. During the ENTIRE month of February, when you purchase any SMART bus pass, we will be gifting you a surprise! Each customer is eligible to receive one complimentary gift, but keep in mind, this promotion excludes online orders. Visit one of the sites below to purchase your usual SMART bus pass and get your free gift (while supplies last).

Passes must be purchased at:
-Downtown Detroit Transit Center
535 Griswold Street
-Royal Oak Transit Center
202 Sherman Drive

Limit one gift per purchase. While supplies last. Online orders excluded.
(866) 962-5515 • smartbus.org

Ride FAST to the Auto Show!

The 2018 North American International Auto Show public showing is here and the all-new FAST service, powered by SMART, will help you get there! Any of our new FAST routes will connect you downtown during the days, nights, and weekends to ensure you can get to the Cobo Center at your convenience. 

You can find full schedules for any of our routes through our website and we’ve conveniently added the maps below.

See the Gratiot Map
See the Woodward Map
See the Michigan Map
See Downtown Map

Tickets can be purchased from the Auto Show website.

Holiday Service Changes

Fixed Route - New Year’s Day
• Fixed Route will operate a Sunday schedule
The following services will not operate:
• Connector
• Somerset Shuttle
• Oakland Mall Shuttle
• Farmington/Farmington Hills Dial-A-Ride
• Groesbeck Flex Route Service
Closures:
Royal Oak and Downtown Transit Centers:
• Friday, December 29th thru Monday, January 1st

Observance of New Year’s Connector Routes will be as follows:
Monday, January 1 
The following services will not operate:
• Connector
• Somerset Shuttle
• Oakland Mall Shuttle
• Farmington/Farmington Hills Dial-A-Ride
• Groesbeck Flex Route Service
Customer Service will be OPEN January 1.
• Be sure to book/confirm your Connector trips by 4:00 p.m. Friday, December 29th for Tuesday, January 2nd
Prearranged ADA trips on New Year’s Day are based off a Sunday Fixed Route schedule. 

Visit smartbus.org or call Customer Service for additional details.

New Limited-Stop Service

NEW limited-stop service…It’s a game changer!

On January 1st, SMART will introduce a new level of bus service on Gratiot, Woodward and Michigan that will change the way you think about getting around town! We are adding a high frequency, limited-stop service that connects the suburbs to the city.  With service on weekdays, nights and weekends, getting to the places you live, work and play around the region are more easily reached.

What is limited-stop service? SMART’s limited-stop service means fewer stops spaced one mile or more. Riders may board and deboard at the identified limited-stop bus stations for a faster ride while maintaining access to key destinations and transfer points.  

The new limited-stop buses will also be easily recognized with a unique look. They are sleek and SMART, each is equipped with WiFi, with the same low fare as SMART’s regular fixed route service. 

What to Expect:
·         Higher frequency service provides more reliable, convenient bus service to the places you
          want to go and all the places in-between…Metro Airport, Dearborn, Pontiac, Somerset,
          Chesterfield Township and Mt. Clemens 
·         Operates weekdays, nights and weekends
·         Easily recognizable buses with their ‘own’ unique look – different from SMART’s current fleet
·         Equipped with FREE WiFi
·         Clearly identified limited-stop bus stations
·         Using the existing SMART network of routes transferring to nearby limited-stop bus stations
          is convenient and easy.
·         Same low $2.00 one-way fare.  Only 25 cents for a transfer.

Transferring:
·         New limited-stop buses will only stop at official limited-stop bus stations (signage will be
          at all official stops). If you need to get to an official stop, SMART and DDOT have many
          routes within each corridor you can transfer to or from.
·         For example, if you are traveling northbound on Woodward from 9 ½ Mile, Routes
          450 or 460 will connect you to the nearest limited-stop bus station at the Detroit Zoo.
·         Transfer costs 25 cents. 
Limited-stop service schedules 

Each limited-stop route map includes a list of all official bus stations for your convenience.

Gratiot 

Gratiot limited-stop service runs from either Chesterfield (Route 563) or from North River Park and Ride (Route 561) to Downtown Detroit.  There are also trips from North River Park and Ride to Mid-town (Route 562).  The new Gratiot service mirrors the same stops as the Route 598/599, with additional stops at 10 Mile, 13 Mile, Metro Parkway, Hall Road, 22 and 23 Mile Roads.
View the Limited-Stop Gratiot Map  

Woodward 

Woodward limited-stop service runs from Pontiac (Route 461) or Troy (Route 462) to Midtown as well as Downtown Detroit. The new Woodward service mirrors the same stops as the Route 498, with additional stops at the Detroit Zoo, 12 Mile, 14 Mile, Troy Civic Center, St. Joseph Hospital and Phoenix Center. 
View the Limited-Stop Woodward Map

Michigan 

Michigan limited-stop service, for the first time, provides a direct connection from Detroit Metropolitan Airport to Downtown Detroit, seven days a week.  Both airport terminals, as well as the Dearborn Transit Center, are served with each trip. 
View the Limited-Stop Michigan Map

Downtown 

All the new limited-stop routes meet downtown with stops in the Central Business District and near the entertainment district.  Now you can to get close to the places you want to go and connect with the regions network of routes and other mobility options. 
View the Downtown Map

When using passes is additional fare required for Park & Ride trips?

If you are using a $0.50, $1.00, or a $2.00 31 Day Pass or a SMART/DDOT Regional Pass and Regional Plus Pass additional fare is require upon boarding for Park and Ride trips.  Between passes and cash, full fare riders, fare must equal $2.50.  If you are using a SMART/DDOT Regional Pass, an additional $1.00 is required upon boarding.  A SMART $2.50 31 Day Pass does not require an additional fare.

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