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» Bridging 96: Detroit to Grand Rapids

The Night Move

Did Metro Detroit get a new addition to its public transportation system without us noticing? It appears we did get a new form of regional transit. No, no trains yet, but a new shuttle bus that transports citizens from some of Metro Detroit’s nightlife districts, downtown Detroit, Royal Oak, and Ferndale.

I called it public transportation but it’s actually a private, nongovernmental group which organized it. It’s called The Night Move and it’s only as publicly subsidized as the most subsidized form of transportation in our country, our roads and road traffic system. We are already paying too much for it, we might as well get a little more use out of it, right? But let’s not let the fact that a private group is running this that public transportation shouldn’t be subsidized because without subsidies roads wouldn’t exist.

This new shuttle has some differences between Metro Detroit’s main transit systems, DDOT and SMART. (Why there are so many separate public transit systems in Metro Detroit is another topic even though this group increases the number by one.) The fair for The Night Move is $12 which is more than the regular fares for DDOT and SMART although understandable for shuttle fares especially considering the price for parking, say $10, which doesn’t include the true cost of having lots of parking lots. And as the name might suggest it runs at night, normally Friday and Saturday evenings from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. which may leave some after hours partiers stranded. You book a ticket online, print it out, and it’s good for all night.

So now those who choose to live in Detroit, Royal Oak, or Ferndale have slightly more incentive to drive less or even not at all. It really increases the amount of area where those people can go at night. Hopefully the service takes off and they expand to other areas of the region with lots of residents living in a pedestrian environment with an active nightlife such as Hamtramck and especially Ann Arbor.

Actually, I had a similar idea before and I’m really glad that somebody has implemented it. I might have included Ann Arbor from the beginning because it has a huge residential population in a pedestrian friendly environment many of whom don’t own cars and it has a very active nightlife that would attract those living in Metro Detroit proper even more if they didn’t have to drive. Ypsilanti also has a large population of students, some nightlife downtown, and even though residents within Washtenaw County can get around any hour of the night guaranteed by AATA they might like to get out to Detroit or Oakland County.

Anyways, you can book The Night Move online. Shuttles leave Royal Oak every hour on the hour, Greektown in Detroit every hour on the half hour, and stop in Ferndale in between. And due to a relationship with the Detroit People Mover you can ride it for free if you ask for token from the bus driver. Oh, and if you need more motivation you will be saving the environment in many ways by taking this new shuttle. Not only are you cars from the road, the buses that you would ride on actually run on biodiesel.


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» Bridging 96: Detroit to Grand Rapids