The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) has added another 20 new buses to its fleet to improve reliability and reduce the average age, DDOT Director Dan Dirks said today. The new buses have been arriving over the past several weeks and nine more will hit the streets in January.
“This is another important step forward for DDOT and it strives to continually provide better service to its customers and younger, more reliable buses on the road,” Dirks said. “Our plan is to purchase at least 20 new buses each year for the next five years to get the age of our fleet in line with other major transit systems.”
DDOT currently has about 300 buses in its fleet. At peak times, 240 buses are on the road, allowing the rest to receive routine maintenance to keep them operating well. The new buses will bring the average age of vehicles in the DDOT fleet to about 8 years, down from an average age of more than 12 years when Dirks took over in 2014. Dirks says the ideal average age for buses in a transit system of Detroit’s size is about six years.
The new buses will facilitate service improvements as well as help to improve the rider experience.
New buses, new features
The New Flyer XD40 model buses are replacements for aging buses that will be removed from the fleet and decommissioned. The new buses come with a few significant new features including, destination signs on the rear of the bus, large rear windows and skylight roof hatches to allow more natural light on the interior, and an additional security camera on the exterior of the bus.
Since adding its first 80 new buses in 2015, DDOT has implemented its largest service expansion in nearly two decades (1,500 additional weekly trips), including:
Adding 9 new 24-hour routes (previously there were none).
Adding 6 new express routes to connect neighborhoods across the city to major job centers in downtown and midtown.
Adding a new Fresh Wagon route that provides direct roundtrip bus service to Eastern Market every Saturday with 6 convenient pickup locations across Detroit.
Adding a new Mid-City Loop route to connect more low-income neighborhoods in the central part of the city with the jobs and amenities of the new center and midtown areas.
Partnering with RTA and SMART to provide express “Reflex” service to and from the suburbs along Woodward and Gratiot Avenue.
DDOT also has installed security cameras on the inside and outside of all of its buses and added a dedicated transit police force, which together have significantly improved safety across the transit system.
Opportunities available at DDOT
DDOT has remained committed to improving transit both internally and externally for drivers as well its customers, by hiring more than 100 bus drivers in 2017. The starting wage for bus drivers is currently $12.69 – $18.29 hourly, including benefits. To be eligible for a bus driver position with DDOT, applicants must have the following qualifications:
Completion of high school or G.E.D.
Must be able to obtain a Michigan Commercial Driver’s License with Group A or B designation and Passenger and Air Brake endorsements
Preferably, two years of experience operating automotive vehicles, as demonstrated by a State Driving Record
All persons interested in employment opportunities with DDOT are encouraged to apply for the Transportation Equipment Operator (Bus Driver) positions at http://www.detroitmi.gov/employment