D-DOT Route #5
|© 2007 (PAGE LAST MODIFIED ON 09-22-07)
Information for the above article was compiled from various Detroit area newspapers articles courtesy of the Stan Sycko
newspaper collection, and from the DDOT Route Update notices and bulletins archived in the author's collection.
Although primarily considered a city-based bus operation, the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT)
began operating a suburban shuttle service along Ford Road — within the suburb of Dearborn — in mid-December
of 1996. While a number of city routes have operated through this adjoining Detroit suburb for decades, this shuttle
would be the first bus line to operate entirely within that city since the former route #64 Michigan Shuttle — which
operated from the Wyoming Loop to the Ford Rouge Plant — was discontinued by the DSR back on June 15, 1973.
Actually, the launching of this new "suburban" shuttle service began during a period when the relations between the
city-run bus system and the suburban SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation) bus
system had become somewhat strained.
Talks between the two agencies to begin consolidating bus service along Woodward Avenue had recently broken
down, and the launching of this service seemed to coincide with what the media at the time referred to as a "bus
system war." By mid-December, the SMART system would begin picking-up and dropping-off passengers in the city
of Detroit along seven major routes, while DDOT would immediately follow with the launching of a number of
suburban shuttle routes. Instead of the two transit agencies working together to coordinate their services, the two
systems now appeared to be competing in a transit turf war.
The new Ford Road–Meadows Drive shuttle service
originally began as an extra-service operation by DDOT on
Thursday, Dec. 12, 1996. The shuttle would continue as
extra-service through the month of January. Meanwhile,
beginning Saturday, Feb. 1, 1997, DDOT would launch six
new bus routes into the surrounding suburbs, all operating
along established SMART routes. Effective that same day,
the Ford Road shuttle service would become an actual bus
route, to be known as the #5 Ford Meadows Shuttle.
The Ford Meadows Shuttle operated from the Wyoming
Loop at Michigan and Wyoming, and traveled via Wyoming
and Ford Road to Greenfield Road, where it would service
a number of small Dearborn shopping malls located along
both Meadows and Mercury Drives. The line operated with
30-minute headways seven days a week, and operated
between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m, Mondays through
Saturdays, and between 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sundays.
Assigned out of the DDOT Gilbert Terminal, the small
19-passenger #3300-series Goshen Coach buses were
primarily assigned to the line during its first years of
operation. But by the year 2000, the #4000-series 27-
passenger Chance Bus Corp. CNG (compressed natural
gas) bus-trolleys were assigned to the route. Although
DDOT would discontinue most of its expanded suburban
bus routes in January, 1998, the Ford Meadows Shuttle
would survive that round of service eliminations.
However, service was also eventually eliminated on the #5
Ford Meadows Shuttle as well, after DDOT discontinued
the line effective Saturday, September 7, 2002.
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|The route-map for the 2½-mile long DDOT Route #5 Ford Meadows Shuttle. Except for the one-block long portion along northbound
Wyoming, between Michigan Avenue and Ford Road, the entire line operated within the city of Dearborn.
|During it first years of operation, these 19-passenger Goshen |
Coach buses were primarily used on the Ford Meadows Shuttle.
(photo courtesy of Stan Sycko)
|However, by the year 2001, only the 27-passenger Chance Bus |
Corporation built CNG (compressed natural gas) rubber-tired
"nostalgic style" bus-trolleys were assigned to the route.
(photo courtesy of Stan Sycko)
|Route operated under D-DOT