Meanwhile, major changes would occur during one of the first major
route adjustments to be made under the Detroit Department of
Transportation (DDOT). Effective on Wednesday, September 4,
1974, the combined Broadstreet-W. Chicago route was separat-
ed once again. Although the #7 Broadstreet line would again be-
come a separate bus route, the former #93 West Chicago route
was instead combined with the portion of the #72 Oakman route
which operated north of W. Chicago. This resulted in the formation
of the #93 Chicago-Davison route, which continues operating to
Shortly thereafter, new routes numbers were assigned to all DDOT
bus routes. The new route became route #15 Chicago-Davison,
while the express service became route #83 Rouge Express.
|© 2007 (PAGE LAST MODIFIED ON 10-28-07)
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The West Chicago bus line was the third bus line to begin operations under the DSR's Motor Coach Division, but was
actually the 'sixth' bus route to be put into service by the DSR. Service on the DSR's first three bus routes was originally
contracted out to other privately-owned bus companies. But shortly after the department's Motor Coach Division be-
gan operations on January 1, 1925, the DSR would begin operating those lines using its own buses.
The West Chicago bus line actually began on January 11, 1925 as the "Plymouth" bus line. This was because prior to
1926, the street we know today as "West Chicago"— although known as Chicago Blvd. west of the city limits, in what
was then Greenfield Township — was originally known as "Plymouth Road" within the then Detroit city limits, which at
that time ended at Meyers Road. Meanwhile, the street we know today as "Plymouth Road" was known then as "Coon
Avenue." But after the last portion of Greenfield Township — between Meyers and Greenfield Roads — was annexed to
the City of Detroit in 1926, Coon Avenue was then renamed Plymouth Road, while the former Plymouth Road (one-half
mile to the south), between Meyers and Grand River, was renamed West Chicago.
The original bus route served as a feeder line to the Grand River streetcar, operating from Chicago Blvd. (Plymouth) and
Monnier Road (the present-day Schaefer Road) in Greenfield Township, via Chicago (then known as Plymouth) to Grand
River in Detroit. The route was extended via Grand River to Ravenswood, near the recently opened Riviera Theater, on
September 18, 1925. The route was renamed the "West Chicago" bus line on September 22, 1926, when the former
Plymouth Road in Detroit was renamed as West Chicago. In January of 1928, service was extended to W. Chicago and
St. Marys (west of Greenfield).
Early service along W. Chicago operated out of the DSR's leased American Garage, which was located on Grand River
and American street. Headways averaged 10 minutes during peak-hours and 20 minutes for the base. The line was later
transferred to the new Coolidge Terminal shortly after it opened in 1928.
On November 1, 1931, the West Chicago line was combined with the Broadstreet bus line forming the Broadstreet-
West Chicago line. Although the Broadstreet-West Chicago service only operated along West Chicago to Coolidge
(Schaefer), rush-hour trips were made to St. Marys. Service along W. Chicago was later extended to Abington, then to
Penrod, and by May 1940, service had been extended via Evergreen to Joy Road. However, the combined routing with
the Broadsrteet line was discontinued on November 21, 1948, and the West Chicago once again became a separate
Effective January 21, 1949, service was extended along W.
Chicago to Burt Road and Western Drive (the present-day
Orangelawn) in Rouge Park. Burt Road has continued as the
western terminus for Chicago bus service to this day. During
the post-war years, service operated 24-hours, with one owl
coach operating only to Evergreen Road. However, 24-hour
service on the line was discontinued during the early 1950's.
A June 1954, DSR route analysis summary shows that head-
ways on the West Chicago line averaged 6½ to 9 minutes
during peak-hours and 20 minutes during the base, with 7-8
coaches needed to maintain peak-hour operation, and 3 the
remainder of the day. By 1968, the headways had increased
to 18--20 minutes during peak-hours, 30 minutes during the
base, and 60 minutes during evening hours. But aside from
a few route adjustments made along the route's eastern end
D.S.R. Route #93
|This 1968 map shows the 6.4-mile route of the DSR's former #93 W. Chicago line. When it became a separate
bus route in November of 1948, the eastern terminus for the line looped via Beechwood, Joy Road, Yosemite,
Ravenswood, and Grand River. The circled area shows the route adjustment made effective February 19, 1968.
|This 1971 map shows a route adjustment to
the line as a result of the Jeffries Freeway
constructed just to the west of Grand River.
The change actually returned the route to its
original terminus during its earlier years.
During one of the last major route adjustments made under the DSR, the #93 West Chicago bus line was once again
combined with the #7 Broadstreet line, effective June 15, 1973. On that day, a total of six bus routes were combined
and a number of routes were eliminated. When the DSR became DDOT on July 1, 1974, service along W. Chicago was
being operated as the Broadstreet-W. Chicago line.
Fourteen days after DDOT took over operations, a new express bus service was added along the West Chicago portion
of the route. Effective, Monday, July 15, 1974, the Rouge Park Express via W. Chicago began operations. The route
serviced W. Chicago west of Grand River, and then operated via express along Grand River into Downtown Detroit. The
new service would remain in operation until July 20, 1981—the day most DDOT express routes were discontinued.
— primarily because of the construction and completion of the Jeffries Freeway along the Grand
River corridor — the route itself would remain unchanged through its remaining years of operation.
However, major service changes would soon be in store for passengers along West Chicago.
|During the early to mid-1960's it wasn't uncommon to find
these smaller (40-45-passenger) #1000-1100 series GM
diesel buses operating on the West Chicago line.
(photo courtesy of Stan Sycko)
Information for the above article compiled from data information supplied by Jack E. Schramm, courtesy of "DSR BUS ROUTES, 1922-1932" ("Detroit's DSR,
Part 1" -- January-February 1991 edition of Motor Coach Age magazine),"DSR BUS ROUTES, 1932-1945" ("Detroit's DSR, Part 2" -- March-April 1992
edition of MCA magazine), and "DSR BUS ROUTES, 1945-1974" ("Detroit's DSR, Part 3" -- May-June 1993 edition of MCA magazine). Additional info
obtained from 1954 DSR Schedule Analysis and Headway Reports courtesy of Tom Breeding, and 1957-58, 1963 and 1968 thru 1972 DSR Service Maps in
the author's possession. The 1970 West Chicago transfer courtesy of the Stan Sycko collection.