TheRide will begin service improvements around Ann Arbor, Mich, after voters supported plans to improve the system during the next five years.
Photo credit: Ann Arbor Transportation Authority
On May 6, voters in the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township approved a Public Transportation Improvement Millage by over 70 percent. TheRide will be using the additional millage funds to phase in an increase in service of 44 percent; which equates to about 57,000 more hours of service for Ann Arbor, nearly 8,500 more in Ypsilanti, and at least 9,400 hours of new service in Ypsilanti Township.
The benefits that riders will enjoy beginning on August 24 include:
- Later weekday and weekend service will be provided on 19 routes.
- Saturday morning service on Route 4-Washtenaw will change from hourly service to every 30 minutes.
- Saturday service will be available on Route 20-Ypsilanti Grove-Ecorse.
- An additional trip will be added to Route 12B leaving the BTC at 6:03 p.m.
- Evening trips on Route 3-Huron River will begin serving the city of Ypsilanti and Washtenaw Community College.
- A new route will be added connecting downtown Ypsilanti with the Ford Lake area in Ypsilanti Township and to serve the Ypsilanti District Library on Whittaker Rd.
- ARide service for seniors and people with a disability will see expanded service hours during weekdays and Saturday evenings; as well as an expanded service area south of Ford Lake (including the Ypsilanti District Library, Kroger, and the Ypsilanti Township Civic Center).
- NightRide service will begin one hour later on weekdays and Saturdays.
According to economic projection models developed by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) using AAATA’s data, the economic impact of improved public transit in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti urban core is projected to increase from $62.5 million today to at least $96 million annually. MDOT-based projections and AAATA estimates also show the economic impact from improved public transit in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti urban core will create at least 250 additional jobs and free up as many as 1,000 daily parking spaces in downtown Ann Arbor alone.
“We provide free comprehensive eye exams and glasses to community members in need. TheRide’s new Route 46 will provide much needed access to those who otherwise could not travel to and from The Eye Gallery on Whittaker Road,” said Dr. Arnold Bulos. Bulos created his own practice where residents could go locally and receive the care that is not possible through large chains. The Eye Gallery was recently named among the top U.S. independent optical businesses by INVISION, a new business magazine for eyecare professionals. “Route 46 gives the greater Ypsilanti community better access to high quality care with a local focus.”
“The Ride has been a valuable community resource and active partner with Eastern," said Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin. "It helps our students, faculty and staff travel to class, work, job interviews, and to visit local businesses around our campus and throughout the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor area. The expansion of AAATA services provides even more opportunities for our students and employees and benefits the local economy and environment."
Brenda Stumbo, Ypsilanti Township Supervisor said “Our seniors will benefit greatly from the increased services and I'm so proud to represent a community that supports increasing transportation services for our residents that will help lift up our community and enhance accessibility for all.”
"Broadening access to more and better public transit will help continue Ann Arbor's robust job growth and enhance our city's quality of life," said Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje. "The service improvements TheRide is implementing as a result of the millage approval on May 6 will help to reduce traffic congestion and improve local air quality."
"Access to transportation services are vital for quality of life for people with disabilities. They provide greater opportunities for community inclusion: access to jobs, education, healthcare and every day destinations,” said Carolyn Grawi, Vice President and Chief Program Officer for the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living and a member of Partners For Transit. “Many of us take for granted the access that people with disabilities fight for every day. TheRide has been a strong supporter of people with disabilities. Partners for Transit, the Ann Arbor CIL and I are proud to have been a part of the community making these services a reality.”
“We appreciate the confidence voters expressed to improve and expand public transportation services in the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and in Ypsilanti Township. The real winners are senior citizens, people with disabilities, workers, students and their families who rely on effective and affordable public transportation to preserve their independence, attend classes and maintain employment,” said Michael G. Ford, CEO of TheRide. “We’re proud to offer you even better connectivity moving forward, as we work to implement the improvements you’ve been asking for; making your rides with us even more convenient and enjoyable during the next five years and beyond.”