Public Transportation

Public Transportation

Public transportation offers an affordable and accessible mode of transportation for everyone. By using public transportation, you have greater access to employment, education, healthcare, and other essential services, as well as greater opportunities to participate in social and recreational activities.

Find Transit Where You Live

Trouble finding accessible transportation? We created this interactive guide to help you navigate the complex transportation system within Michigan.

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Find Transit Where You Live

Which Mode of Transportation is Right for You?

FX
Fixed
DR
Demand Response
FL
Flexible
P
Paratransit
Fixed

Fixed Route (FX)

Fixed vehicles travel on specific routes and schedules that don’t change.

Terms

  • Routes – roads don’t change.
  • Schedules – times and dates don’t change.
  • “Stops” – locations where riders are picked up and dropped off.

FX Example

A fixed route in Detroit is called, “32 McNicols”. The 32 McNicols schedule runs every 60 minutes on the weekend. One of the “stops” on 32 McNicols is “Mack & University”.

Learn More About Modes of Transportation
Demand Response

Demand Response (DR)

Demand response is when the riders request a ride.

Terms

  • Origin – the location where you are picked up.
  • Destination – the location where you are dropped off.

Scheduling

  • Call your local transit office.
  • Book online or through an “app”.

Types

  • Door-to-door: vehicle will come right to your residence.
  • Curb-to-curb: vehicle stops at the curb nearest to your residence or destination.
Learn More About Modes of Transportation
Flexible

Flexible (FL)

Flexible route is when a vehicle will deviate from an established route for pickup/drop off.

FL Example

The Benton Harbor area has two flexible routes, called the “Blue Route” and the “Red Route”. These vehicles travel on specific routes, but riders can request “flex” stops at grocery stores, etc.

Learn More About Modes of Transportation
Paratransit

Paratransit (P)

Paratransit is a public, shared ride service that is provided by a transit agency who offers a Fixed Route (FX) system. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires a paratransit option if riders are unable to use the fixed route system.

Verification

Transit locations may ask you to complete an application to verify why you can’t use the fixed route system.

Rules

  • Paratransit is a door-to-door service that operates at the same times and areas as the Fixed Route (FX).
  • You must live within ¾ miles from a fixed bus stop to use paratransit services.
Learn More About Modes of Transportation

Know Your Rights: Public Transportation Advocacy

Still have questions? View our Transportation Resources or Contact DRM.

Transportation Resources

Travel Assistance: Training and Planning

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Non-Emergency Medical Transportation

View Resource

Transportation Modes

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Michigan Universal Reduced Fare Card

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Transit Navigation and Accessibility Apps and Tools

View Resource
Helpful Organizations
Transportation Riders United Logo

Transportation Riders United

TRU works to improve public transit in greater Detroit through education, engagement, and advocacy.

Website
Detroit People’s Platform Transit Justice Team Logo

Detroit People’s Platform Transit Justice Team

Striving for equity in Detroit’s Department of Transportation for essential riders.

Website
Disability Network Southwest Michigan Logo

Disability Network Southwest Michigan

Monitors the Kalamazoo County public transit to ensure it complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Website
Mobility for All Michigan Logo

Mobility for All Michigan

A coalition of mobility advocates working for a transportation system that moves people safely and efficiently, regardless of how they choose to travel.

Website
Programs to Educate All Cyclists Logo

Programs to Educate All Cyclists

PEAC advocates for transportation equity for Michiganders with disabilities. Their travel training programs teach people how to ride bikes and public transit safely and independently.

Website
MyRide2 Logo

MyRide2

Connecting seniors & adults with disabilities to rides. Serves Oakland, Macomb, Wayne and Washtenaw

Website
Filing Complaints

You have legal rights when it comes to public transportation. There are several laws requiring public transportation agencies to provide accessible services to individuals with disabilities. Civil Rights also protect people using public transit services from discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion.

ADA Requirements

Transit agencies must comply with ADA requirement that apply to them. To learn more, visit the National RTAP website for their ADA Toolkit.

ADA Coordinators

Before you file a complaint, it is strongly recommended you attempt to resolve your issue with the transit agency. Transit agencies have ADA Coordinators or Title VI Coordinators who can assist you. If your issue is still not resolved, you should file a complaint.

Filing a Complaint

If you need a complaint form or help filing out the form, the ADA and Title VI Coordinators are required to help you. If the agency does not provide a sufficient remedy, you can file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Transportation, and/or the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Office of Civil Rights.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still looking to get your transportation questions answered? Contact DRM.

What is a flag stop? When the bus stops at a location not on the route. While they are not a direct violation of the ADA, flag stops can create problems for individuals with disabilities who can’t notify a driver. Recommendations
  • Drivers are encouraged to stop for individuals using a mobility device, holding a white cane, or accompanied by a service animal.
  • Passengers should telephone the dispatcher in advance to request a pick-up at a specific location along the route. Dispatch will alert the driver.
The ADA requires fixed routes to be accessible, including flag stop systems. If the transit agency is not addressing your concerns, call DRM for assistance.
It depends. While not required by law, most public transit agencies offer discounts for demand response rides (seniors/individuals with disabilities). Visit our County Directory for the standard and reduced fare (if applicable) rates for your local transit agencies’ services. Under the Federal Transit Act, federally subsidized transit providers may not charge more than half of the peak fare for fixed route transit during off-peak hours (seniors/individuals with disabilities/Medicare cardholders). This is not an ADA requirement, nor does it apply to demand response or complementary paratransit rides.
Yes. If the exception does not pose a safety hazard, transit agencies must make reasonable accommodations so individuals with disabilities can use their services. For instance, requesting pick-up in the driveway vs. the curb. Tips
  • Explain your request in advance.
  • You may be required to fill out a reasonable accommodation request form. Your transit agency’s ADA Coordinator can assist.
  • If your request is denied, without an explanation, you can call DRM.
Michigan provides public transportation to millions of people per year. The state’s ridership report shows that over 30 million public transit rides were provided in FY 2021.
According to a 2021 report by National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, communities that invest in public transit reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by 63 million metric tons per year. A typical public transit trip emits 55% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than driving.
Each Public transit has their own policies regarding items on a bus. These are usually stated on their website.
  • Some give a specific number of items (or bags).
  • Some give general guidelines.
  • Call your public transit if you have questions.
Some public transit agencies offer a “subscription” service and prioritize these rides. This means subscription riders get first preference before one-time riders. Check your transit provider's service details on our interactive map or contact them for more information about their subscription service.
  • Assistance - You can call your public transit for help.
  • ADA Coordinator - Public transit agencies have “ADA Coordinators”. They help individuals with disabilities understand their rights using transit.
  • Travel Training – some agencies provide travel training –  learn more.
You have a few options.
  • Talk to your public transit agency. It’s best to start by telling the transit agency what happened. They may offer solutions if they are made aware of the problem.
  • File an ADA complaint. For riders with verified disabilities, you can file an ADA complaint with public transit. They are required to have a complaint process. Complaint forms can be found on a public transit’s website or request a copy in the mail.
  • If your public transit has failed to resolve your issue, even after filing a complaint, you may also file an ADA complaint with the Michigan Department of Transportation, and/or the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Office of Civil Rights.

Share your Transit Story

DRM wants to hear from you! We can only advocate for change if we know the transportation barriers you’re facing. Let us know what is working and let us know what is not working. Whether you’ve had a negative or positive experience, please take a few minutes to share with us.

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