Riders board the Big Beaver shuttle at the Troy Civic Center when it launched last December.

Riders board the Big Beaver shuttle at the Troy Civic Center when it launched last December.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Big Beaver shuttle service will run evenings only

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published December 19, 2017

 The stops for the Big Beaver shuttle, such as this one outside of the Starbucks at Big Beaver and Crooks roads, remain the same.

The stops for the Big Beaver shuttle, such as this one outside of the Starbucks at Big Beaver and Crooks roads, remain the same.

File photo by Deb Jacques

TROY — The Big Beaver shuttle service will no longer run mornings, but it will expand to include Saturdays in the new year. 

“We’re still trying to determine the date (for the change),” said Emily Frontera, public works coordinator. “We will have the same stops.” 

The shuttle, free to riders, will run on existing routes — the Red and Blue lines — from 4 to 11 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. 

The City Council, by consensus, decided at a Sept. 11 study session to keep the shuttle moving. 

The city of Troy hires and pays the drivers, maintains the vehicles, and provides dispatch services, fuel, bus stop signs and advertising for the project. 

The Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation provided the vehicles at no cost to the city through grant funding.

Currently, the free Big Beaver shuttle service operates 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. 

West loop, or Red Line, shuttles run from Livernois Road to Coolidge Highway and arrive at stops every 15 minutes or less. Three vehicles service the west loop. 

East loop, or Blue Line, shuttles travel from Livernois Road to John R Road and make stops every 30 minutes or less. One vehicle services that loop. 

At the Sept. 11 study session, Frontera told the council that from December 2016 to September 2017, the shuttle service had 6,300 riders. 

She did not have current ridership numbers. 

Riders have included guests staying at hotels, regular SMART bus riders taking the shuttle to their final destination and residents who use the service for shopping. 

Frontera told the council at the September study session said there was a big jump in ridership — 50 percent — from July to August 2017, and she said the current fiscal year budget for the program is $170,000, of which $145,000 had been spent year to date, and the cost per rider came to $23 per person. 

Frontera said the city is currently working with SMART to develop a smartphone app with Troy branding, similar to Uber, so riders will know when the next shuttle is arriving at a stop. 

SMART is rolling out new limited-stop bus service routes Jan. 1. 

An express service will run along Woodward Avenue from Pontiac to downtown Detroit with approximately 14 stops 15-20 minutes apart.

SMART buses will also run from Somerset Collection to Woodward Avenue. 

“We’ve modified other routes and eliminated others,” said Beth Gibbons, spokesperson for SMART. 

These Somerset-Woodward buses will run with high frequency 6 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays with less frequency on weekends, Gibbons said. “We are also introducing the new limited-stop service on Michigan Avenue — with a direct connection from the airport to downtown Detroit — and Gratiot limited.”

She noted that a 2014 millage increase funded labor contracts and balanced the budget, adding that SMART has replaced its fleet of buses, with delivery of all buses to be completed in 2019. 

“We’re very excited,” she said.