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 METRO DETROIT — Effective March 17, SMART is offering free fares on all its services in order to eliminate the need for passengers to interact with fare boxes and maintain greater distance from drivers.

METRO DETROIT — Effective March 17, SMART is offering free fares on all its services in order to eliminate the need for passengers to interact with fare boxes and maintain greater distance from drivers.

Photo provided by SMART


SMART service reductions to begin March 23

Free fares for all services currently being offered

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published March 17, 2020 | Updated March 19, 2020 12:13pm

METRO DETROIT — Beginning Monday, March 23, SMART will reduce fixed route services across metro Detroit.

SMART officials said ridership has dropped by 60 percent, due to people working from home and the closure of many businesses and public facilities. By instituting this first structured service reduction, SMART said it will be able to maintain the same hours of service and geographic route coverage while reducing the number of drivers out on the road.

SMART acknowledges the need for those to still get to jobs, medical appointments, grocery stores and pharmacies. The approximate 30% overall reduction in service will lead to a reduced schedule based on maintaining hours of operations and routing of weekday service, while reducing the frequency of bus trips to Saturday service levels.

A reduced service lookup module is available at smartbus.org for riders to check information about route and trip times that may have changed.

“In these unprecedented times, SMART plays a critical role in both getting people who have to get where they need to go while also doing our part to limit the spread of the virus,” SMART Deputy General Manager Robert Cramer stated in a press release. “The dedication of our drivers, mechanics and support staff in these difficult times has been nothing short of amazing.”

On March 17, SMART began offering free fares on all its services in order to eliminate the need for passengers to interact with fare boxes and maintain greater distance from drivers. Free services include fixed route, FAST, connector, shuttles, Dial-A-Ride and ADA until further notice.

Passengers boarding and deboarding fixed route and FAST service will only be allowed through the rear door, with the exception of wheelchair passengers and others who require the bus to kneel. These individuals can board and deboard through the front door. All ADA rules and guidelines will still apply.

Also starting March 17, SMART staff has begun working remotely and is not reporting to authority offices. Employees responsible for critical functions will report to work as required. In addition, all in-person meetings are eliminated and replaced utilizing various technology options to communicate.

SMART has stated it “is continuing to operate full service until further notice. However, fixed route bus service reductions will begin soon due to declining ridership.”

“The reduced bus service is designed to maintain the existing geographic route coverage and similar hours of service with reduced frequency,” SMART said in a March 17 press release. “SMART will provide ample public notice prior to the reduction of service.”

All SMART customer service representatives will have remote access in order to address any questions and schedule rides for connector and ADA. Call (866) 962-5515, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday for more information.