By Claire Bryan, Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 9, 2014
For students itching for a Wednesday afternoon trek to downtown Detroit, finding a ride just got easier.
Beginning on Jan. 15, the MDetroit Center Connector will begin a new Wednesday bus service from Ann Arbor to Detroit.
Students will also be able to reserve a spot on the bus starting Jan. 13 through MDCC’s website. The website also notes if a bus is not running due to harsh weather.
The Transforming Learning for the Third Century Fund — part of a $50 million grant campaign designed to improve teaching and learning at the University in advance of the institution's 2017 bicentennial — has allowed the MDCC to offer a free Wednesday bus service along with the Friday and Saturday bus services in operation since last semester.
Mike Morland, the University’s Detroit Center communications director, said feedback on the route’s success prompted consideration of an additional day.
“Our first semester was very successful,” Morland said. “We received a lot of feedback from people saying how much they enjoyed the service and how it definitely improved their quality and their mission of whatever they were looking to do whether it was to visit Detroit, work in Detroit or even hop on a bus to come home.”
This summer, an initial survey sent to students showed that Wednesday was a popular day for students interested in the bus service, in addition to Fridays and Saturdays. Additional surveys were distributed this fall, and Wednesday again received substantial interest.
The Michigan Detroit Center, the drop-off location for MDCC buses, serves as both an event center as well as a community outreach and engagement facility. This semester, the MDCC’s new reservation system on their website through allows students to cancel or change their reservation prior to boarding the buses.
New boarding assistants, located either on the bus or at the center, will be a contact for students who have questions about bus scheduling. Their job is to provide a voice for the students and make the bus more efficient for riders.
“They act as a liaison between administration and staff that works (at the center) and the people directly on the bus,” Morland said.
As the MDCC becomes more popular, Morland said he hopes the University will eventually run buses seven days a week. These new times would grant more students the opportunity to visit the center and more classes will be able to be offered there.
“We are looking to expand it in the future and hopefully to reach not just from Ann Arbor to Detroit but possibly some of the other U of M campuses as well.”