The Ann Arbor Transit Authority’s constituents might find they have more efficient travels between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti in upcoming years.
AATA spokeswoman Mary Stasiak said the transit authority is responding to people’s needs by proposing to expand its services in the next few years. In addition to extending some of its current services between the two cities, AATA is also proposing several new services including a shuttle to the Detroit Metro Airport.
Due to a long-time demand, the AATA has proposed expanding its bus service along Washtenaw Avenue, otherwise known as Route 4, Stasiak said.
AATA will also be expanding Night Ride, a late-night shared taxi service that currently operates within Ann Arbor. With the changes, the service would expand to areas in Ann Arbor Township and Ypsilanti. While AATA considers its services at peak commuting hours to be sufficient, the expansion of Night Ride was prompted by residents’ varying schedules, according to Stasiak.
“There’s still a lot of people who have different schedules than that, and they still need transit service,” she said.
Stasiak noted that increased crime in the Ann Arbor area was not a reason for the proposed Night Ride expansion.
The AATA also plans to increase its vanpool service. Stasiak said the service has become popular for residents who live outside of the AATA service area, many of whom are University employees.
As a part of the service, the AATA provides vans for groups of commuters who are going to similar destinations, and the members of the vanpool contribute money for fuel. Because the state offers a limited amount of funds for vanpool services, AATA has decided to use money from its own budget to provide for expanded vanpools in Washtenaw County, Stasiak said.
“It’s a really easy way to commute,” she said.
Also included in the AATA proposal is an airport shuttle service, an addition residents have been requesting for several years, Stasiak said. The shuttle will be the first public transit service between the airport and Washtenaw County.
“We have issued a request for proposals, and we are evaluating those proposals,” Stasiak said.
The AATA airport shuttle isn’t intended to compete or take the place of airBus — an airport shuttle for University students sponsored by The Michigan Student Assembly. The airBus costs $7 or $11 per person depending on the trip and reservation status, according to the airBus website.
“That service plays a very, very important role when there are a tremendous amount of passengers traveling between the airport and Ann Arbor at really high-peak periods, and we don’t see ourselves replacing that at all,” Stasiak said. “In fact, we would encourage people to use that service.”
Residents are encouraged to comment on the projected changes to Route 4 and the proposed airport service, Stasiak said. AATA will also be hosting a public forum at the Michigan Union.
City Council member Tony Derezinski (D–Ward 2) praised AATA for addressing the shifting and various needs of residents.
“The plan is comprehensive in that it not only encompasses the areas that we should be addressing, but also the different modes of transportation,” Derezinski said. “It’s a very good plan, one I think that will be particularly welcomed by people who come into Ann Arbor and the communities around here.”