Monthly Archives: September 2011

Speaking of Detroit buses…

According to this Free Press article (via: Garlin), the quality of DDOT‘s service continues to decline.

Fighting a losing battle with metastatic bone cancer, Joe Briscoe has one hope — a miraculous turn in his medical treatment.

But none of that matters, the 62-year-old Detroiter said, if he can’t get to his appointments at St. John Hospital on time because of increasingly tardy buses.

“I sometimes have to wait more than two hours,” Briscoe said during a downpour at his bus stop at Woodward and 7 Mile this week. “I’m missing appointments because the buses have gotten really bad.”

Briscoe is among the roughly one-third of Detroiters who don’t have access to a vehicle, forcing them to rely on public transportation.

Bus tardiness has grown steadily since January, from 28% of the DDOT buses running late to 38% in August.

Read the rest…


I haven’t ridden a bus in Detroit in at least four years (though my limited DDOT experience did include at least one hour plus wait). We’re heading back in November, so I guess I’ll have a chance to see for myself.

Bus art is cool, part II

Back in May, Bus Nerd’s mama (aka my Gail) gave him a subscription to a Detroit city magazine for his birthday. (As you might already know, the man is rather partial to his hometown.) In last month’s issue, there was a profile of an artist who makes replicas of old-school Detroit bus scrolls.

On the old busses and streetcars passengers learned of the various stops by way of signs on destination boxes [which] contained a continuous, two-sided canvas scroll with an alphabetized list of street names. The destination boxes were manually operated by the drivers and operators, using a hand crank.

I sort of hate to admit it, since this will no doubt brand me a “pseudo,”* but we ordered one. (How could we not? Buses + the D + history = goodness x 3.) We chose one that included the name of one of the streets Nerd lived near when he was growing up, so now he has a reminder of home (other than the Vernor’s ginger ale that occupies a full shelf in our refrigerator, that is) out here in the 206. But back to the scroll. Fellow bus chicks, behold:

Detroit bus scroll

Of course, being both a transit geek and a history lover, I was immediately compelled to research the specifics of how the scrolls worked. I didn’t learn much about that (MEHVA types: a little help, please?). What I did learn is that having a bus scroll (or, at least, a bus-scroll-like poster) in one’s home is apparently a “thing.” They’re everywhere on the internets—in Etsy shops and on dedicated sites galore. One of these sites encourages visitors to “design your own scroll for that special someone.”

If your special someone is a bus chick, you probably should.



* This is not a term for the bus glossary, since it’s not transit related (or transit inspired). It is, instead, a Saulty special. “Pseudo,” used as a noun in this case, essentially means a pretentious person. (My brother would provide a more colorful description, but I’m hoping you get the point.)

Walking with Chicklet (or, Why I shouldn’t worry about my kid)

The entire Bus Fam is walking home from the 27 after a lovely downtown shopping adventure*. On the way, we run into a young gentleman who, though possibly somewhat intoxicated, is perfectly friendly and polite.

After saying hello to all of us, he puts his fist out, at Chicklet level, and asks for a pound. Chicklet looks down at his hand, gives him her (in)famous side eye, and says, “My knuckles are hurting.”

The man shrugs off the slight and tries again, this time with an open hand. “How about a high five?” he asks.

Chicklet looks at his hand, then her own, repeats the side eye, and replies, “I think my hand is hurting, too.”


*The purpose of said adventure was to purchase “big-boy dress-up clothes” for Busling, for a wedding we’re attending next weekend. My boy in dress-up clothes = cu-ute!