People Mover likely to cut back on service as money dries up

From the Detroit Free Press

The Detroit People Mover has enough funding to operate through only December, city officials said Wednesday, as the rail line’s management board approved a 25-cent fare hike that they said, at best, might keep it moving a few extra weeks at its current service level.

Officials said reducing hours and days of operation is a more likely remedy than shutting down the rail line outright, a drastic measure that would undercut the city’s effort to build a new light-rail line along Woodward Avenue.

Regular night and weekend service, for one, could be ended or reduced except for times when special events with higher ridership warrant keeping the People Mover open, the officials said.

The board of the Detroit Transportation Corp., which operates the People Mover, approved the fare increase from 50 cents to 75 cents, the first increase since the 2.9-mile downtown line opened in 1987. The fare hike would take effect in early November, after public hearings this month.

The City Council’s budget deal with Mayor Dave Bing cut $1 million in annual People Mover subsidies. That $1 million had enabled the city to get another $2.6 million in state transit funding. So without it, there’s a combined $3.6-million hole in the People Mover’s annual $19-million budget.

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