“Detroit’s back,” Vice President Joe Biden shouted at the audience in a city bus depot today.
Sounding like the presidential candidate he insists he is not (yet), Biden touted federal and local efforts to help Detroit rebound.
Biden was in Detroit to formally announce a milestone in the city’s bus service.
For the first time in years, there are actually enough working buses to serve all the city’s bus routes.
In January, 2014, only 58% of Detroit city buses actually made it to the road.
A federal grant totaling nearly $26 million has helped the city to add 80 new buses, bringing the city’s fleet to 192.
Biden says the city’s bus service is tied to jobs.
“What’s good about having a job if you can’t get there?” says Biden. “This is not just about getting around the city. Transportation is the key to connecting people with jobs … and giving them a chance to move up to the middle class.”
Getting Detroit’s bus service working has been a priority for Mayor Mike Duggan.
He says as the buses have returned to service, so has ridership.
“People are starting to trust the bus service again,” says Duggan.
More than 500,000 people rode Detroit city buses in the first week of September.
The city now has enough buses. Bus drivers is another issue.
The city has hired more than 100 new drivers since last year.
There are currently another 22 people taking the city’s bus driving course. Those graduates are expected to take the places of retiring bus drivers.