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Detroit Bus Riders want fare justice, not fare increases!

Detroit Bus Riders want fare justice, not fare increases!

May 1, 2019
For Immediate Release

Detroit People’s Platform fights for a low-income fare policy for public transportation.
Detroit Bus Riders want fare justice, not fare increases!

The Detroit People’s Platform (DPP) is organizing bus riders to insist that the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) create a comprehensive reduced fare policy. DPP says that current reduced fare policy does not adequately serve all those who need it, especially those who use public transit as their sole or main means of transportation. DPP is advocating for veterans, individuals who are homeless, returning citizens, individuals who are unemployed and individuals who have low incomes to be added to the list of those eligible for reduced fare rates. 

Public transit systems connect individuals to essentials such as work, schools, and health care. It is vital that all members of the community can access affordable and quality public transit. Limited transportation access can exasperate other economic, health, and education difficulties. With the prevalence of water-shutoffs, tax foreclosures, and housing cost-burdened families in the city of Detroit, individuals and families cannot afford to pay more to access the things they need. 

As organizers, DPP is committed to raising the voice of Detroit residents and promoting democratic participation in decision-making. DPP says that “Detroit bus riders want fare justice, not fare increases” and that DDOT needs to work with bus riders to create a low-income fare policy.       

DPP’s Transit Justice Team believes public transportation is a civil rights issue and organizes bus riders to fight for reliable, affordable, and quality public transit in a majority black-city. DPP fights for quality and affordable housing, transit justice, and equitable community benefits agreements for major economic development projects.

DPP is encouraging Detroiters to contact city council members and tell them that bus riders deserve affordable access to transit with a low-income fare policy. More information is available on DPP’s website and the Transit Justice Team is available by phone at (313) 338-9396.   

# # #

Renard Monczunski
(313) 338-9396

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Fare Justice Not Fare Increases

Fare Justice Not Fare Increases

DDOT Undergoes Major Changes in September: Restored Access to Woodward in downtown Detroit and Proposed Fare Increases

Keep Woodward on Woodward Campaign a success! 

On September 5th, the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) restored the Woodward #53 now referred to as #4 to its direct route on Woodward Ave all the way through downtown Detroit. The Detroit People’s Platform Transit Justice Team organized the “Keep Woodward on Woodward” campaign collecting signatures from DDOT bus riders 

The campaign demanded the restoration of the Woodward bus through downtown Detroit. This is a major win for residents, restaurant workers, security guards, custodians, and others who work, shop, and access social and government services in downtown Detroit.

We thank the petition signers for their support and the volunteers of the Transit Justice Team for making this win possible!

Fare Justice Not Fare Increases

In early September, DDOT proposed a new fare structure. This proposed fare restructuring will increase the base fare by 33% from $1.50 to $2.00 and will increase the prices of bus passes compared to the current system. The new fare structure will eliminate transfers and replace it with a 4-hour pass for access to any DDOT and SMART bus. It also eliminates the $0.50 fee when a DDOT bus rider transfers to the SMART bus system. Most importantly, all passes under this new proposed fare structure will be rolling passes which can be bought at any time and are only valid once activated. For example, if one purchases a 7-day pass on Tuesday and uses it that day, it will expire 7 days from Tuesday. 

Bus riders still cannot count on DDOT bus service for on-time and reliable access to work, school, medical appointments and worship. In Detroit, families and individuals are facing high rents, losing their homes to tax foreclosures, and experiencing water-shutoffs across the city at an alarming rate.

This is not the time to raise bus fares.  

Detroit Peoples Platform Calls for DDOT bus riders to take the following actions:  

• Call your city councilmember and demand that council vote down the proposed bus fare increases. Urge council to adopt a low-income fare policy instead. This low income fare policy would allow low-income Detroit residents to pay the same reduced fares that seniors, students, and persons with disabilities currently pay. 
• Attend city council meetings and offer public comment. Plan to arrive by 9:30am on Mondays and Tuesdays on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center at 2 Woodward Ave. DPP urges bus riders to leave comments with DDOT regarding the proposed fare increase.  

Detroit City Council main line: (313) 224-3443
Detroit Department of Transportation: (313) 933-1300 or email at:

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Dear Ford, If you want to create tomorrow together, let’s get real today with a legitimate CBA.

Dear Ford, If you want to create tomorrow together, let’s get real today with a legitimate CBA.

October 14, 2018
Detroit – The Equitable Detroit Coalition has released an open letter to Ford Motor Co. This letter challenges Ford to go further and agree to a CBA worthy of a $17 billion multinational corporation.

Ford Motor Co. has a net worth of nearly $17 billion. They want $239 million in tax breaks for their $740 million project in Corktown. They want to “fast track” an abatement of $104 million in city taxes over 35 years to catch another $18.7 million in tax breaks from the state by the end of October.


Monday – Call Council

On Monday, October 15th, we are asking Detroit People’s Platform members and supporters to call their District Council Member and their ‘at large’ Council Members, Council President Brenda Jones and Council Member Janee Ayers. 

Tuesday – Attend Council Meeting and make Public Comment

On Tuesday, October 16th, Detroit City Council will vote on the Community Benefits Agreement for the Ford Corktown project. The meeting will begin at 10am. We advise people to arrive early to locate parking, get a seat and a public comment card.

Share the “Dear Ford” video

Please use #DearFord to share on social media.

Share the “Dear Ford” letter

Dear Ford Motor Co.,

We are the Equitable Detroit Coalition (EDC) the city-wide Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) coalition representing a constituency of nearly 100,000 Detroiters who voted “YES” on Proposal A. Proposal A mandated strong and legally binding Community Benefit Agreements on large projects that receive public subsidy.

To begin, we acknowledge the hard work of community members and the Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) with the Ford Motor Company’s Corktown Project. We also recognize the pressure on the NAC and the community to cooperate and not offend Ford given the unique role the corporation has played in Detroit and Southeast Michigan for the previous 100 years. Yet, we would be remiss not to lift up the fact that the fortunes of Ford Motor Company and the intergenerational wealth of the Ford family were, in part. built on the backs of labor and Detroit workers.

The tensions that many Detroiters hold regarding corporate incentives is well known and documented. In a perfect world these incentives would not exist. Sadly, the political reality is that you, Ford Motor Company, will prevail in your request for $240 million dollars in public tax subsidies successfully diverting millions of dollars from much needed community improvements for decades to come. The community asked for up to $75 million in funds to support a broad array of community benefits including affordable housing for the most vulnerable, neighborhood and infrastructure improvements, workforce training, scholarships and other benefits. Your response was to offer a package of $10 million. This doesn’t go far enough.

Further, we want to remind you that while Ford is preparing for a successful future, many residents live in present day Detroit, where real people are being negatively impacted as part of the changes this and other private economic development projects bring with them. Less than a mile away from your project there are households where families with children exist without water, are threatened with housing displacement, and possibly face forced removal from their community. The median income around the project area is only $23,160.

On behalf of our constituent base, we urge Ford representatives to return to the table and renegotiate a real and legally-binding CBA with community. We challenge Ford Motor Co. to go further and agree to a CBA that is worthy of a $17 billion, multinational corporation. If Ford wants to create tomorrow together, let’s get real today with a legitimate CBA.

The Equitable Detroit Coalition

Download the letterDearFord


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Transit Win! Keep Woodward on Woodward

Transit Win! Keep Woodward on Woodward

The Detroit People’s Platform – Transit Justice Team is very pleased to announce a major victory for DDOT bus riders who use the Woodward #53 bus!

In 2017, we formed the “Keep Woodward on Woodward” campaign to restore the DDOT Woodward #53 bus along Woodward through downtown Detroit. This was in response to a detour that placed DDOT bus riders away from Woodward Ave, as a result of QLine construction. The detour was supposed to be temporary but there were no immediate plans to restore Woodward bus access through downtown Detroit.

In support of the original online petition to restore Woodward bus service through downtown Detroit, the transit justice team mobilized an advisory petition campaign, “Keep Woodward on Woodward” and collected over 570 petition signatures and delivered them to the Director of DDOT.

Link to the online petition:

We are very pleased to announce that we were successful in our campaign and we are very grateful to the bus riders and petition signers who’ve supported our campaign to Keep Woodard on Woodward. Starting September 1st, the Woodward #53 bus will travel directly on Woodward all the way through downtown Detroit. Please see the attached map for more details.

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The QLine opened a year ago. We want our money back!

The QLine opened a year ago. We want our money back!

This weekend marks a year since the QLine’s grand opening. 

The total cost of the project was around $144 million, with almost $75 million coming from public funds. When the QLine opened on May 12th of 2017, Detroit Peoples Platform organized the WhyLine Action with over 100 people participating.

We gathered at multiple QLine stops and asked the important questions that no one else was asking.

Why does this development project use almost $75 million in public funds without a Community Benefit Agreement?

Why doesn’t the rest of the city have reliable public transit?

Why does the QLine exclude most Detroiters?

It’s been a year and now we’re not the only ones asking why.

More and more people recognize the injustice of using our public dollars without real public benefit. Based on an article in Bridge Magazine about the failure of the QLine to meet its numbers the press and media have become more critical of this example of transit gentrification.

One year in, Detroit’s QLine falling well short of expectations

QLine has fewer riders than expected, report says

How Detroit’s Streetcar Overlooked Real Transit Needs to Satisfy a Well-Connected Few

[bctt tweet=”With nearly $75 million in public funds spent on this proven failure Detroiters have every right to demand our money back! #Detroit #QLine #WhyLine #Transit” via=”no”]


Register today for our 2018 Summit!

Majority-Black Detroit Matters

Saturday, September 8, 2018
SEIU Local 1, 2211 East Jefferson Avenue


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The QLine failure isn’t technical

The QLine failure isn’t technical

An article on the QLine’s low numbers by Chastity Pratt Dawsey from the Detroit Journalism Cooperative and Bridge Magazine sparked a great deal of discussion.

“After a year of constant problems, the shiny electric streetcar that hums down Detroit’s main thoroughfare has proven more troubled than trusty.

The QLine, the privately operated streetcar that launched along 3.3 miles of Woodward Avenue last May, attracted less than half of its projected riders for several months its first year, as it was beset by traffic snarls and dwindling popularity.

The train that reaches top speeds of 30 mph averaged more than five stoppages a week, a total of 267, and was frequently operating behind schedule due to parked cars on its tracks and traffic jams near the Little Caesars Arena. 

Records obtained by Bridge Magazine show the streetcar fell well short of expectations of 5,000 to 8,000 riders per day.” Read More

[bctt tweet=”The failure of the QLine isn’t technical. Most Detroiters didn’t want it in the first place and don’t use it. #Detroit ” via=”no”]

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Transit Update Public Transit A Choice or Right?

Transit Update Public Transit A Choice or Right?

[bctt tweet=”As a new Regional Transit Plan is discussed it’s vital we consider ESSENTIAL Riders. Lack of equity in bus service and planning replicates the racism that has historically plagued our transit policy.” via=”no”]

Public transit is a hot topic. The lack of adequate transit has been cited for Amazon’s rejection. Many don’t connect this failure to the race-based policies of our region. There are many recent examples of the shift toward private service and choice options rather than equity for essential riders. [bctt tweet=”Quicken Loans, Wayne State and Henry Ford could use their influence to promote a robust DDOT system rather than use private shuttles.” via=”no”] Also, Quicken and others decided to use our public tax dollars – over $70 million from state, local, and federal funds to build the QLine.  The reliance on public services and the diversion of public funds contributes to inequality.

A modern public transit system responds to the needs of a diverse population. There are as many types of riders as there are people. Here we consider two particular types of bus riders – Essential & Choice Riders…

Essential riders ride the bus for their day-to-day economic and social survival.  They use transit to get to important institutions like schools, banks or credit unions, social services, healthcare, and jobs. They endure neighborhood service that is unreliable, slow, and unavailable when needed most. Essential bus riders have various personal circumstances that make car ownership impossible.

“Choice-rider” is an industry term used by public transit providers that refers to individuals that ride the bus as an option. Choice riders may have access and the means to afford and use a car, but instead “choose” to ride the bus. More often than not They also have the option to use smartphone app-based ride-hailing services like UBER and LYFT.

Public transit authorities cater to choice riders to lure them out of cars and into public transit.  They fit buses with amenities like Wi-Fi, app-based fare and boarding technology, and offer express/commuter routes from more affluent neighborhoods to business/employment districts

Some new services only get people from around the region in and around downtown. These services often give choice riders the option to bypass the very neighborhoods where services are inadequate for Essential riders. [bctt tweet=”This lack of equity in bus service and planning replicates the racism that has historically plagued our transit policy in #Detroit and the region.  ” via=”no”]

A just and equitable  public transit system serves all types of riders. 

Here are some signs that Essential Riders suffer from transit injustice

  • Nearly flat funding has been maintained for DDOT, at $135 million with little emphasis on improving the State Fair Transit Center & little improvement for bus stops & shelters.
  • The creation of routes  that serve areas targeted for investment  with express/commuter service.
  • The expansion of night and weekend service prioritizes main roads and neighborhoods where new population increases are planned.
  • The failure to improve service in all neighborhoods forces families & individuals to ride for hours on a disconnected, under-resourced & unreliable bus system.

Transit Justice is a Civil Rights Issue

The struggle for civil rights and racial equity in public transportation is rooted in the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott which successfully challenged and ended bus segregation. This gave birth to the modern Civil Rights Movement and resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title VI regulations that ensure bus riders are not discriminated on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, and ability/disability status.

It’s in the City Charter!

“The people have a right to expect city government to provide for its residents, decent housing; job opportunities; convenient and comfortable transportation; recreational facilities and activities; cultural enrichment, including libraries and art and historical museums; clean air and waterways, safe drinking water and a sanitary, environmentally sound city.”

“The people have a right to know the rules and regulations governing dealings between the City and the public and to a means for review of administrative decisions.”

Download an easy to print black and white version of this Transit Update to share with your neighbors. 
[wpdm_package id=’2705′]

Take Action! Make Some Calls! Share it Out!

City Council Members

Mayor Duggan

DDOT Leadership

[bctt tweet=”We demand participatory decision-making between riders/residents and DDOT for input on routes and changes in fares and scheduling. #Detroit” via=”no”]

Bus riders must have a say!

Join the Detroit People’s
Platform Transit Justice Team!
Contact Renard Monczunski
(313) 338-9396

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People’s Response to the State of the City #PeoplesSOTC

People’s Response to the State of the City #PeoplesSOTC

What are the REAL Issues in the nation’s largest Majority-Black City?

On March 6th, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will deliver this year’s State of the City address. We are coming together online and in community to offer a People’s Response.

Tuesday, March 6th, 6 – 8:30 p.m.

Join our efforts on social media
or come together in community at
7700 Second Ave. at Pallister
free, secure parking

6 p.m. – Food/Social Media Strategy
7 p.m. – Viewing SOTC on a Big Screen/Social Media Action
8 p.m. – People’s Response Press Conference

We’ll view the Mayor’s State of The City address and respond through social media. After the address we’ll host and broadcast the People’s Response Press Conference and hear from people who are living through the REAL state of the city.


Promote the People’s Response:
[bctt tweet=”On Tues March 6th, #Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will deliver this year’s State of the City address. We are coming together online and in community to offer a People’s Response. Join us #PeoplesSOTC” username=”Detroitpeoples”]

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Amazon HQ2 drops Detroit

Amazon HQ2 drops Detroit
In Mayor Mike Duggan‘s widely circulated response to Detroit being dropped from Amazon’s HQ2 shortlist, he states “he’s going right back to work.” Since he’s going back to work, here’s OUR SHORTLIST of projects the city needs to get on right away:
  • Stop the Water Shutoffs NOW!
  • Build a Detroit-centric transit system that works for all.
  • Invest in neighborhoods in ways that support current residents and are welcoming to an economically diverse population.
  • Build truly affordable housing that answers real Detroiters needs.
  • Bring living wage jobs to the city.
  • Invest in the commons; schools, parks, libraries, and places of culture.
Now that we know Detroit didn’t make the cut for Amazon’s HQ2. We need to remember just how much of our resources those in power are willing to give away to attract projects. Based on their willingness to give it away, we know community must continue to organize to protect, maintain and empower #MajorityBlackDetroit.
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Detroit People’s Platform NEWS 12, MLK Day Edition 2018

Detroit People’s Platform NEWS 12, MLK Day Edition 2018

“In the first century BC, Cicero said: “Freedom is participation in power.” Negroes should never want all power because they would deprive others of their freedom. By the same token, Negroes can never be content without participation in power. America must be a nation in which its multiracial people are  partners in power. This is the essence of democracy toward which all Negro struggles have been directed since the distant past when he was transplanted here in chains.”

– Dr. Martin Luther  King, Jr. Where do we go from here, Chaos or Community?

The new Detroit People’s Platform NEWS hits the streets today! #MajorityBlackDetroit

Download the full paper:


Read the articles online:

Majority Black Detroit – Why Black Cities Matter

Housing Update – Rental Registration Ordinance

2017 in Review

Amend the CBO!

Transit Update


Upcoming Statewide Ballot Proposals

“The cause of a demonstration is the existence of some form of exploitation or oppression that has made it necessary for men of courage and goodwill to protest the evil.”  

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Where do we go from here, Chaos or Community?