That’s what the maize letters on the blue-painted bus promise. In October, the Detroit Connector expanded its number of trips, added a stop at the U-M Dearborn, and, for the first time, allowed those who don’t study or work at the U-M to ride.
Launched in 2013 to strengthen ties between U-M and Detroit, the Connector runs three or four times a day from the U-M’s Central Campus Transit Center to the university’s Detroit Center at Woodward and MLK–the home base for students in the “Semester in Detroit” program. “It seemed a great opportunity to make the university more inclusive,” says Mike Morland, a U-M spokesman.
The service is run under contract by Indian Trails. Originally funded by grants to the Detroit Center, it’s now supported by the provost’s office. The expanded service will cost about $400,000 a year, but the U-M hopes to earn back at least half of that from passenger fares–at $8 ($10 for non-affiliates) it’s competitive with Greyhound’s fluctuating fares, and delivers riders to the Cultural Center rather than downtown. A Facebook user recommends it as a great way “to explore some of the lectures, concerts, museums … in the beautiful, blossoming city of Detroit.”
On a December Saturday afternoon, about twenty-five people were waiting at the transit center. Several students said they were visiting their families in Detroit; one said she appreciated that students on Pell Grants can ride free. A young man from Germany, visiting a friend in Ann Arbor, was going to Noel Night.