ARE YOU AWARE? ...That one of the first major route changes to be implemented under the city's newly founded
Department of Transportation (DDOT) back in 1974 was the creation of two new bus lines?
On Wednesday, September 4, 1974, two new DDOT bus routes—"Schaefer" and "Chicago-Davison"—began
their first day of operation. The Chicago-Davison line was created by combining the former Oakman and West
Chicago lines, while the new Schaefer line was extended south from Grand River to the Ford Rouge plant along
portions of the former Oakman bus route. Earlier — back on July 15, 1974 — new express bus service had been
added to two routes. The Schoolcraft Express via Grand River, and the Rouge Park Express via W. Chicago
and Grand River began operations, providing new express service to and from Downtown Detroit.
DID YOU KNOW? ...That the original plans for the current DDOT administration offices and central maintenance
garage also included the construction of a new bus terminal to be built at that same location?
When approved back in 1967, the initial plans for a new DSR headquarters complex called for 1.) a new central
office building, 2.) a heavy repair shop, and 3.) a $6.9 million bus terminal, which would house 300 buses. All
three projects, including land acquisition costs, architectural fees and construction was expected to cost nearly
The central maintenance and administration phases of the project totaled $15 million, and was financed by a $10
million federal HUD grant and $5 million in city funds. Construction began on the complex in March of 1971. The
DSR was able to begin moving into its new headquarters building the same year the department celebrated its
50th Anniversary in 1972. The last department (payroll) made its move into the facility on Monday, December 18,
1972, Construction on the new $6.9 million bus terminal was expected to begin in late 1971, but was never built.
......... IS THAT MUSIC WE HEAR??? Although a city ordinance displayed inside all DDOT coaches reads, "No
Playing Radios On Coach," DDOT experimented with piped in music on a few of its coaches around the middle
1970's. On a trial basis "Music to Ride By" could be heard on coach #2847 on the Dexter line, coach #2841 on
the Michigan-Gratiot line, coach #2924 on the Grand River line and on coach #2842 on the Jefferson line. ♪ ♫ ♪
.... WE LIKE WHAT WE SEE!!! ...When GMC demonstrator #3000 arrived on the property back in May of 1973 for
a 4- month trial by the DSR, evidently DSR officials liked what they saw in the coach's livery (paint scheme). When
orders were placed for DDOT's new fleet of coaches the following year, DDOT adopted the paint scheme colors
for their own. The two following photos show GMC demo #3000 on the left, which remarkably resembles the new
DDOT paint scheme found on the GMC T6H-5307As (coach #1121-on right) which began arriving in June, 1975.
|[Photo #1: HBC-II photos courtesy of the Schramm Collection – Photo #2 courtesy of Melvin Bernero]
DID YOU KNOW? ...That shortly after DDOT took over the DSR system, upper management decided that the
fleet should be repainted and sport the new DDOT livery. Unfortunately, the job done by the hired contractor left
much to be desired. Even the interior seating was repainted to reflect the multi-colored seating found on the new
GMC coaches. As to be expected, the painted seats would eventually start peeling -- it was not a pretty sight!.
The photo below shows former DSR coach #2208 — a 1965 GM model TDH-5303 — posing at the Shoemaker
Terminal after it had been repainted in an attempt to resemble the new DDOT paint scheme. Of course, the more
recent DDOT coach #1113 (left in photo) had originally been painted by GMC Truck & Coach.
SPEAKING OF PAINT JOBS!!!! ....Before the days of computer-generated vinyl bus wrap, full-bus advertisements
had to be painted on the coach, as shown in the following two photos from the early 1970's.....
Of course, advertisers can be a lot more creative with the use of the computer generated images used on today's
vinyl bus wrap ads. For example, check out the following photos sent by DDOT Gilbert Operator Tony Green......
(Please click-on the above thumbnail photos to view a larger size detailed image)
DID YOU KNOW??? ...That DDOT won first place for its original yellow and green stripe design used on its first
fleet of RTS-II coaches that were delivered back in 1978?
According to the July-August 1979 edition of the department's newsletter "DDOT LINES" in an article titled "DOT
Wins First Place," the department was awarded first place in the Institutional Graphic Effectiveness at Night
Category, in a contest held by the Commercial Car Journal and Private Truck Council of America.
According to the newsletter article:
"The design was chosen as the winner because of its ability to increase night visibility due to the striping's
reflective material. At the conference, DOT was praised for supplying the citizens of Detroit with safe coaches."
SPEAKING OF DDOT PAINT DESIGNS ...Since the D.O.T. was first formed back in 1974, its buses have sported
three different color schemes, along with variations on the three. DDOT's original "short-lived" livery of white with
black trimmed windows and green and yellow striping was introduced on the GMC #1000-1100 series "new-look"
fleet which began arriving in June of 1975 (see 4th item - above).
Upon the arrival of the GMC RTS-II fleet in 1978 came another paint design, which included a horizontal yellow
and green stripe that wrapped around the coach (see photo 1 - below). The department then began to repaint the
entire fleet, and patterned it after the RTS paint scheme. During the mid-1980's the front and rear bumpers on the
RTS fleet were painted black (see photo 2 - below), giving the coaches a slightly different look.
Upon the arrival of the eighty-five new #2000 series MCI "Classic" fleet in 1989 came the revised green and
yellow double cross-over stripe design, which also included the "black-bottom" design look (see photo 3 - below).
DDOT then began adding that "black-bottom" look to the entire fleet (see photo 4 - below). The basic 1989 paint
scheme is still being used today, although the "black-bottom" look disappeared after the arrival of the first #3200
series NovaBUS RTS's in 1995 (see photo 6 - below).
(Click-on thumbnail photos #1 and #4 above to view larger image)
AN ON-LINE DDOT SYSTEM MAP ...From time to time the discussion arises over at my "DSR-2-DOT" discussion
group (located over in Yahoo!Groups) regarding the absence of an online system-wide route map on the "official"
DDOT web-site at www.RideDetroitTransit.com
Well, wouldn't you know that it would take a graphic designer all the way from Orléans, France to come up with a
DDOT System Map that can be viewed online. Aurélien Boyer-Moraes (who is also a member of DSR-2-DOT)
is a young French graphic designer who also specializes in transportation system cartography. He has granted
me permission to display a "jpeg" image version of his map project on the DetroitTransitHistory.info web-site.
It is also his desire that the powers that be at DDOT would take a look at his project for possible consideration on
the DDOT site. You can view his DDOT System Map by clicking-on DDOT SYSTEM MAP 2006.
D-DOT ON A BILLBOARD? ...It's not very often when you run across any advertisement featuring DDOT. Sure,
there are the occasional radio ads from time to time, but the use of the visual advertisement media has been rare,
to say the least. But with the arrival of the 2007 North American International Auto Show came also a number
of CBS Outdoor billboards visible around town that featured the city's Department of Transportation (DDOT).
Not only was DDOT featured on the smaller-size 30-sheet 12' x 24' poster boards, but DDOT also made the larger
highway-size 14' x 48' bulletins as well. Two separate messages were featured on the boards -- one displaying
the AUTO SHOW PARK & RIDE $4 round trip shuttles leaving the Detroit Zoo or Greenfield Village, and the other
displaying the 50¢ AUTO SHOW DOWNTOWN SHUTTLE from Greektown and Joe Lewis Arena. Of course, a few
promotional liberties were taken in changing the DDOT NewFlyer coach number to "2007" in order to reflect the
2007 AUTO SHOW. But it's all good! Maybe all this will mean the beginning of something new?!
|D-DOT "2007 AUTO SHOW SHUTTLE" BILLBOARD CAMPAIGN PHOTOS|
|(Photos #1and #2 courtesy of Roger K. Craig and photo #3 courtesy of Dennis C. Craig)|
(Please click-on the above thumbnail photos to view the larger size detailed images)
MUCH MORE "D-DOT TRIVIA & STUFF" TO COME LATER.......
|If you know of any little known "short" interesting trivia or historical facts about DDOT feel free to pass them along
to us for possible consideration for future posting on this site.
|Feel free to contact the Site Owner at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(TO OUR RECENT VISITORS: HITTING "REFRESH" ON YOUR BROWSER WILL BRING UP THE MOST RECENT VERSION OF THIS PAGE)
|(Photo #4 -Detroit News photo)
© 2006 - 2010 (PAGE LAST UPDATED ON 01-02-10)
|[HBC-II photo courtesy of the Schramm Collection]
|DDOT paint design first introduced on the RTS fleet in 1979|
(HBC-II photo courtesy of the Schramm Collection)
|Bumpers were painted black on the RTS's during the '80s|
(1989 Bernard Drouillard photo -- www.barp.ca)
|The MCI Classics introduced the cross-over design in 1989|
(photo courtesy of M. Koprowicz's METROBUS@msngroups)
|During the '90s all buses were painted black at the bottom|
(photo courtesy of DDOT operator Karl Marshall)
|NewFlyers delivered in 1992 sported the black-bottom look|
(photo courtesy of M. Koprowicz's METROBUS@msngroups)
|The current paint design being used by DDOT|
(photo courtesy of M. Koprowicz's METROBUS@msngroups)
WHY IS TIMES SQUARE CALLED TIMES SQUARE? ...Well, before the DDOT Downtown Transit Center was
officially named the "Rosa Parks Transit Center" back in November of 2005, it was originally referred to as the
Times Square Transit Center. Since the facility was to be built on Times Square, that name was more than
fitting. ....But what I find interesting is that a great number of Detroiters are not even aware that Detroit
has a Times Square, much less where it's located.
Detroit's "Times Square" is actually the name of the two-block long downtown street which runs diagonally along
the west side of a triangular shaped park (known as "Times Square Park") that's located along the north side of
State Street. The street runs between Cass and Clifford streets. DurIng the city's early years the street was known
as West Park, as opposed to E. Park Place which ran along-side the east side of the park.
Of course the name conjures up images of the iconic Times Square in New York City, but unfortunately, the Times
Square here in Detroit nowhere resembles that world famous New York City landmark. Actually, the Detroit Times
Square owes its distinctive name to one of the city's now defunct daily newspapers.
The street was renamed Times Square back when the offices belonging to the former Detroit Times newspaper
were once located there. The former Detroit Times Building (left photo) was located on the north-east corner of
Cass and Times Square, and sat directly across the street from Times Square Park (right photo), which has now
been removed to make way for the new transit center. Most of the block that once housed the ol' Times Building
currently houses a parking lot, and won't become part of the new DDOT Rosa Parks Transit Center.
The Detroit Times began publishing back in 1900. It was purchased by the William Randolph Hurst newspaper
chain in 1921. The Times continued publishing until November of 1960, when it was bought out and closed down
by one of its rivals—The Detroit News. The Times Building, built in 1929, was demolished in February of 1978.
|(photo source: Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University)
NEW D-DOT BILLBOARDS! ....Last year during this time a number of billboards were popping up around the city
advertising DDOT in conjunction with the 2007 North American International Auto Show and promoting shuttle
bus service to that event (see 3 items above). Well, for 2008 it looks like DDOT has decided to go the solo route with
the outdoor advertising campaign.
A number of CBS Outdoor billboards have been appearing around town proclaiming messages such as "SAVE
GAS... SAVE MONEY... RIDE DDOT" and "DEALING WITH HIGH GAS PRICES & STRESSFUL TRAFFIC? —>
RIDE DDOT" And just like in 2007, these ads have not only been featured on the smaller-size 30-sheet 12' x 24'
poster boards, but also on those larger more expensive highway-size 14' x 48' bulletins as well.
Other than a few select radio spots over the years, DDOT has seldom promoted its regular service via other forms
of advertising. Is DDOT advertising now headed in a new direction? ....Could the TV airwaves be next?
All this reminds me of the following... "Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise" — Ted Turner
Here are a few photos of those billboard ads spotted around town, courtesy of Reggie Craig.....
|WB I-96 Service Drive @ Tireman
|NB Livernois @ Ford (I-94) Freeway
|SB WoodwardAvenue @ State Fair Avenue
|WB Jeffries (I-96) Freeway @ Elmhurst
STAND UP AND TELL 'EM YOU'RE FROM DETROIT! For those of you who remember, that famous slogan was
used by Detroit's WXYZ-TV Channel 7 in station promos back during the mid-1980's.
Well, the folks at DDOT have taken heed and de-
cided to do the same, i.e., "...Tell 'Em You're from
Detroit." Back in September of 2007, the Detroit
Department of Transportation (DDOT) redesign-
ed its logo to more reflect an identification with the
City of Detroit. The previous logo — used with sight
variations since 1974 — displayed a stand-alone
d.o.t., while the new logo adds "Detroit" to the mix.
|Redesigned DDOT Logo launched 2007
|BTW – For those who don't remember that Channel 7 promo, check out one that's currently posted on YouTube,
where former DDOT operator and Washing Boulevard Trolley motorman Leroy Hammond gets the promo stated
during the first few seconds of the commercial.
That YouTube video can be viewed by clicking-on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycUpITiEkj0
X X X X X
DDOT'S GILBERT TERMINAL CELEBRATES SIXTY YEARS OF TRANSIT SERVICE.....
On Friday, June 6, 2008, the DDOT
Gilbert Terminal celebrated 60 years
of transit service to Detroiters. To help
commemorate this event a pancake
breakfast, a hot dog lunch, balloons
and a 60th Anniversary cake were all
part of the celebration.
Four display boards — assembled by
Gilbert Station Master H.B.Craig,II,
who, by the way, is also owner of this
website — were on hand to showcase
the facility's sixty years of service. In
addition to printed handouts, a 60th
Anniversary key-chain was distributed
to Gilbert operators, staff personnel
and others in attendance.
It was back on Sunday, June 6, 1948,
when the Gilbert Terminal and Garage
opened as the first DSR facility built
solely for bus usage. It was named in
honor of the late Samuel T. Gilbert,
the post-WWII president of the Detroit
Street Railway Commission, and a big
|Gilbert Station Master H.B.Craig,II stands beside one of the display-boards
used to look back at the early years of the Gilbert Terminal and the D.S.R.
|(Click-on photo to view a larger more-detailed image of displayboard)
advocate of turning the city's transit system into an "all-bus" operation. The Dexter bus line was the first bus
route to operate out of the new facility.
|Three display-boards were also on hand during
the festivities that featured the various bus fleets
that had been assigned to the Gilbert Terminal
during the past 60 years. Two of the boards (left)
focused on the coaches under the DSR era, while
the third (above) looked back at those coaches
assigned under DDOT. All four boards are
currently on display in the Gilbert Terminal lobby.
|BUSES ASSIGNED TO GILBERT DOWN
THRU THE YEARS, ON PHOTO DISPLAY
|— All photos courtesy of Reggie Craig
On Saturday, August 16, 2008, the
Annual After-School / Back-To-
School Enrollment Fair was held at
Belle Isle Park in Detroit. The event,
considered the official kick-off of the
new school year, featured enrollment
options and tons of entertainment for
families of DPS students. One of the
several organizations in attendance
included the city's own transportation
At the DDOT Tent, both parents and
students could participate in back-to-
school related transportation events,
obtain Trip Planning information to and
from school, purchase DDOT Fare
Cards, pick-up free DDOT give-aways
and view an on-board demonstration
on how to ride the bus.
One additional event included "a trip
back in time on a Historic DDOT Bus."
Parents and students were able to sit
onboard a 40-year-old transit bus that
use to operate along the streets of
Detroit, back in the day. The facilitator
DDOT 1968 VINTAGE BUS JOINS MAYOR'S ANNUAL BACK-TO-SCHOOL EVENT......
|THE OLD AND THE NEW: Former DSR/DDOT transit coach #2621 (built by GMC Truck & Coach in 1968) joined DDOT
coach #4208 (a NewFlyer 2005 model D40LF) at the annual Back-To-School Fair held at Detroit's Belle Isle Park.
|— Photo courtesy of DDOT's Geena Schofield
|DDOT's H.B.Craig,II poses in front of coach #2621, which for nearly fifteen
years operated along Detroit streets, from 1968 thru the early '80s. TTS Craig
definitely remembers driving these same #2600-series GMC coaches during
his early years at DDOT as a coach operator. — Photo courtesy of G. Schofield
on board for this portion of the event was, ...you guessed it, ...none other than yours truly!!
DDOT coach #2621, a General Motors Corp. built model T6H-5305, was first delivered to the city of Detroit back
in June of 1968, under the former DSR. The city's current transit provider, DDOT, has preserved the coach and
restored it so that it closely resembles the way it looked when it was in service over twenty years ago. I'm told that
aside from the rear door operation, the coach is basically fully functional after all these years.
|Here, I am at work discussing with those in attendance the history behind vintage 1968 transit bus #2621. In right
photo, I can be seen pointing to a display-board featuring five decades of Detroit transit buses. Don't tell anyone I
said this, but I think the parents enjoyed the historic bus portion of the event more than the kids. (smile)
|— Photos courtesy of Reggie Craig
recently launched five new express routes on June 16, 2008, at one time in the city's history as many as twenty
express bus routes operated along the streets of Detroit.
During the 1970's, until most express routes were eliminated in 1988 because of equipment shortage problems,
express buses could be found operating on lines such as Fenkell, Hamilton, Jefferson, Joy Road, Oakland,
Schoolcraft and Vernor-Mack, to name a few. For an extra nickel fare DDOT riders could arrive downtown to
their jobs much quicker than using the regular local service, which in many instances also required a transfer.
But good news could be on the horizon for Express service if the five current new routes prove successful. Future
DDOT plans include the possible expansion of Express service on lines such as Eight Mile, Fort, Greenfield,
Jefferson, McNichols, Michigan, Seven Mile and W. Warren. And who knows? If dependable and promoted
correctly, these express routes might even entice many die-hard auto drivers faced with high gas prices to try the
bus for a change.
DID YOU KNOW??? ....that even though the city's transportation department (DDOT)
Former DSR coach #2320 (left photo) — a 1966
model TDH-5303 GM "new look" coach — can be
seen here in front of the Gilbert Terminal storage
bays sometime around 1973 while advertising the
"75th Anniversary of Pepsi-Cola."
[HBC-II Photo courtesy of the Schramm Collection]
|In this April 1974 photo (right), former
DSR coach #2304 can be seen here
laying-over on the north side of Cadillac
Square, mid-way along the block
between Bates and Monroe streets.
"Tessier Oldsmobile" had rented
the full space on this coach for its
|FULL-BUS ADS FROM "BACK IN THE DAY"
(Click-on photos for larger version)
|(For more on the history of the Detroit Times visit the website BuildingsOfDetroit.COM — Detroit Times Building)
|UPDATE: All five express routes launched on June 16, 2008 were discontinued by DDOT on April 18, 2009
|The unique website which takes a detailed look back at the History of Public Transportation in
and around the City of Detroit.