D-DOT Route #5
The route-map for the 2½-mile long DDOT Route #5 Ford Meadows Shuttle. Except for the one-block long portion along northbound
Wyoming, between Michigan Avenue and Ford Road, the entire line operated within the city of Dearborn.
Although primarily considered to be a city-based bus operation, the Detroit Department of
Transportation (DDOT) began operating a suburban shuttle service along Ford Road, within the
suburb of Dearborn, in mid-December of 1996. While a number of city bus routes have operated
through this adjoining Detroit suburb for decades, this shuttle would be the first bus line to operate
entirely within that city since the former route #64 Michigan Shuttle -- which operated from the
Wyoming Loop to the Ford Rouge Plant -- was discontinued by the DSR back on June 15, 1973.
Actually, the launching of this new 'suburban' shuttle service began during a period when relations
between the city-run bus system and the suburban bus operation SMART (Suburban Mobility
Authority for Regional Transportation) had become somewhat strained.
Talks between the two agencies to begin consolidating bus service along Woodward Avenue had
recently broken down, and the launching of this service seemed to coincide with what the media at the
time referred to as a "bus system war." By mid-December, the SMART system would begin picking-up
and dropping-off passengers in the city of Detroit along seven major routes, while DDOT would
immediately follow with the launching of a number of suburban shuttle routes. Instead of the two
transit agencies working together to coordinate their services, the two systems now appeared to be
competing in a transit turf war.
The new Ford Road/Meadows Drive shuttle service originally began as an extra-service operation by
DDOT on Thursday, December 12, 1996. The line would continue to be operated as extra-service
through the month of January. Meanwhile, beginning Saturday, February 1, 1997, DDOT would
launch six new bus lines into the surrounding suburbs, all operating along already established
SMART bus routes. Effective that same day, the Ford Road shuttle service would become an actual
DDOT bus route, known as the #5 Ford Meadows Shuttle.
The Ford Meadows Shuttle operated from the Wyoming Loop at Michigan and Wyoming, and
traveled via Wyoming and Ford Road to Greenfield Road, where it would service a number of small
Dearborn shopping malls located along both Meadows and Mercury Drives. The route operated with
30-minute headways, seven days a week. Service operated between the hours of 8:00AM and
10:00PM, Mondays thru Saturdays, and between 10:00AM and 6:30PM on Sundays.
Assigned out of the Gilbert Terminal, the small 19-passenger #3300-series Goshen Coach buses
were primarily assigned to the line during its first years of operation. But by the year 2000, the
#4000-series 27-passenger Chance Bus Corp. CNG (compressed natural gas) bus-trolleys were
assigned to the route. Although DDOT would discontinue its expanded suburban bus routes in
January, 1998, the Ford Meadows Shuttle would survive that round of service eliminations.
However, service was eventually eliminated on the #5 Ford Meadows Shuttle as well, after DDOT
discontinued the line effective on Saturday, September 7, 2002.