D-DOT Route #94
VA PARK & RIDE
In 1996, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs opened its new John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, located at
4646 John R. Street, in the Detroit Medical Center area.  The opening of this new facility resulted in the closing of
the former Allen Park Veterans Administration Hospital in Allen Park, MI, which opened in 1939.  During the move
to the new Detroit facility, and prior to the completion of its new parking structure, the Detroit Department of
Transportation
(DDOT) launched a new Park & Ride shuttle service to transport passengers (mostly nurses and
administrative employees)
from the former VA Hospital location, on Outer Drive at the Southfield Freeway Service
Drive in Allen Park, to the new VA Medical Center located on John R. between Hancock and Canfield in Detroit.

This new VA shuttle service originally began as an extra-service operation by DDOT sometime during mid-December
of 1996. Ironically, the launching of this new shuttle service began during a period when the relations between the city-
owned bus system and the suburban bus operation
SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional
Transportation)
appeared to be somewhat strained. (see DDOT Suburban Bus Routes - 1997)

Beginning Saturday, February 1, 1997,
DDOT launched six new bus routes into the surrounding suburbs that were in
direct competition with established
SMART routes.  These routes were launched during a period the local media
referred to as a "bus system war" between the city-run
DDOT and the suburban SMART operations.  Effective that
following Monday, the
#94 VA Park & Ride shuttle became an actual DDOT bus route.  The route primarily traveled
along the
I-94 Detroit Industrial/Ford Freeway during its route between the two VA Hospital locations.  Service
operated as a one-way
"pick up and go" Park & Ride service.  The service required a $2.00 fare with no additional
zone fare charges required.

Assigned out of the
Coolidge Terminal, the service operated at 15-minute intervals during peak-hours only.  No actual
VA Park & Ride runs were ever used — with all service being assigned to runs from other lines (a long-time
department practice)
, such as route #21 Grand River, #27 Joy Road and #60 Evergreen runs operating via the VA
Park & Ride
shuttle.

However,
DDOT's venture into the surrounding suburbs would be short-lived, for in January, 1998, DDOT announced
that it could no longer afford to run its buses outside the city of Detroit.  Consequently, as part of a departmental-wide
cost cutting move — effective with the operator's pick that went into effect on Saturday, Jan. 17, 1998 —
DDOT
discontinued all of its suburban bus service, including its route
#94 VA Park & Ride.


Information for the above article was compiled from various Detroit area newspapers articles courtesy of the Stan Sycko newspaper
collection, and from the DDOT Route Update notices, route maps and bulletins archived in the author's collection.

© 2009 – www.DetroitTransitHistory.info (PV 12-26-09)
Return to original version web-page:
http://www.detroittransithistory.info/Routes/VAParkRide.html
The route-map for the "short-lived" DDOT Route #94 Park & Ride Shuttle.