D-DOT Route #97
In 1992, DDOT management announced that the following eight bus routes; Baker, Gratiot,
Jefferson, Joy Rd., Michigan, Oakland, Vernor and Woodward, would no longer terminate
downtown, but would now be combined to form four new routes. These lines were to provide DDOT
passengers with non-stop "through-routing" service in-and-out of the downtown area.
Effective Saturday, September 5, 1992, DDOT routes #53 Woodward and #25 E. Jefferson were
combined and through–routed out of downtown. This newly combined route would be known as
Route #97 WOODWARD-JEFFERSON. Service would operate from the Michigan State Fairgrounds
on the north end, to the Wayburn Loop on the east side, although some Woodward service
terminated downtown at Beaubien and Jefferson.
Despite the numerous problems encountered during the mid–seventies after the combining of the
Michigan and Gratiot routes, DDOT management was determined to implement this combining of
routes on a much larger scale. Consequently, numerous service problems were encountered with the
operation of the new routes being assigned to two different terminals. Unpredictable coach and
manpower shortages, compounded with a lack of communication between the terminal locations,
resulted in numerous sporadic gaps within the service.
However, the combined routing arrangement didn't last long. The service was discontinued, for the
most part, after DDOT and SMART joined forces in a cooperative (but short–lived) route swapping
project. Effective on Saturday, June 25, 1994, SMART took over operation of DDOT's Michigan and
Jefferson routes. As a result, the combined #93 Gratiot–Michigan and #97 Woodward–
Jefferson routes were separated.
The cooperative agreement between DDOT and SMART was canceled after just nine months, after
SMART began campaigning to institute a suburban transit tax to only support suburban bus service.
Effective Saturday, April 1, 1995, DDOT took back the operation of its #25 E. Jefferson and #37
Michigan routes, while SMART resumed operation of its routes along Fort Street and John R.,
which had been operated by DDOT during the route swapping project.