Illustration by Ben Wiseman
Billy Porter. Photo:
Baddie Brooks. Courtesy photo
Have you considered public transit as your ride to Pride this year?
Public transit not only offers safety and fun for you and your queer crew, it can also save you money on high-as-ever gas prices, overpriced city parking and Uber rides. Think about it: Riding transit won’t just keep your coterie close and put your pals closer to the celebration destination for just two bucks — you can avoid the drama of navigating overcrowded traffic or frenzied group texts.
But using transit is more than just economically kind to your wallet; it shows you care about the environment. According to the American Public Transportation Administration, one bus or streetcar can take up to 50 cars off the road and reduce the average person's transportation-related carbon emissions by 84%.
Choosing transit also pays homage to its history of helping teens and students who had to make a fresh start due to family rejection. Even today, it bolsters access for those in the LGBTQ+ community who can’t or choose not to drive. Buses have an established track record of providing safe passage from small-minded towns to more gregarious opportunities. The local ridership system is a reliable carriage for those who need to reach valuable resource centers like Ruth Ellis Center in Detroit and Affirmations in Ferndale.
So, this Pride season, tap that app. Using the Transit App, pop in the fancied destination and what time you wish to arrive. The app will show the multiple matches awaiting you, including bus, bike, streetcar, scooters, walking and rideshare. What if you don’t live near a transit route? You can always drive part of the way, where parking is cheaper, and use transit as a last mile adventure solution.
The following is a comprehensive guide to the transit providers in Southeast Michigan.
FAST BUS: You don’t need a private party bus to haul your friends to have it all. Frequent Affordable Safe Transit saves time, money and offers an opportunity to sit and relax with you
r posse. Less money on gas, more funds for your celebration. FAST runs on Gratiot (downtown to Chesterfield), Woodward (downtown to Great Lakes Crossing) and Michigan Ave (downtown to DTW Airport) seven days a week. The tariff is only $2 for a 4 hours pass ($0.50 for seniors, students and disabled), payable with cash or electronically by tapping the DART App. Use FAST to reach Royal Oak Pride (Aug. 12-13).
D2A2: Step into comfort on a coach bus that will whisk you and your crew across the expressway to Ann Arbor for Ann Arbor Pride (Sept. 11). Departure is at Park and Bagley in Grand Circus Park near a plethora of transit options like the FAST bus, DDOT bus, MoGo, QLINE Detroit and the People Mover. Arrival is at the Blake Transit Center in downtown Ann Arbor, just a few blocks south of Kerrytown. Service is less frequent on weekends and the last return bus on Saturday is at 8 p.m. Amtrak has your back if needed, or there’s always pleasure in staying overnight. The cost is $8 on the bus or $6 in advance each way.
QLINE Detroit: Detroit’s 3.3-mile streetcar loop on Woodward is a breeze to board and provides a smooth ride on the rails. It’s the sole transit provider that allows e-bikes and has level boarding for wheelchair and scooter users. The best part is that it is free to ride for all of 2022. The QLINE isn’t just for Midtown residents either. From New Center to Midtown, there are plenty of inexpensive spaces to meetup and ride. It's the perfect way to take in the city with a partner or party for Motor City Pride (June 11-12).
Detroit People Mover: Built in 1986, the elevated downtown loop is a great way to take in stunning views of the city, especially the riverfront this summer, while fares are free ($0.75 normally). Hours are limited as service restarts, but it is still a fun tourist attraction and an easy way to get around downtown before or after Motor City Pride (June 11-12).
MoGo Detroit: Rock two wheels on MoGo to several Pride festivals this June, including Downtown Berkley Pride (June 26), Royal Oak Pride (Aug. 12-13), Transgender Pride in the Park (Aug. 13) and Hazel Park Pride (Aug. 14). Bikeshare stations can be found from downtown to Midtown, Livernois Avenue of Fashion, Ferndale, Oak Park, Clawson and Royal Oak. Pricing starts at $1 to unlock, plus $0.25 a minute. A variety of passes are available through the TransitApp. Keep an eye out on MoGo’s social for discount codes.
SMART Bus: SMART is Metro Detroit’s regional bus that connects people to jobs, hospitals, school and, most importantly, fabulous fun. For example, Madison Heights Arts & Pride (June 11) can be reached by route #495-John R at Civic Center Park and route #610-Kercheval/Harper reaches Grosse Pointe Pride (June 18).
DDOT: Detroit’s bus system turns 100 this year and has routes that reach every hot neighborhood and club in the city. Speaking of hot, #4-Woodward and #32-McNichols can move you to Menjo’s in Palmer Park, home of Hotter Than July (July 15-17), which launched in the mid-’90s to honor and rejoice in Black LGBTQ+ culture. DDOT uses the same pricing and app as SMART (DART) and your pass is good for 4 hours of unlimited trips and transfers between the two systems.
Amtrak: America’s passenger rail provider rolls through several cities that host Pride festivals Grand Rapids Pride (June 18), Battle Creek Pride (July 16), Ann Arbor Pride and Royal Oak Pride (Aug. 12-13). Taking the train provides better views than flying, plus legroom, room for your bike and a cafe car that serves adult beverages.
There are several additional Pride events taking place across the state this summer but not all are accessible by transit. If you arrive by car, look up the local transit system. Enjoy getting around and on routes with services like The Rapid in Grand Rapids, Metro in Kalamazoo, MTA in Flint or TheRide in Ann Arbor. Who knows, you might even spot the Buttigieg family in Traverse City during Up North Pride (Sept. 28) while riding Bay Area Transit.
Scan QR code for transit guides, fare info, maps and schedules of Detroit area public transit.