by CYNTHIA KMETT
Need a shower gift for your niece’s baby? Want to meet a client for lunch at Maggiano’s or Joe Kool’s? Took the kids to the library, but a little shopping would be nice? You work at the Automation Alley complex, but want to go to Somerset Collection, North or South. Maybe you wanted to stop at Kroger or maybe Fresh Thyme for dinner fixings.
Have a great parking spot at work you don’t want to lose? Try this option.
Well, the weather is nicer now, so you just might want to try avoiding the lunch or rush hour traffic on Big Beaver by jumping on the Big Beaver Shuttle. There’s a stop pretty close to wherever you are between John R and Coolidge, and there are signs to let you know where the shuttle stops.
The city of Troy, in cooperation with SMART, started operating the Big Beaver Shuttle just before Christmas last year. And while the cold and snow might have prevented you from trying this handy way to negotiate the Golden Corridor, now is an excellent time to try it.
The shuttle operates Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – perfect for lunchtime errands – and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. – perfect for relaxing with friends or clients after work. And, it’s a free ride. The service is also handicapped accessible.
Overseeing the shuttle service is Emily Frontera, Troy’s Department of Public Works Coordinator. She reminds us that this was an experiment, to see if we’d use the service to lighten the Big Beaver traffic load and patronize the businesses along the road. The city will look at the possibility of keeping the service this summer. SMART isn’t buying Troy new buses if you aren’t using the shuttle.
“We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from riders,” Fontera observes. Of course, there are also questions like, “Can it go down John R to Oakland Mall?” and “Why don’t you run on weekends?”
Troy completely operates the shuttle system with SMART providing the transportation, at no cost to taxpayers. The city has already said that if weekend transportation is needed, for things like a hockey tournament at the Sports Center where the players are staying at hotels on Big Beaver, they are open to that accommodation.
The city is also open to adding new stops on the two routes. Frontera pointed out that a stop at the Troy Library was quickly added after it was requested on the website.
You can find all the stops on the shuttle route by going to troymi.gov/bigbeavershuttle. There are actually two routes, a red route from Livernois to Coolidge, and a blue route from Livernois to John R. Both start at Columbia Center where you can transfer to the other route, but you can get on or off at any stop. You can print maps of the two routes, which come complete with names of where to find the stops. There’s also a place to make comments – just scroll down to the bottom of the main page – and tell the city what you like, don’t like or would like to see added to the service.
There are three buses on the red route, so they pick up about every 15 minutes. There is just one bus on the blue route, so its picks up is about every 30 minutes. The buses are easy to identify. One is the trolley, which is not hard to spot. The other three are blue and white mini buses, clearly marked as part of the shuttle service.
Enjoy the ride.