Wayne State University students and employees will be able to take advantage of free transportation options throughout campus beginning Sept. 1, thanks to partnerships with DDOT, SMART, the QLine and MoGo.
The university will subsidize four-hour Dart and annual MoGo passes for all enrolled students, as well as full- and part-time employees, allowing them to ride DDOT and SMART buses, the QLine streetcar, and MoGo bikes at no cost. To participate, users will need to download the Dart app and enter an eligibility code, or sign up using their Wayne State email address on a customized MoGo webpage.
By investing now, the university hopes to help ease pandemic-induced financial stress on students and employees. Navigating campus — including destinations in Midtown and downtown Detroit — involves the movement of approximately 30,000 students and employees, who are vying for one of 12,000 parking spaces scattered across eight structures and 26 surface lots on a daily basis. After arriving on campus, pedestrians rely on various modes of transportation including walking, scooters and cycling. To reach farther points, a number of other options are available.
In recent years, metro Detroit has seen major advances in mobility with the introduction of the QLine, MoGo and SMART FAST limited-stop bus routes. In 2019, DDOT and SMART launched a unified payment system, Dart, which represented another major step forward. Dart passes can be used interchangeably on DDOT and SMART buses and the QLine streetcar.
WSU has been an active contributor and partner in expanding mobility options for the campus community through partnerships with Zipcar, MoGo and the QLine. These partnerships are part of the university’s ongoing efforts to create a 24/7 campus. They also support Wayne State’s Student Success Initiative by offering an affordable way to access campus, as well as neighborhoods, services and jobs across Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties.
“The university is excited to partner with DDOT, SMART, the QLine and MoGo to make these systems free to ride for Warriors,” said Ned Staebler, Wayne State’s vice president for economic development. “We hope our investment makes it easier for students and employees to access all that our campus and neighborhood have to offer, and encourages other institutions and large employers in Southeast Michigan to do the same.”
WSU began its partnership with DDOT in 2014 and expanded with SMART in 2019 — an association that has provided transportation options and savings for users.
“Wayne State is a leader in connecting higher education and the cultural resources of the university to the region with many mobility options for its students, staff and faculty,” said Robert Cramer, deputy general manager of SMART. “We support expanding the Dart regional pass program with Wayne State to make transit more accessible, affordable and easy to ride. SMART maintained essential transit services throughout the pandemic, and we will continue to be here to support the region’s recovery as people return to work and school.”
“We’re thrilled to be able to help Wayne State students get around the city,” said DDOT Executive Director of Transit Mikel Oglesby. “Being a student is stressful enough, and this partnership allows them to get to class, work and home without having to worry about budgeting for transportation. Whether they live in the city and will use DDOT to commute, or they will be living in Detroit for the first time, we are happy to show all Wayne State students how easy and convenient riding DDOT can be.”
WSU has also offered students and employees discounts through its association with MoGo, which launched in 2017. Currently, the bike-share program has 75 stations throughout the city of Detroit and southern Oakland County, including Ferndale, Royal Oak, Oak Park, Berkley and Huntington Woods.
“We are excited to partner with Wayne State University to expand access to MoGo,” said Adriel Thornton, MoGo’s executive director. “This will provide students and faculty an active, healthy transportation option.”
Wayne State is the first university and large employer to partner with Dart providers to offer free transit to its students and employees.
“As an alumnus of Wayne State, I recall the need of navigating the city to get to class and a reliance on public transportation,” said Hakim Berry, chief operating officer for the City of Detroit. “This is a transformational move that will definitely benefit the students with all modes of transportation — not only the bus system, but the QLine and MoGo. What a great way to get to and around campus!”