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Posted on Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

Those without a license should consider public transportation

By Letters to the Editor

Several months ago my driver's license was suspended and I was compelled to find another way of getting around. Someone told me that I could get a Senior Citizens permit for riding the busses of the Ann Arbor Transit System.

I then discovered that I could get almost anywhere in the county without any charge whatsoever. Moreover, I have been amazed at how efficiently everything is done. The busses are almost always on time and they are clean and comfortable. The drivers are totally skillful and always accommodating.

I have nothing but praise for the transit system and I recommend it to anyone who hasn't given it a try. Ann Arbor and the surrounding area is fortunate to have such a wonderful transportation organization.

I have my license and car again, but I am keeping my schedules and will continue to ride the busses from time to time. I save money that way.

Murray J. Franklin

Ann Arbor


Widow Wadman

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 1:49 a.m.

I agree, Mr. Franklin. Ann Arbor has very good bus service. One of the reasons that I moved to Ann Arbor was so that I could take advantage of it.


Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

Seems to be a current of resistance to the use of "free" regarding seniors riding the system. I point out that in order to have the transit system run on time (as praised, and amen) the busses will run their routes anyway, full or empty. So the only time there is a cost is when the bus is full. I can't speak to that but where I've used busses they were very rarely full. And I vote with those who believe in giving back in this relatively small way. We all hope to live to be old enough to have some of the issues "seniors" have. Don't we?


Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

One of the reasons we moved to Ann Arbor and tripled our property taxes is is the AATA bus system. The older we get the less we plan to drive.


Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 4:14 a.m.

What's the age for a senior to get free rides?


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

It is a good service, but not a great service. Reliable, clean, safe, etc... but be prepared to spend 2 to 3 times as long to get where you want to go (compared to your car), especially if distant or out-of-the-way. Also, hours are limited, and service decreases after rush hours. If they ran 4 times per hour instead of twice, it would probably garner more riders, especially on the main routes. More service at night and on weekends wouldn't hurt either, although all this would probably cost more than anyone would be willing to pay, in particular, the taxpayers.

Marie Willnow

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

I have had to utilize the bus system several times in the past 3 years due to car problems. I am very grateful to live in an area where I have this option and have not had to rely on other people to get me to work, the store, etc. When my niece comes to visit she always wants to ride the bus somewhere and considers it a great adventure. I just wish the AATA had a bus line had a route that went East/West on Washtenaw/Stadium were you didn't have to transfer downtown and it took you almost 45 minutes to get from the East side of Ann Arbor to the West side.


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

Spoken liken an obama voter – so who do you think pays for all the "free" stuff you so enjoy!? LOL The "rich"? LOL ..or maybe it doesn't matter as long as the money is not coming out of your pocket? Until a transit system is fully mature – meaning high density housing and retail have developed around stations – there will be no perceptive change in traffic, if ever. Few Joe 12 packs have any idea how many people move around on roads every day while making such proclamations. Most road damage is caused by heavily loaded trucks – Michigan has some of the heaviest in the country – on cheaply paved roads. Pave a road right and it can last decades, but Michigan MDOT chooses to use road paving as a jobs program. I don't know what you're talking about with the rest of that rant but I doubt OPEC will suffer much when AA finally gets light rail.


Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 4:13 a.m.

I like the comment about using road paving as a "job" program. I wondered why the roads don't last in MI but other states with the same weather variances have roads lasting much longer. It seems the road commissioners just keep dodging the question or give canned answers.

Michigan Man

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

I hope the countless illegal aliens without valid, correct and state issued drivers licenses read this article and seriously consider the sound advice noted above.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

I had a similar experience with "buses". I never ever "rode the bus", and would have never considered it. Then I took a one year temporary assignment in a distant big city. I did not have a car, so I gave the bus a try. If you'd asked me before, I would have said I could not possibly give up my car. It was quite an experience. The bus taught me so much - about people and society, perceptions, class, tolerance, assumptions, poverty, humility, and judging people. I spoke with disabled vets who were homeless, and struggling to get by. Disabled vets without legs who couldn't get an electric wheelchair from the VA. Everyone should take a year off from their car for the life experience. I still make a point of taking the bus at least once a month. Oh yeah - taking the bus to go out for a night of drinking with friends was awesome.

Basic Bob

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

Yeah, that's the best part of riding the bus - enjoying the company of drunks and crackheads.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

@Macabre Sunset: "Could you also take the time to praise the taxpayers who make your convenient rides possible?" Do you have kids? Could you also take the the time to praise me for paying for your kids' educations? There are countless government services that each of us will utilize during our lives, and sometimes others will be footing the bill.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 1:12 a.m.

I do, and I can. Thanks. While I appreciate what benefits me, I also realize that my son will not have the same opportunities down the road. Social Security will go bankrupt right about the time the baby boomers hit 65. Anyone who is currently under the age of 60 who is counting on anything other than his or her own retirement funds is delusional. We're being crushed with debt. And we're not necessarily paying the price ourselves. Our seniors paid in - but because longevity is not what it was 50 years ago, they paid in far, far less than what they're taking out. That's not to say I resent them, just that they should recognize they hit their golden years in a golden age where they got to spend their children's golden-year money as well. As for the schools, yes, privatize them. We should pay for what we consume.


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 3:10 p.m.

This is the kind of image-reality challenge public light rail transit planners face. A viable mass transit system must appeal to those who pay the taxes, pay for their transit and will support/ride a system that is high functioning and modern enough that they will choose to do so over driving their year old German sports sedan. The poor and indigent will ride anything available to them and always happy with another hand out, but they will never form the basis for the kind of light rail that most other successful cities and regions around the world take for granted.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 11:53 p.m.

STOP MAKING SENCE (david byrd)[talking heads}

Steve Bean

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

If AATA service were free for everyone, the roads would be less congested and would last longer, parking would be easier to find for those who did still drive, air quality would be better, more local wealth would stay in the community instead of going to out-of-state insurance companies and foreign oil suppliers, police and ambulance calls for accidents would be fewer. The list goes on. Higher public costs for transit would be offset by the savings elsewhere. People who ride the bus walk more than those who drive, too, so we'd be healthier overall. Framing it as a hand out is shortsighted.


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 12:04 p.m.

Those of us without transportation have been using AATA for 20 years. Welcome to the world for the rest of us.


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

Seniors and the disabled can also get a ride anywhere within the city limits for $3 through the A-Ride program run jointly by AATA and Yellow Cab

Elijah Shalis

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 12:36 a.m.

Must be nice to get to ride for free. WCC students get no discount.


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

Speaking of free rides WCC has a $98 million dollar operating budget. How much state assistance does it receive?

Steve Bean

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

From the AATA web site: Washtenaw Community College (WCC) WCC student or staff I.D. must be presented when boarding bus. Board at the main WCC bus stop [in front of WCC's Occupational Education Building] only. WCC cards are not to be accepted as fare at any other stop. Free at WCC main bus stop only.

Basic Bob

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 6:13 a.m.

I bet Em and/or Pee don't even make you pay rent.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.


Macabre Sunset

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 12:29 a.m.

Could you also take the time to praise the taxpayers who make your convenient rides possible?


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

Macabre Sunset and Talker, It's a pretty safe bet that the author owns property in Ann Arbor and therefore pays property taxes. It's also a pretty good bet that the author has paid property taxes for years (a portion of which support the AATA) without ever using the AATA. I'm pretty sure he's put more into the system than he's ever gotten back out of it. Griping about a senior citizen discount? Really?

Steve Bean

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

Mr. Franklin and all the others who ride The Ride keep thousands of cars off the roads, thus making everyone's rides more convenient.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

would everybody please provide a link to a PDF of their last 10 years of tax returns so i can decide who's posts I give credence to?


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 3:30 a.m.

Yes! O praise you, MS, praise you for paying your property taxes. thank you for the police and fire protection and the roads (in whatever condition we all experience them). Praise you for parks and whatever else you give to me freely from your wealth. Also, I can't forget to praise Mr. Franklin for paying his property taxes or rent, as well. There, are we covered? O, also, me. I guess we're all in this together?


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 2:39 a.m.

When some people who can afford to pay the fare don't pay anything to ride on AATA buses, others pay a lot more whether via taxes or fares. To use a cliche, "There's no free ride." Buses aren't built by waving a magic wand. Buses don't drive themselves. Bus drivers deserve a living wage. Yes, those who ride free should thank those who pay for it. Is there a way for those who ride free to donate part or all of the fare when riding buses?


Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

Make sure you move your car every 48 hours otherwise it may be considered abandoned, towed and impounded.

Linda Peck

Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

It is great to hear this, and encouraging for people to go ahead and try the buses. I have tried them and very much appreciate that I can ride for free, too, as a senior citizen. What a great boon! When I am no longer able to drive, I hope this service will still be here. Thank you, Mr. Franklin.

An Arborigine

Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 10:44 p.m.

A paid advertisement from AATA