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Posted on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

AATA to increase trips along Route 4 between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor in early 2012

By Tom Perkins

The Ann Arbor Transit Authority will double the frequency of trips on its route four line, which runs along Washtenaw Avenue between downtown Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

The increase in service is scheduled to start at the end of January and will mean eight buses will run during peak hours and four during midday hours, which is up from four and two buses, respectively.

The number of trips during evening hours - twice an hour April through August and once an hour the rest of the year - will remain the same, as will the weekend schedule.

Riders along the route, which takes approximately 45 minutes from the Blake Transit Center to the Ypsilanti Transit Center, will have to wait five or ten minutes for a bus during peak hours. That's down from 15 minutes. During midday hours, riders will have to wait 10 or 20 minutes, which is down from a half hour.

The route will be altered slightly during peak and midday hours. Instead of traveling from Blake through the medical campus, the buses will travel through central campus. With the exception of those stops, all stops along the route will remain the same.

Route 4.jpg

Riders on the AATA route four line board the bus at the Ypsilanti Transit Center.

Tom Perkins | For

Chris White, manager of service development for the AATA, said route four has always been the AATA’s busiest. It sees more than 800,000 trips annually, White said, and more than 3,000 trips on an average weekday.

During peak hours from 6:10-9 a.m. and 3:15-6:15 p.m., the route averages 1,563 riders. It averages 1,089 riders in between those periods, and 393 after 6:15 p.m.

According to data from a 2009 AATA rider survey, 40 percent of route four’s riders use the line to get to school or college; 30 percent use it to get to work; 23 percent use it for shopping and 2 percent use it for other purposes, such as medical or social reasons. The AATA is preparing to undertake another reader survey starting later this week.

“A lot of the ridership is from that stretch of Washtenaw Avenue east of US-23, and it is usually going to and from Ann Arbor,” White said. “The buses tend to be quite crowded, and the number of stops we are making to pick up and drop off riders makes it take longer. If we are able to reduce some of that crowding, then we reduce the number of stops and we can improve on time service.”

White said the AATA has wanted to increase the route's frequency for years but has been unable to because of budget constraints. But the increase, which will cost an additional $448,000, was made possible in part because Ypsilanti voters approved an amendment to its city charter that will provide a dedicated source of funding for public transportation.

The .9879 millage is expected to generate $281,000 in 2011.

White said 30 percent of the additional cost is covered by Sate operating assistance, around 15 percent will be covered in money generated from additional passenger fares and a small portion will be covered by Washtenaw County and Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority grants.

The AATA is hoping to secure more grant funding, White said, and the remainder of the additional costs will be covered by local governments, though he wasn’t yet sure how much municipalities would be asked to contribute or what percentage of costs they would be asked to cover.



Tue, Oct 11, 2011 : 4:27 a.m.

The service I would love to see is 24 hour service on all routes in and out of Ypsi and Ann Arbor. I see a lot of UM students taking the UM buses late at night on weekends. Those who need to leave the immediate area must take a cab.


Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 9:34 p.m.

Would like an update on plans to extend out to Saline please.


Wed, Oct 12, 2011 : 3:40 a.m.

how about out towards sams club?.


Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

The AATA needs to step up on the nights and weekend services. I like the idea because the panhandlers have better transport.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

This is very good news for me as I am a somewhat regular rider of the #4 route. It is often really crowded and maybe this will help with that somewhat. :)


Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.

We are now into our 2nd year of using AATA. Wish this was going on now. Our child uses the system to get to school and missed one of the buses and had to wait 20 minutes to get the 4. Late to school, but better then nothing. Glad to hear more 4's on the way.


Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.

I'd like to see AATA add another route ito Ypsilanti - along Michigan Ave/Carpenter. Lots of neighborhoods and apartment complexes in that area, but the closest bus stops are by Carpenter and Ellsworth - too far.

Nancy Shore

Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

@Andrew: One thing that should help your workers is that the AATA is also going to extend its Night Ride service to Ypsilanti by early next year as well. This means that workers that rely on the AATA during the day will be able to use Night Ride at night when the buses stop running. Night Ride runs 11pm-6am M-F and 7pm-7:30am Sat-Sun. It costs $5 per ride, unless you have a go!pass, then it costs $3. More info: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Feel free to contact me at with any questions. Nancy Shore Director, getDowntown Program

Andrew Jason Clock

Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 9:40 p.m.

That is fantastic news. I'd still like to see some late bus service, but that's great news and a great start.


Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

AATA runs these bus routes but none of them come close to breaking even? Which means the the RICH (taxpayers) are paying for the POOR (bus riders). This business model doesn't make sense. Even the most popular routes with our extra property tax millage cannot attract enough riders to pay for the service. Maybe we should pay for taxi service for the POOR and skip all of the overhead and waste of the AATA. We would save about $15-20 million (Think about it) that feeds a lot of hungry children, homes for the homeless and money we could give back to the taxpayers.


Tue, Oct 11, 2011 : 4:24 a.m.

So how much of the person riding in a single car pays for the ROADS he drives on? That is subsidized as well. It is NOT a profit center and should never be one. Amtrak, the Interstate highway system, local buses do not and should not be designed to make money. As for &quot;rich&quot; subsidizing &quot;poor&quot;, I have yet to see a bus driver require an income statement before I board the bus. I do know that poor people also pay sales, rent (which has property taxes built in) and state income taxes. Those taxes go to pay for roads, police and fire service. Of course the republican way would be for all these services to be contracted so that only the rich could afford them. Guess what your police protection cost would be if only the rich paid for it. Imagine the cost of fire fighting if only the rich paid for it. Ask Rick Perry how cutting money to fire departments worked for Texas this summer.

Tom Teague

Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 5:26 p.m.

It's because it's not a business model, it's a government service model. If you applied business cost/return models to every government service, it wouldn't make sense for the fire department to show up at your home just because you accidentally started a kitchen fire either.


Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

WOW&lt; what are you talking about, the rich don't pay taxes. Do you think your rich?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

@xmo Here is the thing about transportation. People who don't have a lot of money need public transportation to get to work. Who are the kinds of people who work (and pay taxes btw) and don't have a lot of money? People who are the cashiers at your grocery store, your waitstaff when you go out to eat, the people who stock the shelves at local stores, etc. People who might be homeless or who would have difficulty feeding their families without employment. Not to mention that public transportation expands the pool of available labor which is frankly good for business and in turn good for the rich. I wont even get into the costs of social problems that might result from having whole populations who are unemployable due to a lack of transportation options. Once you add in things like all of the road maintenance that doesnt need to happen and all of the accidents avoided because poor people aren't forced to drive poorly maintained vehicles and all of the money the city doesn't have to spend building even more parking garages, AATA is actually a HUGE bargain for our community.

Andrew Jason Clock

Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

And that's a rider survey they are taking, I would think. They asked me to take it, and I wan't reading anything at the time.

Andrew Jason Clock

Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

Well, this is nice, but until AATA does something about that night and weekend service, it remains useless to hundreds if not thousands of workers and does nothing to help drive the dinning and entertainment economy of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. The buses at the beginning and end of service each day, especially on weekends, are packed to the gills. I personally have had to pass on hiring people because I need them available after 6pm on Saturday or 5 on Sunday, and they relied on the AATA. If you live in Ann Arbor, you're fine. A subsidized cab ride is provided. If you live in Ypsi, that cab service will either start the meter over or dump you at the city limits to another cab company, making your one way commute $15 or much more. I realize that its not possible to have the kind of transit enjoyed in New York, Chicago, and other major Metro Areas here in the Ypsi/Arbor, but come on here. We have passed a transit millage, and are getting on board with with the AATA's transit plans. Can we get something for the people that really need service? How about a $2, once an hour #4 express after normal hours, stopping only at strategic pick up points along the route. Imagine what that could do for the dining and entertainment services of both communities, not to mention art fair, heritage festival, and so much more. That would be a return on our investment in transit that would pay. The AATA does a good job, and I ride because it just makes good sense compared to the cost of driving most days when you work downtown. But until service is extended, too many people are left out.


Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

Bus 4 does operate on Sundays. We do catch it to go downtown Ann Arbor since it is too chaotic to get there easily. Bus 4 also operates on Saturdays but we do not use it that much. Good luck.


Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

FYI the subsidy to the cap companies comes from the AATA. That would be the &quot;A-Ride&quot; program that AATA contracts out to Yellow Cab (SelectRide).

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 10:28 a.m.

I don't understand this. AATA is talking about a change in bus service. I thought they were entirely focused on building a commuter train to Darkest Peru. Since when do they have time to evaluate existing bus routes?


Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 12:50 p.m.

Do you ride the bus?


Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

Between the hours of 9am-5pm.