scenes from the people mover: the legacy of public transportation in detroit
so for those of you who don’t know, detroit is a little lacking on the public transportation front. what exists comprises of a faltering bus system and this above ground rail line known as the people mover (or in some cases, the mugger mover). i generally think of it as a real life mr. rogers train set that goes in one big circle around downtown detroit, in one direction. might i just add that downtown detroit is not particularly large and so the distances that it covers are inherently walkable.
negativity aside, the people mover was meant to be the hub of a hub and spoke model of public transportation that mirrors how our roads were developed. unfortunately, the city ran out of money after the people mover was built and so those spokes never came into existence. and thus, we are left with this vestigial circle of public transportation. big auto conspiracies are duly noted, but i don’t believe this was entirely their fault.
while its usefulness is consistently brought into question, the people mover is a somewhat fun experience, much akin to an amusement park ride or a novel toy train. the system is decently developed, the stations are well maintained, it boasts of some great views of the city, the voice of big brother yells at you when you cross the yellow line and perhaps most surprising of all, sometimes people actually take it!