Andy Didorosi, the founder and CEO of the Detroit Bus Company, is an amazing and heroic entrepreneur. Almost a year ago, I blogged about Didorosi’s Detroit Bus Company, a private bus service that is introducing Detroiters to anarcho-transportation and changing the way they think about transit systems.
Didorosi is expanding his gig, and quickly. He’s branching out into Poletown (Hamtramck) and flirting with routes to/from nearby suburban areas. Sarah Schmid, who authored this article on Detroit Bus Company’s expansion, notes:
Also in the data-collection stage is Didorosi’s Take Back the Commute plan. This would be a route that carries suburban riders to their jobs in downtown Detroit. (Let me take a minute to acknowledge that this might sound headscratchingly simple to a resident of a city with functional public transit. Detroit is not that city. There’s one bus system inside the city limits called DDOT and a separate bus system for the surrounding suburbs called SMART. Incredibly, the two systems don’t coordinate with one another, which makes taking the bus in or out of Detroit a major pain in the ass.)
Didorosi is currently working to explore profitable routes from the ‘burbs to downtown Detroit to serve those areas with his on-demand service so that he can fill the niche for the anarcho-youth and other downtown workers who are the new wave of Detroit boosters and hipsters.
One other market that Didorosi is currently exploring is occupied by the political machine monopolists who own the route to and from our Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus (Wayne County). The ground transportation at this airport is controlled by one company that is in favor with the politicos in power – Metro Cars. I despise everything about this monopolistic monster called Metro Cars. Everyone here hates Metro Cars, including its service and the pricing scheme.
Outside of this one evil company, Metro Airport shuttle restrictions are horrid. Even the local hotels are blocked from offering a proper shuttle service because Metro cars has kissed the rotten ass of every crooked government official in Wayne County in order to hold onto its government-granted monopoly and keep hotels from serving their customers. Schmid notes the following:
Didorosi says that the newly established Regional Transit Authority has deemed a sensible bus route between the airport and metro Detroit a priority, but Didorosi expects the wheels of bureaucracy to grind so slowly that it could be years before that happens. Plus, because Metro Cars has the contract to provide ground transportation at the airport, any competing services are required to pay a fee every time they enter the airport property, which raises fares. “Metro Cars has a monopoly on land side transit, and that’s fine—they paid their way in to make that happen,” Didorosi says. “But in other cities, there’s usually a public transit component to go along with it.”
Didorosi is wrong – it’s not “fine”; in fact, it’s criminal, and this coercive act on the part of government raises costs and limits service choices for consumers. It’s a fact that people here pick their friends up at the airport because friends don’t let friends ride in Metro Cars.
Unfortunately for Didorosi, as the author points out, perhaps the only way around this monopolistic stronghold is a private-public partnership on the part of Detroit Bus Company that would allow for the potential to compete against the quasi-government Metro monopolists. He will likely be forced into some type of government alliance in order to get his business anywhere near the protected perimeter of our international airport. Cross-posted at Detroit: From Rust to Riches.7:00 pm on June 18, 2013 Email Karen De Coster