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Duggan uses emergency powers to stave off Detroit paratransit cuts

Mike Duggan
City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has found a way to avoid threatened cuts to paratransit service, and the issue has been “resolved.”

The city had said it would cut those services by 70% later this month, after the Detroit City Council rejected a contract with one of the city’s current providers, Transdev. That came after numerous complaintsfrom the disability community about poor service.

But Duggan said the federal government made it clear that would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, and subject Detroit to losing federal transit funds and other penalties. So he’s invoking emergency powers to put stopgap measures in place: six-month contracts with four temporary providers until the city can find a longer-term solution.

Duggan said this is more expensive than the rejected Transdev contract. “It's going to be $1,000,000 more,” he said. “I felt that the security of our disabled community was worth it.”

Detroit Department of Transportation director Mikel Oglesby said the city had already planned to bring many aspects of paratransit service, including dispatching rides, under direct city control. He said users should see customer service improvements pretty quickly.

“It's going to be a little bumpy at first because of the way that we're transitioning, but we will have full service out there and that's the most important thing,” Oglesby said.

Oglesby and Duggan said any new paratransit contract will also include strict performance metrics, and the right to terminate any provider for poor service.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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