2024 is slated to be a very busy year for the city of Detroit, hosting notable events like the NFL draft, the opening of the new Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park, and several other long-term projects around the city that are slated to be completed soon. The decision was made in an effort by Detroit officials to boost ridership of the People Mover and increase accessibility to the downtown area of Detroit, which is the commercial center of the city.
The People Mover first opened in 1987 and was an integral part of Detroit’s internal infrastructure, largely in part because of its connection with the Joe Louis Arena, which was demolished back in 2017. Since then, maintaining a consistent amount of riders on the People Mover has been a struggle, which has struggled to recover to ridership levels that it maintained before the COVID-19 epidemic between 2020 and early 2023. While the standard fare of the People Mover is currently set at $0.75, officials of Detroit plan to make the People Mover free to ride by taking on corporate sponsors for the public form of transportation, which will replace the revenue typically generated by ticket sales.
When is the Detroit People Mover going to be free?
The free People Mover service will go live on January 2nd, 2024, as it will be closed in honor of New Year’s Day on January 1st and is being considered a “pilot program” for the time being, which means that it may not be completely permanent. The plan has high expectations in terms of boosting ridership throughout Detroit during 2024 as the city is hoping to capitalize on the influx of tourists and media attention that the city will have as a result of events like the NFL draft, which could see hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to the city.
As of right now, the exact names of the businesses that decided to partake as corporate sponsors of the Detroit People Mover have not yet been released, but there are likely to be a handful of very familiar local Detroit brand names on that list when it is announced.