Something I write about with some frequency is the lack of good public transit between Ann Arbor and the airport. (Aside from the highly successful student-run AirBus service before and after U-M holiday breaks.) I’ve obtained a draft copy of a 70-page report prepared by a consulting firm for the AATA about the feasibility of an airport link for Ann Arbor. Here’s their conclusion:
“Currently, there is privately operated shared van service between Ann Arbor and Detroit Metro Airport, but no fixed route service – either direct or connecting. The survey results show that, in comparable areas, there is demand for both types of services. The general characteristics for successful services in other area are listed below. If airport service is to be considered between Ann Arbor and Detroit Metro Airport, similar service characteristics would likely be needed:
– Service from early morning until late at night.
– Service every 60 minutes or less.
– Direct service to and from the airport, ideally from a location with good automobile and transit connections.
– Secure parking at the outer end.
For profitable operation, relatively high fares are required – much higher than the typical transit fares. Fares for subsidized services are lower, depending upon the level of subsidy available. Parking fees can also be charged, with parking revenue used to reduce fares. Finally, airport services need to be well marketed, especially during a start-up period.”
Read the complete report here. (3 MB PDF)
I’m not sure when this report was prepared, but the AATA was considering such a service but decided not to create it because the airport wanted to charge usage fees (generally unheard of between to public transportation entities, and in my opinion wrong,) however, I have argued the importance of the service is so great the AATA should create it first, and challenge the fees second.