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Route #78 IMPERIAL LIMITED (Follow-Up!)

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  • H.B.Craig-II
    IMPERIAL EXPRESS ROUTE-NAME (Follow-Up!!) Some weeks ago fellow group member g2as_in_good asked for a little info on the origin of the name of the DDOT
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 1, 2004
      IMPERIAL EXPRESS ROUTE-NAME (Follow-Up!!)

      Some weeks ago fellow group member "g2as_in_good" asked for a little info on the origin of the name of the DDOT Imperial Express bus route. At the time it was noted that the name was not based on any street name (there is no Imperial street in the City of Detroit), but instead had its name based on the fact that the route offered a different kind of express bus service for Detroiters. The line would operate over Detroit freeways as opposed to "Limited" express service along surface streets. It was to be, so to speak, the "grandiose" or top of the line express service offered by the DSR. Though not the first DSR express line to utilize expressways, it was by far the longest.

      A few weeks ago, while at the Detroit Public Library, I decided to look up a few old Detroit newspapers printed around the inauguration day of the Imperial line, which was Monday, May 28, 1958. According to articles I found in the Detroit Free Press, for both May 28th and 29th, it appears that our conclusions about the line was right on the mark, including the info I had received regarding hostesses serving refreshments to passengers.

      The Free Press articles dealt with the DSR going all out to inaugurate the new "IMPERIAL NORTHWEST EXPRESS" Line, complete with pretty hostesses, free rides, refreshments and dignitaries.

      On board the inaugural bus was then Mayor Louis Miriani, members of the DSR commission, DSR general manager Leo J. Nowicki, and a delegation of Northwest side businessman and civic leaders. In addition to "Miss DSR" passing out free donuts, milk and orange juice, the inaugural bus was even laid-out with thick, red carpeting on the floor. I guess it could be said that the DSR rolled out the red carpet that day. (LOL)

      During the first two days of operation bus rides on the new line were free, and pretty Miss DSRs passed out milk, fruit juice, dough-nuts, potato chips and chewing gum, and "smiled sweetly" while greeting patrons trying out the new service.

      The new Seven Mile Road express would be the DSR's longest express line, with one round trip covering 35 miles. Buses traveled from Inkster Road, along Seven Mile, James Couzens and the Lodge Expressway, downtown to the City-County Building in less than 55 minutes. The DSR promised that the service from the end of the line to downtown would be 20 minutes faster than previous local service. Buses would operate daily every 10 minutes during rush hours and every 30 minutes the rest of the day. The fare ranged from 45 cents to 25 cents.

      While the Detroit Free Press took more of a positive spin on that day, the Detroit News, on the other hand, presented a more negative view. Evidently, the same day that the new Imperial Express began operating, the DSR also raised the fares on its fourteen other express routes as much as 80 per cent, by instituting a new zone fare system. While the local fare was a flat 20 cents, regardless of distance, the new express bus fares ranged from 45 cents at the end of the line to 25 cents nearer downtown. Previously all express rides had cost only a quarter.

      One of the Free Press headlines for their story read, "DSR Glamor Bus Rolls into Town," while the Detroit News story carried the headlines, "DSR Riders Gripe, Some May Boycott Expresses."

      The News dedicated a small portion of their article to the new express line, but then focused most of its attention on the new express zone fare system. The News reported that, "...The reaction of riders was mixed. Some paid the higher rates without protest, but others were indignant. Many said they would quit riding express buses and take locals."

      The News also interviewed Grand River Express driver Bill Seaton, whose bus was only about half full. "(the bus) normally has every seat filled, with several persons standing," he said, "I expect the DSR to lose about half its express riders." Some riders interviewed even complained that some drivers were just as confused about the system as they were.

      But the new express zone fare evidently didn't last too long. According to the May-June 1993 issue of Motor Coach Age titled "Detroit's DSR, Part 3", by Jack E. Schramm, the zone fare system was withdrawn after it was pointed out the the DSR didn't seek the proper channels for its approval.

      But despite all the hoop-la of the day, I guess it could be said that the route was named appropriately. Only four DDOT "Limited" routes remain today and only one other line utilizes the Detroit freeway system. But that DSR "IMPERIAL" line-of-lines of 1958 still lives on!

      -H.B.Craig,II(TTS191776)

                                         

      YOU CAN VIEW THE FREE PRESS ARTICLES ON THE IMPERIAL EXPRESS LINE BY CLICKING-ON THE FOLLOWING LINKS:
      LINK #1: This article is from the Monday morning edition of the May 28, 1958 Detroit Free Press.
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DSR-2-DOT/files/MISC/DetFreeP_05-28-58.JPG  

      LINK #2: A Free Press photo showing a DSR employee vacuuming the red carpet on the new line's inaugural bus. (Tues., May 29, 1958 edition)
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DSR-2-DOT/files/MISC/DetFreeP_05-29-58-A.JPG  

      LINK #3: This article is from the Tuesday morning edition of the May 29, 1958 Detroit Free Press.
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DSR-2-DOT/files/MISC/DetFreeP_05-29-58-B.JPG 
       


      (PLEASE NOTE! The links and graphics displayed within this message can only be viewed while signed-on to your group member Yahoo! Account)


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    • da_phantom_ryder
      ok! That was interesting about the imperial line. So somebody tell me why the DOT doesn t offer many express routes today? I can remember a lot more express
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 3, 2004
        ok! That was interesting about the imperial line. So somebody tell me
        why the DOT doesn't offer many express routes today? I can remember a
        lot more express buses back in the 80s.

        phantom_ryder


        --- In DSR-2-DOT@yahoogroups.com, "H.B.Craig-II" <hbcraig2@y...>
        wrote:
        > IMPERIAL EXPRESS ROUTE-NAME (Follow-Up!!)
        >
        > Some weeks ago fellow group member "g2as_in_good" asked for a
        little info on the origin of the name of the DDOT Imperial Express
        bus route. At the time it was noted that the name was not based on
        any street name (there is no Imperial street in the City of Detroit),
        but instead had its name based on the fact that the route offered a
        different kind of express bus service for Detroiters. The line would
        operate over Detroit freeways as opposed to "Limited" express service
        along surface streets. It was to be, so to speak, the "grandiose" or
        top of the line express service offered by the DSR. Though not the
        first DSR express line to utilize expressways, it was by far the
        longest.
        >
        > A few weeks ago, while at the Detroit Public Library, I decided to
        look up a few old Detroit newspapers printed around the inauguration
        day of the Imperial line, which was Monday, May 28, 1958. According
        to articles I found in the Detroit Free Press, for both May 28th and
        29th, it appears that our conclusions about the line was right on the
        mark, including the info I had received regarding hostesses serving
        refreshments to passengers.
        >
        > The Free Press articles dealt with the DSR going all out to
        inaugurate the new "IMPERIAL NORTHWEST EXPRESS" Line, complete with
        pretty hostesses, free rides, refreshments and dignitaries.
        >
        > On board the inaugural bus was then Mayor Louis Miriani, members of
        the DSR commission, DSR general manager Leo J. Nowicki, and a
        delegation of Northwest side businessman and civic leaders. In
        addition to "Miss DSR" passing out free donuts, milk and orange
        juice, the inaugural bus was even laid-out with thick, red carpeting
        on the floor. I guess it could be said that the DSR rolled out the
        red carpet that day. (LOL)
        >
        > During the first two days of operation bus rides on the new line
        were free, and pretty Miss DSRs passed out milk, fruit juice, dough-
        nuts, potato chips and chewing gum, and "smiled sweetly" while
        greeting patrons trying out the new service.
        >
        > The new Seven Mile Road express would be the DSR's longest express
        line, with one round trip covering 35 miles. Buses traveled from
        Inkster Road, along Seven Mile, James Couzens and the Lodge
        Expressway, downtown to the City-County Building in less than 55
        minutes. The DSR promised that the service from the end of the line
        to downtown would be 20 minutes faster than previous local service.
        Buses would operate daily every 10 minutes during rush hours and
        every 30 minutes the rest of the day. The fare ranged from 45 cents
        to 25 cents.
        >
        > While the Detroit Free Press took more of a positive spin on that
        day, the Detroit News, on the other hand, presented a more negative
        view. Evidently, the same day that the new Imperial Express began
        operating, the DSR also raised the fares on its fourteen other
        express routes as much as 80 per cent, by instituting a new zone fare
        system. While the local fare was a flat 20 cents, regardless of
        distance, the new express bus fares ranged from 45 cents at the end
        of the line to 25 cents nearer downtown. Previously all express rides
        had cost only a quarter.
        >
        > One of the Free Press headlines for their story read, "DSR Glamor
        Bus Rolls into Town," while the Detroit News story carried the
        headlines, "DSR Riders Gripe, Some May Boycott Expresses."
        >
        > The News dedicated a small portion of their article to the new
        express line, but then focused most of its attention on the new
        express zone fare system. The News reported that, "...The reaction of
        riders was mixed. Some paid the higher rates without protest, but
        others were indignant. Many said they would quit riding express buses
        and take locals."
        >
        > The News also interviewed Grand River Express driver Bill Seaton,
        whose bus was only about half full. "(the bus) normally has every
        seat filled, with several persons standing," he said, "I expect the
        DSR to lose about half its express riders." Some riders interviewed
        even complained that some drivers were just as confused about the
        system as they were.
        >
        > But the new express zone fare evidently didn't last too long.
        According to the May-June 1993 issue of Motor Coach Age
        titled "Detroit's DSR, Part 3", by Jack E. Schramm, the zone fare
        system was withdrawn after it was pointed out the the DSR didn't seek
        the proper channels for its approval.
        >
        > But despite all the hoop-la of the day, I guess it could be said
        that the route was named appropriately. Only four DDOT "Limited"
        routes remain today and only one other line utilizes the Detroit
        freeway system. But that DSR "IMPERIAL" line-of-lines of 1958 still
        lives on!
        >
        > -H.B.Craig,II(TTS191776)
        >
        >
        >
        > YOU CAN VIEW THE FREE PRESS ARTICLES ON THE IMPERIAL EXPRESS LINE
        BY CLICKING-ON THE FOLLOWING LINKS:
        > LINK #1: This article is from the Monday morning edition of the May
        28, 1958 Detroit Free Press.
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DSR-2-DOT/files/MISC/DetFreeP_05-28-58.JPG
        >
        > LINK #2: A Free Press photo showing a DSR employee vacuuming the
        red carpet on the new line's inaugural bus. (Tues., May 29, 1958
        edition)
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DSR-2-DOT/files/MISC/DetFreeP_05-29-58-A.JPG
        >
        > LINK #3: This article is from the Tuesday morning edition of the
        May 29, 1958 Detroit Free Press.
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DSR-2-DOT/files/MISC/DetFreeP_05-29-58-B.JPG
        >
        >
        >
      • H.B.Craig-II
        ... Well phantom_ryder ....I guess you could say it has more to do with trying to do the best you can with what you ve got. Believe it or not express bus
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 7, 2004
          --- da_phantom_ryder <brutha4dtown@...> wrote:
          > ok! That was interesting about the imperial line. So somebody tell me
          >
          > why the DOT doesn't offer many express routes today? I can remember a
          >
          > lot more express buses back in the 80s.
          >
          > phantom_ryder
          >
          >

          Well "phantom_ryder"....I guess you could say it has more to do with trying to do the best you can with what you've got.

          Believe it or not express bus service at one time was a top priority at DDOT, but the system fell on hard times and the express routes were terminated. When the service fell to its lowest during the late eighties, early nineties, and half full priority express buses would pass up crowds of local riders, DDOT management felt that the express service should end in order to concentrate more on the local service. Unfortunately, as a result, we lost for good those passengers who would ride the bus out of convenience. Your express bus riders tended to be downtown office workers getting to work who didn't want to drive and pay those high parking rate fees.

          Again you were right on the mark about there being a lot more express buses at one time. Today, there are only four express bus routes (now called "Limiteds") that have survived thru the years. Those routes are: #70-Crosstown Limited, #72-Dexter Limited, #76-Hayes Limited, and #78-Imperial Limited, which travel a slightly different route than the local service. A few lines, such as, Grand River and Gratiot also offer some "Limited" service, and the Plymouth line even uses the Lodge Freeway to travel Downtown.

          When I was hired in back in 1976 there were a large number of express routes offered by DDOT. Check out the following list of express bus routes in service back in 1976:

          #70-HARPER (CADILLAC)
          #71-CROSSTOWN
          #72-DEXTER
          #73-FENKELL
          #74-GRAND RIVER
          #75-GRATIOT
          #76-HAYES
          #77-HAMILTON
          #78-IMPERIAL
          #79-JEFFERSON
          #80-JOY ROAD
          #81-OAKLAND
          #82-PLYMOUTH VIA GRAND RIVER
          #82-PLYMOUTH VIA FREEWAY
          #83-ROUGE EXPRESS (CHICAGO-DAVISON)
          #84-SCHOOLCRAFT
          (discontinued in the late 70's)
          #85-W. McNICHOLS (SECOND)
          #86-VAN DYKE
          #87-VERNOR-MACK
          #88-WOODWARD

          My, my have things really changed over the years!

          I personally enjoyed working the Express Lines. The passengers were a lot more well behaved and there were no school kids to give you extra headaches. Passengers would get on the bus, speak to you "good morning driver!," sit down and read their paper. Many days I thought I was in heaven.
           
          Though I'll admit that a few of the main-street express lines didn't really offer that much of a time savings (only a few minutes faster than the local service), but some of the lines that took shortcuts into town via streets like Grand River and Gratiot I thought were well worth the extra fare. Express lines like Plymouth, Schoolcraft, Rouge Park (W. Chicago), Dexter and the Crosstown Express all used Grand River Avenue as a shortcut on the westside, while the Cadillac, Hayes, and Van Dyke Express would travel via Gratiot Avenue into downtown on the eastside.

          A few express routes even utilized the freeways. While the Fenkell, Hamilton, Imperial and Plymouth express buses used the John C. Lodge Freeway, the W. McNichols (Second) and Oakland express buses used the Chrysler Freeway (I-75). The strangest one of them all though was the #71 Crosstown (Warren Ave.) Express which would travel via Grand River in the A.M., but would use the I-375, I-75 and I-96 freeways on the return trip to the westside in the P.M.

          While I can understand the department's position for eliminating most of the express lines some years ago, some of those express routes could offer our riders less travel time from the far ends of the city into downtown. Maybe....just maybe!!....in our attempt to maybe attract future riders, some of those routes could be restored. Aside from the time savings they could offer our riders, not having to transfer to another coach to arrive downtown could be an added attraction as well. Just a thought!

          -TTS191776


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        • da_phantom_ryder
          Thanks for answering my question on detroit s express service. No school kids on express buses? now i m confused, i do remember some of my friends riding on
          Message 4 of 5 , Feb 8, 2004
            Thanks for answering my question on detroit's express service.

            No school kids on express buses? now i'm confused, i do remember
            some of my friends riding on express buses while growing up in the
            80s.

            phantom_ryder


            --- In DSR-2-DOT@yahoogroups.com, "H.B.Craig-II" <hbcraig2@y...>
            wrote:
            >
            >
            > I personally enjoyed working the Express Lines. The passengers were
            a lot more well behaved and there were no school kids to give you
            extra headaches. Passengers would get on the bus, speak to you "good
            morning driver!," sit down and read their paper. Many days I thought
            I was in heaven.
            >
            >
          • TTS Craig
            ... were ... you good ... thought ... OK phantom_ryder, I ll try to explain what I meant, I didn t mean they didn t use the express service. You just didn t
            Message 5 of 5 , Feb 12, 2004
              --- In DSR-2-DOT@yahoogroups.com, "da_phantom_ryder"
              <brutha4dtown@y...> wrote:
              > Thanks for answering my question on detroit's express service.
              >
              > No school kids on express buses? now i'm confused, i do remember
              > some of my friends riding on express buses while growing up in the
              > 80s.
              >
              > phantom_ryder
              >
              >
              > --- In DSR-2-DOT@yahoogroups.com, "H.B.Craig-II" <hbcraig2@y...>
              > wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > > I personally enjoyed working the Express Lines. The passengers
              were
              > a lot more well behaved and there were no school kids to give you
              > extra headaches. Passengers would get on the bus, speak to
              you "good
              > morning driver!," sit down and read their paper. Many days I
              thought
              > I was in heaven.
              > >
              > >

              OK phantom_ryder, I'll try to explain what I meant,
              I didn't mean they didn't use the express service. You just didn't
              pick-up as many because the discount school cards in that day weren't
              valid on the express buses and most school kids were short-term
              riders who didn't continue on while the bus was in its non-stop
              express mode.

              I do know that some did use the service, but usually they were Cass
              Tech High students who came from all areas of the city to get to
              school. I know cause I too was one of those Cass Tech students who
              benefited from the express service.

              Growing up in the Tireman-Livernois/Wyoming area I had the advantage
              of the Tireman bus going past my block and right past Cass High. But
              on some mornings (many mornings), if I missed my first bus, I could
              take the next Tireman to W. Grand Blvd and Grand River and would use
              the express buses to make-up for the late time. I could transfer to
              the Grand River, Plymouth or Schoolcraft express buses at the Blvd.
              (the last stop for the express buses), drop in the extra dime and be
              at Cass (the first downtown stop) in a little over 6 minutes. While
              the Tireman bus, which used W. Grand Blvd., Myrtle (now Martin Luther
              King Blvd.) and Grand River, would take almost 20 mins to get me
              there. As a matter of fact, most of the standing passengers on the
              express buses I rode on were fellow Cass students.

              So you see, some school students did use the express buses, but the
              vast majority didn't. That's what I meant.

              Hey man.....thanks also for keeping the dialog going!!

              -H.B.Craig,II
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