Transit Guide: Corktown Detroit
Here’s how to get to and around Detroit’s oldest neighborhood using public transit.
Corktown Transit Options
Although the last streetcar left Michigan Ave in 1956 and the last passenger train departed Michigan Central Station in 1988, the buses have never stopped running through Corktown. There are several bus routes that connect Corktown to Downtown Detroit, Dearborn, DTW Airport and other parts of Detroit. Why ride the bus? Buses are a great option rather than paying for an Uber or for parking.
$2.00 - four hour pass, $0.50 w/DDOT Student ID, $0.50 Seniors/Disabled. $5.00 24/hr pass. Pay with cash or use Token Transit App.
#2 Michigan Ave is a *24–7 service bus route that runs between Downtown Detroit (Rosa Parks Transit Center) & Fairlane Town Center with stops in Corktown, East Dearborn, Ford World Headquarters & Fairlane Town Center. *After midnight, the bus only runs between downtown & Schaefer in Dearborn.
Popular destinations include: Downtown Detroit, Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, PJ’s Lager House, James Oliver Coffee & Bagels, Brooklyn Street Local, Ottova Via, Detroit Axe, The Godfrey Hotel, Nemo’s Bar, McShane’s, UFO Factory, The Corner Ballpark-PAL, Alpino, Bobcat Bonnie’s, Corktown Tavern, Ima Izakaya, Sugar House, Motor City Wine, Mercury Burger & Bar, Slow’s BBQ, Cork & Gable, Two James, Takoi, Supergeil, Hygrade Deli, El Barzon, Senate Theater, Rincon Tropical, Telway Hamburgers, Adonis Restaurant and Banquet, M&M Cafe, Arab American National Museum, City Hall Artspace Lofts, Baba’s Grill, Sheeba Restaurant, Habib’s Cuisine, Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, Ford World Headquarters, Fairlane Town Center, UofM Dearborn & Henry Ford College.
#1 Vernor is a new 24–7 route that runs between Downtown Detroit (Rosa Parks Transit Center) and East Dearborn with major stops in south Corktown, Mexicantown, Springwells and the historic Ford Rouge Plant.
Popular destinations include: Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, Double Tree Suites by Hilton Hotel Detroit-Fort Shelby, Channel 4 WDIV, John King Rare Books, MDOT, US Post Office, Brew Detroit, Trumbull & Porter Hotel, Batch Brewing, Mudgie’s Deli, Alpino, Folk, Southwest Greenway, Honeybee Market, Mexican Village, Matrix Theatre Company, Mexicantown, El Club, Southwest (so many food options!) Ford Rouge Plant & East Dearborn.
Popular destinations include: Beacon Park, Republic Tavern, The District Detroit & stadiums, Grand Circus Park, People Mover, Westin Book Cadillac, The Detroit Club, Cobo Center, Double Tree Suites by Hilton — Fort Shelby, Press Room Detroit, John King Used Books, Wayne County Community College, US Post Office, Brew Detroit, Red Dunn, Trumbull & Porter Hotel, Batch Brewing, Mudgies Deli, Hello Records, Alpino, Folk,, The Corner Ballpark — PAL, Corktown, UFO Factory, Elton Park, MotorCity Casino, Scripps Park, Detroit Public Library Douglass Branch, WSU Sports Complex, Katsu Detroit, Bikes & Coffee, Pie-Sci, Woodbridge Pub, Lincoln Street Art Park, Marble Bar, Motown Museum, Henry Ford Hospital, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Durfee Elementary, UofD Mercy, Livernois Ave of Fashion & Fitzgerald Neighborhood Development.
Other bus routes
SMART bus primarily operates in the suburbs but does run buses into and out of the city. Fares are $2 for adults, $1 for students (6–18), $0.50 seniors/disabled.
#261 FAST Michigan runs every 30–40 minutes between Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) and Downtown Detroit. This service takes about one hour to reach Detroit traveling on Michigan Avenue. It makes select stops in Inkster, West Dearborn, John D. Dingell Transit Center, East Dearborn, Wyoming Park & Ride, Senate Theater, Corktown, Rosa Parks Transit Center, Grand Circus Park and Downtown Detroit.
Popular destinations include: The David Whitney Building (Aloft Hotel), Comerica Park, Ford Field, Detroit Opera House, The Gem Theater, The Fillmore, Fox Theater, Little Caesars Arena, Coleman A Young Municipal Center, Spirit Plaza, Hart Plaza, Campus Martius, Cobo Center, Foundation Hotel, Westin Book Cadillac, American & Lafayette Coney Islands, Capitol Park, Corktown, Hygrade Deli, Senate Theater, East Dearborn, Dearborn Transit Center, Greenfield Village, The Henry Ford, West Dearborn, Inkster, Romulus Amazon Fulfillment Center & DTW Airport.
#200 Michigan Avenue Local runs between Wayne (Ford Truck Plant), Fairlane Town Center (seven days) and Downtown Detroit (weekdays only). During peak commute hours, the buses run all the way to Larned & St. Antoine. Off peak hours the buses only run to Fairlane Mall and back. This is a good route for commuting into and out of the city. Saturdays and Sundays the bus doesn’t go east of Fairlane Mall.
Detroit’s bike sharing system is a great way to get around. $8 grants you 24 hrs of access to 30 minute rides. This is perfect when you are on foot and need to get from one neighborhood to another. No bikes available? Contact them and they’ll bring more!
Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, was founded in 1838 primarily by immigrants from Cork County Ireland. The neighborhood is about to get a massive booster shot named Ford Motor Company, a name long synonymous with Detroit. Ford recently announced the purchase of the long abandoned Michigan Central Station which will bring sweeping changes to the neighborhood. Ford recently moved 200 employees into a nearby industrial building signaling a return to the city the company was founded in. As you can see in the images below, automotive infrastructure really did a number on Corktown. As more commuters return to Detroit we’d like to educate them on how they can get around Corktown to downtown using existing transit.
Corktown’s Main Street: Michigan Ave.
“Potawatomi Trail, The Great Sauk Trail, Chicago Road, Michigan Ave, M-12.”
This ancient road runs through the heart of Corktown. In my blog “Cars Are Returning to Detroit,” I included a link to local historian Paul Sewick’s blog on how Michigan Ave came to be 120 feet wide and devoid of many buildings. Before Detroit dug highways, it widened its spoke roads: Jefferson, Gratiot, Woodward, Grand River, Michigan Ave & Fort Street to try and relieve congestion. This had devastating effects on commercial districts which are still visible in Corktown today. As the corridor gets rebuilt, these extra wide avenues are perfect for multi-modal transportation including protected bike lanes and bus stops.