Transit Guide: Detroit Area Hotels

Did you know that you can reach dozens of hotels in Detroit & Metro Detroit using public transit? For this guide we’ll focus on the SMART FAST bus system, People Mover, & QLine.

FAST Bus pulling away from the David Whitney Building / ALOFT Hotel — Photo by David Gifford

What is a FAST Bus? There are two bus providers in Metro Detroit: DDOT & SMART. DDOT runs primarily in Detroit and SMART runs primarily in the suburbs. SMART does offer some peak downtown routes which means AM & PM commuting hours only. In January of 2018 SMART started a new service called FAST (Frequent Affordable Safe Transit). These buses run all day, not just during peak hours, seven days a week on Gratiot, Woodward & Michigan Ave. They feature free WiFi and make limited stops making for a faster trip than a traditional bus route. Ask for the 4hr or 24hr DART pass when boarding. A 4hr pass is $2 for adults, $0.50 for students & seniors with ID and $0.50 for those with disabilities. A 24hr pass is $5 for adults, $2 for students & seniors with ID and $2 for those with disabilities. Transfers are free.. Learn more at www.ridesmart-fast.org or click here for the Transit Guide. You can now pay for your bus fare with the DART App! Download it and go cashless.

FAST Michigan — Image by SMART Bus

Let’s start here at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus. Say you are flying into Detroit and have to get to your hotel once you land. You could A) Rent a car and drive. If your hotel is in Detroit, you may have to pay to park your rental car. B) Have an Uber, Lyft or taxi pick you up. You’re looking at about $30+ to get to downtown Detroit or more if you’re headed to the suburbs. C) Rely on family or friends to pick you up or D) Head to the FAST Michigan Bus stop and get to Detroit for just $2. If you’re in the North Terminal, cross the bridge and take the elevator to the ground transportation level and wait for the bus. At the McNamara Terminal buses arrive and depart at the Air France check in and departure gate. You’ll have to head back up to the top where cars drop people off to reach this bus stop. The FAST bus is the airport’s best kept secret. It runs to downtown Detroit & back all day 7 days a week. Frequency is about every 45 minutes.

If you are staying near the airport, you can ride FAST to the Merriman & Flynn Drive bus stop. Beyond this first FAST stop you’ll find the road names next to the hotel names to know which stop they are located at.

Note: many of these hotels provide free shuttles.

  • America’s Best Value Inn (Schaefer Rd)
Click here for larger SMART map
FAST Woodward — Image by SMART Bus

The FAST Woodward buses runs between Pontiac (#462), Troy (#461) and downtown Detroit 7 days a week. There are many nearby hotels along the route. The list below lists the hotel and what stop to exit at.

FAST Gratiot — Image by SMART Bus

The FAST Gratiot buses runs between Chesterfield (#563), Mt Clemens (#561) and downtown Detroit 7 days a week. Route #562 is a M-F peak route. There are several nearby hotels along the route. The list below contains the hotel and what stop to exit at.

Image by Detroit People Mover

The Detroit People Mover makes a 2.6 mile loop clockwise around downtown. It connects to over a dozen downtown hotels. Links to hotels and stations are provided. Cost to ride is $0.75.

Image by QLine Detroit

The QLine runs 7 days a week between downtown Detroit and New Center (3.3 miles). Click here for hours and more info. Cost is $1.50 (3 hrs) & $3.00 (24-hrs).

New ConnectTen branding on DDOT

These are the hotels you can reach on the regular DDOT Bus. Ask for the 4hr or 24hr DART pass when boarding. A 4hr pass is $2 for adults, $0.50 for students & seniors with ID and $0.50 for those with disabilities. A 24hr pass is $5 for adults, $2 for students & seniors with ID and $2 for those with disabilities. Transfers are free.

Avid transit blogger from Metro Detroit. www.transitguidedetroit.com