A ride on Detroit's buses with the new DDOT director - FOX 32 News Chicago

A ride on Detroit's buses with the new DDOT director

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(WJBK) -

Mayor Duggan has pledged to turn around Detroit's bus system. Friday new DDOT director Dan Dirks boarded the bus with FOX 2's Amy LAnge and got an up-close look at the broken buses and frustrated passengers.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch the report
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"Yesterday I waited two hours on the Jefferson bus."

"There's not enough buses."

"The man said we can't get on there - he's got to check the brakes."

The complaints are all too common and standing in the middle of them with FOX 2 on Friday was Detroit Department of Transportation's new director, Dan Dirks.

He, too, was waiting for the bus.

"And rightfully so that they are frustrated, but, again, the bottom line is that we have old buses - over nine years old - that many cases haven't been maintained the way they should and we're paying for some past problems," says Dirks.

But those past problems are now his current problems, fixing old buses and looking to lease newer buses.

On Friday 150 to 160 buses were on the streets of Detroit. There should be 227 buses.

Dirks has been riding the buses frequently to get a feel for what passengers and drivers are going through, and many people want to talk to him and tell their stories, offer suggestions and ask for help.

"Most of the folks on our buses are using this to get to work, go to the doctor's office, go to school. That's why it's important for many folks but it's critical for our customers," Dirks tells FOX 2's Amy Lange.

Also important to address is security for passengers and the drivers. With buses as full as they are, anything can happen.

"We have four cameras around the drivers. We have three cameras in the back," district superintendent Ansel Stewart points out. He says eight cameras total are on board that particular bus and are constantly recording.

"Passengers should feel very safe but also, for security reasons for our operators, operators [are going to] to feel safe because they know they have an extra eye on them. As a matter of fact, we have eight extra eyes keeping an eye out for the operators," says Stewart.

Only two buses right now are equipped with the security cameras but they're hoping to have 30 buses outfitted by the end of the month.

In the meantime Detroiters will continue to demand improvements, and Dirks will keep working to make that happen.

"We're just trying everything we can to improve the service as quick as possible," he says.

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