Seen as the spiritual home of the American automobile industry, most residents of Detroit own cars. Given the considerable size of the metro and the fact that public transport isn't quite as extensive as in other major cities in the US, newcomers will do well to invest in their own set of wheels, particularly as it allows them to explore a bit further afield.
Public transport in Detroit
Public transport here isn’t all that comprehensive, especially compared to other US cities such as New York or Boston. Most residents use cars, buses and taxis to get around, and new arrivals should consider purchasing or hiring a vehicle when settling down in Detroit.
When travelling around the central business district it might be a good idea to make use of the Detroit People Mover, an elevated rail system covering 13 stations.
A tram called the QLine traverses both downtown and uptown Detroit.
There are bus services that connect the suburbs and city, with Greyhound, Megabus and SMART all operating throughout the city.
Taxis in Detroit
Taxis can be hailed off the street, found at taxi ranks or booked in advance. They're a good way to get around in a pinch, but as a daily means of commuting they can become expensive pretty quickly. Ride-hailing services such as Uber, Zipcar and Lyft also operate in the city.
Cycling in Detroit
Sometimes it’s far easier to cycle than drive or take a taxi, with bicycles available to rent from Wheelhouse Detroit. There is also a bike-sharing company called MoGo operating in the city, with more than 40 stations dotted throughout the main city area. There are also large bicycle communities and events such as the Hub of Detroit, Slow Roll and Detroit Critical Mass that take advantage of this generally cycle-friendly city.
Driving in Detroit
Most people here drive. Unfortunately, the Motor City has some of the most expensive car insurance rates in the country. Because of the freeze and thaw cycle of winter, road repairs are seemingly always ongoing. Just like any big city, rush hour brings traffic jams, and there is a predictable disparity between the standard of roads in poorer and richer areas. It’s also good to get to grips with the grid and hub-and-spoke system in order to navigate the city.
►Learn about the various neighbourhoods in Areas and Suburbs of Detroit
Are you an expat living in Detroit?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Detroit. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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