Detroit Activists Force Mayor to Commit to Quality Paratransit Services

By Fighting Words Staff

A press conference was held outside City Hall on Thurs. December 1, 2022. Several community organizations spoke on behalf of thousands suffering due to the abysmal failure of the city administration under corporate-imposed Mayor Mike Duggan to provide adequate and efficient transportation to people living with disabilities and senior citizens.

Transdev has been harshly criticized as a transportation service contracted by the Dugganites. After the City Council heard public comments about the substandard services during a series of hearings over several weeks, the administration said it would reduce availability by 70% after the mayor did not get the Transdev contract extended for five years.

This is clearly a violation of the civil and human rights of the thousands dependent upon this service. Several organizations spoke out at the press conference such as Warriors on Wheels (WOW) and the National Federation of the Blind Detroit chapter (NFB), among others. Spokespersons at the press conference were Richard Clay, Lisa Franklin, Tameka Citchen-Spruce and Marguerite Maddox.

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition supported the press conference by  bringing signs and standing in solidarity with WOW, NFB and senior communities.

As a result of the organizing work of the community, the mayor announced that he would utilize his emergency authority to maintain service for paratransit users. In doing this Duggan did not acknowledge the essential role played by NFB Detroit chapter and WOW.

In a social media post by  Richard Clay, a leading force in the Detroit chapter of the NFB, he emphasizes in response to the mayor’s announcement at his own press conference that: “The truth: he was caught in a vice. The national headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind leaned heavily on the Federal Transportation Administration and the United States Department of Justice. They in-turn clamped-down on the Teflon-don.

“We, the local activists smashed him from the opposite flank led by Warriors On Wheels and the National Federation of the Blind Detroit and Michigan. We put the pressure on so tight that the mainstream media, which he completely owns, cracked, gave us coverage, and started to advance on him from a third flank.

“Ironically, the people whom Duggan deemed to be the weakest just proved to easily be his most formidable adversaries, simultaneously defeating his terrible contract, scare tactics,  and slanderous media  narratives all in 8 weeks time.”

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