Documenters on the Bus 2023 (Special Assignment!) - Route 7, Seven Mile

Detroit Department of Transportation

Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023
12:07 p.m. EDT

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For this assignment, you must ride DDOT Route 7 (Seven Mile) in its entirety. Notes and documentation are due by Monday, Nov. 6.

Welcome to Outlier Media’s second annual Documenters on the Bus! Detroit may be the Motor City, but plenty of residents rely on public transportation to get to where they need to be.

This year, we’re putting Documenters on buses to ride DDOT’s ConnectTen routes in their entirety.

The assignment will use a public transit journey to gain firsthand knowledge about the state of public transit in Detroit today.

You must ride the ConnectTen route listed in the assignment title. You can get on anywhere you like, but you must ride it all the way to the end, stay on, ride it all the way to the other end, and then back to where you started. You will enter your start and end times on your checklist just as you would a meeting, and will be paid for the total ride time plus 2.5 hours, with a $100 minimum per assignment.

We are assigning two Documenters to each route. You are welcome to ride together, but it is not required. One of you will document logistics: timeliness, delays, cars blocking bus stops, etc. The other will document the environment: cleanliness, bus shelters/seating or lack thereof, friendliness of drivers, etc. Once you are assigned, we will let you know which set of issues you are documenting and label it on your notes document.

You will be given a Documenters on the Bus Toolkit with a bus pass and all the resources and information you’ll need to guide you through this journey. Toolkits are available for pickup anytime at Outlier’s offices at TechTown, or delivery by Lynelle and me to your location can be arranged.

When your trip is complete, you will submit all your documentation and a written report of your experience in a set of notes, just as you would a regular meeting assignment. We ask that you please cap your notes to three pages, single spaced. We encourage other documentation such as photos or live tweets of your travels, all uploaded to your assignment submission page.

Your written notes and complete documentation must be submitted before Monday, Nov. 6.

This year, there are no points to keep track of and it’s not a competition. We are also not asking you to interview fellow riders, though you may if you wish. All participants will get some cool Outlier swag upon completion of the assignment.

As always, we want to create an accurate record. It’s as important to record an on-time arrival and a helpful driver as it is to make note of a missing bus shelter or a long wait.

Email Lynelle and Noah at with any questions.


Edited and summarized by the Detroit - MI Documenters Team

Note-taking by Tiffany Pilson

Tiffany notices the unkempt conditions of the bus stops on 7 Mile east of Woodward Ave, and opines the scheduled stop arrival times are unrealistic.

Note-taking by Clarissa Williams

Clarissa struggles with the bus tracker; one bus passes her at the stop, later another bus picks her up at an unmarked stop.


By Tiffany Pilson 10/28/2023
By Clarissa Williams 10/28/2023

Agency Information

Detroit Department of Transportation

The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) is the largest public transit provider in Michigan that serves the City of Detroit, surrounding suburbs, and neighboring cities, including Highland Park and Hamtramck. DDOT prides itself on providing reliable, clean, safe, and efficient service.


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