QLine Has Hits and Misses in First Weeks of Operation

If you have found yourself in downtown Detroit recently, you may have noticed a new addition to the city streets - the QLine. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog wrote about the announcement of the QLine in April of 2016, which has since developed from a concept to a fully operational transportation system.

According to The Detroit News, the QLine began operations on May 12, 2017 and rides were free of charge from opening day through Labor Day weekend. Riders began being charged for fares on September 5, 2017 at 6 AM. Over that 12 week time period, the QLine saw ridership increase from 4,000 to 6,300 rides per day. M-1 rail, the company that developed the QLine, said they were prepared for ridership to drop off slightly once fares were put in place, but they expect to average 5,000 rides per day over the first year. The company hopes to reach an average of 8,000 daily riders over the first 5 years of operation. In addition to increased ridership, the QLine also saw an increased number of ride operators. When the QLine opened they had 17 trained operators. They now have 21 and expect to have 27 by the end of their first year. The number of streetcars also increased, as the QLine now has 5 streetcars operating during peak ride times - Monday-Saturday, 10 AM to 7 PM.

Detroit QLine Car Crash Lawyer

The Detroit Free Press reported that the Qline was able to offer free rides for an extended period of time thanks to support from The Kresge Foundation. Now that fairs have been enacted, riders have several options for how they purchase tickets. A three hour pass costs $1.50, and an all day pass costs $3. People who find themselves traveling throughout Detroit often may want to opt for a monthly or yearly pass, which cost $30 and $285 respectively. Riders can purchase passes through a phone app using a credit or debit card. Alternatively, they can purchase tickets at station kiosks using cash and credit or debit cards.

While the payment options to ride the QLine are easy to use, not everything went smoothly on the first day fares were charged, as several kiosks were out of order, and not all stations had taken down signage saying that rides were free, thereby confusing passengers. Passengers also complained about the wait times, although M-1 rail says that wait times have now have decreased from 19 minutes when the QLine first opened, to just under 17 minutes. The company says they are further aiming to shave wait times down to 15 minutes.

Although passengers may not like it, M-1 Rail is likely relieved to now start charging for rides, as construction of the QLine cost $7 million more than expected, according to Crain's Business Detroit. The final estimated cost of the project is $144 million, while earlier estimates expected the project to cost around $137 million. M-1 raised $187.3 million for the project through private donations from corporations, universities, and hospitals. This money was to be used for not only the construction of the QLine, but also to keep it operating for 10 years, before turning it over to the city for it to operate as a public transportation system. But with an estimated yearly operating cost of $5.5-$6 million, this money will fall short of the 10 year mark. M-1 says in order to raise more money, they will solicit more corporate donors as well as government aid, in addition to selling more advertising, and possibly reselling the naming rights.

Detroit QLine Accident Lawyer

In the meantime, M-1 is continuously working on ways to improve riders experiences on the QLine. In order to shorten wait times, the QLine no longer stops at every station. Rather, it only stops if a passenger signals that they want to get off, or if there are passengers waiting to get on. Also helping to shorten wait times is increased battery power, reducing the amount of time cars need to stop to have their battery charged. M-1 is also working with MDOT to improve traffic signaling at large intersections, and police are issuing more tickets and towing cars in order to keep the QLine track free of obstructions. From a technology standpoint, M-1 is working on further developing the QLine app to let riders know when it is approaching, and they are installing electric maps at stations that show points of interest in the city, in relation to their location from that stop. M-1 also plans on adding directional signage to each station that helps riders find their way to downtown.

The QLine runs along Woodward Ave from New Center to Downtown, passing through Wayne State University, Midtown, and Foxtown. The QLine operates Monday-Thursday 6 AM to 11 PM, Friday 6 AM to 12 AM, Saturday 8 AM to 12 AM, and Sunday 8 AM to 8 PM. The QLine runs extended hours for special events such as concerts and home games at Comerica Park, Ford Field, and the new Little Caesars Arena. 

Systems like the QLine are a great transportation option for cities like Detroit, and an effective alternative to drunk driving. After all, the QLine is cheaper than taking an Uber or a Lyft and still helps people avoid the risk of getting into drunk driving accidents. Having a public transportation system also clears up traffic congestion, which in turn keeps drivers from exhibiting road rage that causes car accidents. However the QLine does add yet another obstacle that drivers must pay attention to on busy city streets. It's easy to get into a motor vehicle accident when a driver is taking a right turn at an intersection and doesn't see the QLine streetcar coming up to the light in the lane the driver needs to cross. 

While it may take Detroit drivers some time to get used to sharing the road with this new public transportation system, the long term benefits of the QLine such as preventing drunk driving car crashes and aggressive driving car accidents, make it worth putting up with a little early on confusion. 


Public transportation systems can cut down on the amount of traffic and therefore the number of road rage car accidents in busy cities and on the number of drunk driving car accidents.  However they can also add confusion and distraction to already busy streets, resulting in distracted driving car crashes. If you have been involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, including one involving public transportation, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM to speak with an attorney experienced in handling these types of cases.

Michigan Helps Lead the Country In Autonomous Vehicle Regulations

Michigan Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney

Trying to keep up with the fast-growing autonomous car industry, more than 50 bills have been introduced in 20 states to establish some type of regulation for self-driving vehicles. The Detroit Free Press predicts that autonomous vehicles will transform business models by reducing personal car ownership, restructuring urban and suburban development, and eliminating millions of transportation jobs while at the same time creating many more jobs. Michigan was one of the first states that adopted legislation to make it easier for automakers to test self-driving vehicles on a public road without a driver. Governor Rick Snyder said in December, “We should we proud we’re leading the world, right here in Michigan.” 

Legislation in Michigan also “allows automated platoons of trucks to travel together at set speeds” and “allows networks of self-driving cars that can pick up passengers.” Additionally, Ford’s self-driving Fusions and GM’s self-driving Chevrolet Bolts have been cleared for more testing. 

Michigan is not alone in passing autonomous vehicle legislation. 21 other states and Washington D.C. have also passed legislation or adopted regulations based on a Governor’s executive order. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

However, the lack of uniformity among states may be confusing for owners of self-driving cars and could potentially harm innovation. Chan Lieu, an advisor to the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets (whose members include former Google driverless car project Waymo, automakers Ford and Volvo, and ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft) mentions, “If you had 50 different requirements for 50 different states, each state (might do it) different. It’s going to be very, very difficult to build a vehicle to be effectively sold across the country.” This is all the more reason to distinguish states such as Michigan, as leaders in regulating the autonomous vehicle industry. 

Currently, “states are balancing a desire to be viewed as beacons of innovation while also seeking to protect their residents from technology that remains unproven on a large scale.” Federal regulations, on the other hand, may take years to propose and implement new rules on autonomous cars. This timeline may clash with the fast pace self-driving technology is moving at. 
Car Crash Lawyer Michigan

In the past, individual states have regulated driver behavior while the federal government has regulated the vehicle itself. A House subcommittee was scheduled to meet on June 27, 2017 to discuss several drafts of 14 self-driving bills in Washington D.C. Gary Peters, a US senator representing Michigan, said legislation should be introduced in the next few weeks that will lead to “a complete re-write of federal regulations for motor vehicles when you take the driver out of the car.” US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in Detroit, Michigan last month, that the presidential administration will reveal revised self-driving guidelines within the next few months, in order to “incorporate feedback and improvements recommended by numerous stakeholders.” 

Yet with automakers quickly developing autonomous technology, it will likely be up to individual states to create updated regulations as improvements are made. Safety is the main priority for states looking to support advancements while at the same time minimizing motor vehicle collisions. Jessica Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the California Department of Motor Vehicles, said, “We know this technology can save lives. It can mean mobility for millions of people. So we see all the advantages to it, but at the same time we’re tasked with making sure this technology is safe.” 

With Toyota and the University of Michigan collaborating on autonomous vehicles and the US economy preparing for big changes from self-driving cars, it is no surprise that the state of Michigan is heading towards a safe and supportive environment for future technology. In Detroit, major automakers are the backbone of autonomous improvements. USA TODAY Network reports that GM announced the production on 130 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt test vehicles at its plant in Orion township last month, fulfilling the company’s promise to help maintain Michigan’s leadership in the autonomous car industry. Ford is also among automakers that have proposed to launch a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021. 

Michigan Auto Accident Lawyer

There is no doubt that the Great Lakes State will do innovative things in the coming years as it helps develop and regulate self-driving cars. However, safety is vital when testing new technologies, as even seemingly perfect dream vehicles may put passengers at risk for being involved in motor vehicle crashes. Above all, autonomous vehicles are breaking new ground in the transportation industry, and it will be up to lawmakers-at both state and national levels-to keep up. 


The State of Michigan is the birthplace of cars, and continues to make strides in the automobile industry. As self-driving technology rapidly develops, states like Michigan are working to regulate autonomous vehicles at a similar pace. Safety remains the main priority, as no state wants to compromise the lives of citizens because of a cool car with no one driving it. If you or someone you know has been involved in a severe motor vehicle collision, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Pokemon Go: Virtual Reality Game's Recent Real Life Accidents

As many people know, in today's tech-savvy world, keeping a cell phone in your car is dangerous, and it is even more dangerous to text or use an app on your smartphone while driving. Many apps require a person's attention on their phone screen for more than just a quick glance, which is more than enough time to cause a car collision. This time last year, the Pokémon Go app was just beginning to take users by storm, with people everywhere constantly discussing the game and traveling around town to "catch" the Pokémon. The game projects characters on the screen amid the player's actual surroundings, combining the virtual with reality. One year later, the game continues to develop new features and bring people together, with some even attending in-person live events to play the game. The popularity of the app has created yet another form of distracted driving, and has led to several motor vehicle accidents in Michigan and around the country.

Pokemon Go Car Crash Lawyer

In one example, a man crashed into a cop car in Baltimore, Maryland while playing Pokémon Go, last July. USA TODAY reported that the Pokémon Go enthusiast slammed into a parked Baltimore police car while playing the game on his phone. In body-camera video released by the Baltimore Police Department, several officers are seen standing near the police car as a Toyota Rav 4 slams into the police cruiser and continues driving. In the video, an officer runs after the vehicle, which stops near the end of the block, and the driver gets out of his car. The officer asks if everyone is ok, and the driver, whose face is blurred in the clip, shows the police officers his cellphone. “That’s what I get for playing this dumb--- game,” the man says to the officers. A spokesperson for the police department mentioned that the incident wasn't even the first one that week!

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last summer, CBS News said that teen Autumn Deiseroth was hit by a car in an incident related to Pokémon Go. Deiseroth saud she did everything right while playing the game near her home, including looking both ways before crossing streets, but she was hit by a car anyway, after the game lured her across a busy highway. "She was not walking and playing the game," her mother, Tracy Nolan, told a CBS affiliate. "She was coming home to tell her mother she found Pokémon. I'm blaming the game itself because it's dragging kids across major highways. Kids don't need to be going across highways."

Michigan Phone Car Accident Lawyer

Here in Michigan, Pokémon Go is being blamed for a suspected drunk driver crashing into a parked car in Commerce Township, while his eyes were glued to his smartphone. According to the Detroit Free Press, a 28-year-old Walled Lake man fled in his wrecked car but was arrested after deputies followed a trail of vehicle debris from the crash to the suspect's home. The Oakland County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that deputies determined that the man had been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash and transported him to Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital for a blood draw via a search warrant. He was also treated for injuries sustained in the crash. The suspect told police he had been in the area searching for Pokémon on his phone, while driving, when he struck the parked vehicle. The driver was arrested following his treatment and was lodged in the Oakland County Jail pending charges.

Pokémon Go has even gone so far as to lead to fatal vehicle-pedestrian crashes. On October 14, 2016, 24-year-old Cody Soucie of Roseville, Michigan hit Ryan Mannes, 14, with his motorcycle while Mannes played Pokémon Go with two of his friends. Soucie had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.14, which is almost twice the legal limit. Mannes had walked into the street to catch a Pokémon, as described in the Detroit Free Press, and was hit by Soucie upon returning to the sidewalk. Mannes was pronounced dead at the scene with catastrophic injuries. Soucie was charged with a felony crime that could lead to, up to 15 years in jail. 

Distracted walking, including looking down at cell phones, is an alarming new trend that poses a significant safety threat, in the form of inattentional blindness, to pedestrians and motorists alike. The National Safety Council emphasizes that pedestrians and drivers using cell phones are both impaired and too mentally distracted to fully focus on their surroundings. Of course, no one plans to be hit by a car while playing Pokémon Go. However, what is unknown to many people is that unintentional injuries are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Apps like Pokémon Go and virtual reality games are fun to play and are experiencing a surge in popularity, but users are advised to always be safe while playing, and to definitely never use them while driving, so as to help prevent a severe injury or car crash fatality. 

Michigan Distracted Driving Car Accident Lawyer

Additionally, there are several ways to avoid distracted driving accidents and drunk driving car crashes. Apps have recently been developed that actually work to minimize phone usage while in a vehicle. Car sharing services like Uber and Lyft are available to take people home so that people under the influence don't have to risk their life or the lives of those on the road by driving while intoxicated. Drunk driving and distracted driving are never okay, even if the goal is just to catch Pokémon. As games for smartphones multiply, safety and awareness must also increase, in order to avoid fatal car crashes.


Pokémon Go was created to bring the game to life and to get people to be more active and spent more time outdoors. While these are admirable goals from Niantic, the creater of Pokemon Go, it is important to be safe and vigilant while playing the game, and to never play while driving, as Niantic themselves warn. It is also important to be aware of one's surroundings at all times, because you never know when a vehicle headed your way, if your head is down and absorbed in a game. If you or anyone you know has been involved in a car accident caused by a distracted or drunk driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Automakers Break Into Ride-Sharing Car Market

Uber Car Crash Lawyer

Ride-sharing first became a tech-phenomenon in 2011 when tech-giants, Uber and Lyft, introduced the ability to hail cabs and share rides with friends instantly, through an app available on smart phones. Since then, according to Business Insider, 30% of the U.S. population has reported using some form of a ride-sharing app. Ride-sharing has made transportation fast and convenient, and the industry is only growing as new companies look to break into the market.

However, as Popular Mechanics explains, the sharing trend, as opposed to individuals purchasing and operating their own vehicles, started with car-sharing. Car-sharing became a trend in the automotive industry in 2000 and was popularized by a company called ZipCar, but has just recently taken off since the development of smart phones. Car-sharing allows customers to purchase a membership with a car-sharing service such as ZipCar, which customers can then use along with the company’s website or app, to locate the nearest vehicle, flash their membership card to unlock the vehicle, and then drive the car their reserved time period. While car sharing is very convenient for those who don't own a motor vehicle, it's most common complaint is that most car-sharing companies' customers are given the option to be charged by the day, hour, minute, or mile they drive. Being charged by the minute or mile can get very expensive. However, the positive aspect to car-sharing is that gas and insurance are already included in the fee.

While it was the first to gain popularity, ZipCar is now one of many similar services. Last year, The Michigan Law Firm Blog wrote an article about GM launching its own car-sharing service, Maven. In an effort to become the leading forerunner in personal mobility services, GM acquired assets from Sidecar, a ride-sharing start-up company, in January of 2016 and has also teamed up with the premier ride-sharing brand, Lyft. GM has also broken into the ride-sharing market by introducing Maven Gig, a service that allows drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services to rent Chevy Volts, if they do not have a car of their own, to drive their ride-share costumers in. 

More recently, Daimler and BMW have become the next large automakers attempting to challenge Silicon Valley by designing their own car-sharing and ride-sharing programs. According the The New York Times, Daimler, the makers of the luxury brand, Mercedes-Benz, first introduced its car-sharing brand, Car2Go, in 2008 in Germany, and has since grown to serve about 2.4 million members across 9 countries. 33% of Car2Go members are even located in North America. The Car2Go program has yielded positive results after a 3-year study of 10,000 members done by U.C. Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center, which reported that Car2Go service has reduced vehicle ownership and miles traveled in privately owned cars. As a result, greenhouse emissions have been reduced, 2% to 5% of Car2Go members have sold their privately owned vehicles, and 7% to 10% of members have stopped seeking to purchase a vehicle because of the service.

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

BMW first launched its own car-sharing service, DriveNow, in Europe in 2011. In December of 2016, it went on to launch its North American car-sharing service, ReachNow. BMW has also been testing its own ride-sharing service in Seattle as well. Steve Banfield, the CEO of ReachNow, explained the company’s reasoning to enter into both car-sharing and ride-sharing markets by stating that “sometimes they (customers) want to be driven, sometimes they want to drive. Sometimes they want the car for several days, sometimes they want the car for 10 minutes.” Banfield further explained that offering customers different ways to move about cities allows the company to study and research the method of transportation individuals prefer to use, allowing the company to become closer to the consumer. Both services also allow BMW to promote their luxury brand by offering temporary rides and mobility to individuals. 

A future with autonomous vehicles is inevitable, so it is important for companies to mold a business strategy that will allow themselves to adapt to a new automotive industry that will no longer require individuals to purchase and operate their own vehicles. BMW has reportedly partnered with Intel to begin production of autonomous cars by 2021, while Daimler and Uber have partnered to start their own creation of self-operating vehicles. These large automakers hope by creating their own personal mobility brands and creating early plans to start autonomous vehicle production, they will be able dominate the market in the future.

Detroit Uber Car Accident Lawyer

With these car-sharing and ride-sharing programs, it is important to remember that human drivers are still operating these vehicles (that is, until vehicles become autonomous). Therefore the risk of a car accident due to human error is always present. Thus, passengers should always stay alert while riding in a vehicle and follow car safety precautions such as wearing a seat belt.


The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC is a Metro Detroit law firm that handles all types of accident cases. If you or someone you know has been involved in car, bus, motorcycle, or truck accident, call the The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Lyft Begins Testing Pre-Scheduled Pickups

Lyft, a popular transportation network company, which was founded in 2012, is adapting to the needs of its customers. Customers of services such as Lyft, like to know in advance that they have a future ride secured and scheduled. That is why the company is beginning testing on a new feature that allows passengers to book their ride up to 24 hours in advance. 

Lyft Car Accident Lawyer

“Whether you have an early-morning flight and need to get to the airport or have a make-or-break business meeting cross-town, scheduled rides will get you out the door and off to your destination at your specific pickup time,” Lyft Blog writes. When customers are using the app to select their pickup location, they will be asked to set their desired pickup time by clicking on the clock icon which will appear on the right side of the screen. Lyft also allows riders to update or cancel their pickup up to 30 minutes prior to the requested time. 

This new feature to the service is seen as Lyft gaining an advantage over their rival competition, Uber, which has not yet allowed their users to schedule rides ahead of time. While pre-scheduling pickup times are seen as a customer-friendly move, it will also help the drivers, as this new feature will provide a more steady and reliable stream of money. 

Lyft Car Crash Lawyer

“While on-demand rides remain core to our platform, we’re thrilled to offer even more options to passengers- as well as another opportunity for drivers to earn. Testing for scheduled rides begins shortly in San Francisco, and we look forward to making the feature available to more passengers this summer,” the company stated. 

Meanwhile in Detroit, a “Standard” ride via Lyft (up to 4 passengers) starts at 50 cents, tacks on 17 cents for every minute, as well as 70 cents for every mile. The minimum ride cost is $4, and it costs $5 to cancel a ride. 


Transportation services like Lyft and Uber are great ways to get around town if you are looking to save on gas or find a way home after a night out on the town. Unfortunately, there is a chance that the drivers of these cars may be distracted while driving, as they depend on a GPS map on their device to give them directions. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an accident caused by distracted driving, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us today for a free consultation, at 844.4MI.FIRM.

Ride Sharing Apps Won't Decrease Car Sales

 

Recently there has been a rise in online transportation companies like Uber and Lyft. Due to the easy access of smartphones, with one click of a button, people can have a ride to wherever they want. This can eliminate the problems of finding an empty taxi or having to worry about finding parking while driving.

Ride Sharing App

While these ride share companies have proved to be convenient and popular with citizens, many companies have taken issue to them. This is because places like Metro Detroit thrive on the business of car sales. Therefore automotive companies might see Uber and Lyft as a threat. More people taking Uber and Lyft means that people will be less inclined to lease or buy a car. However a couple of studies have recently seemed to disprove this notion

According to a study by Kelly Blue Book people use the ride sharing apps for various reasons. For some people it could be due to city living and the inconveniences of driving a car, while others were reported to only use the apps for their nightlife.That is why the study mainly determined that people that use Uber and Lyft were looking for an alternative to taxis or other public transportation. One way or another, they were not planning on using a car of their own to get to their destination. Moreover, the study determined that 74% of consumers surveyed said that driving is their preferred mode of transportation. 

Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. said that, “While there are numerous benefits to ride sharing and car sharing, our data reveal that owning a car still reigns supreme, with reliability, safety and convenience all being major factors.”

Zipcar

In addition to companies like Uber and Lyft, which are essentially taxis in peoples' own cars, there are also other ride sharing companies. About 5.8 million people worldwide use services like Zipcar, Daimler’s car2go, and Turo. These companies allow car owners to rent out their vehicles to others. Instead of someone being chauffeured around, they can drive other peoples' cars to get to where they want. 

However, that doesn't mean the users of these type of companies don't necessarily want to buy a car either. The Kelley Blue Book did a survey on the habits of these users.

Kelley Blue Book Car Ride Sharing App Statistics

1. According to the survey 81% said that vehicle ownership is more reliable.

2. 76% of these users said that they plan to buy or lease their own vehicle within two years time.

3. 80% thought that owning their own car was safer.

All of this data shows that despite the boom of ride sharing apps, car companies don't need to worry about their sales being affected. Uber, Zipcar, and other ride sharing companies are alternates to public transportation, not to buying or leasing a car. The vast majority of their users are planning on getting a car of their own in the near future.


Having the opportunity to use Uber or Lyft might decrease someone’s chance of getting to a car accident. Nevertheless that doesn’t mean that accidents don't occur. Whether you are driving your own car or using someone else's’ car with Turo, there is always the possibility of a motor vehicle collision occurring. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an car accident of any kind, call the The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.