A local business that many East Lansing residents see cruising across town recently celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in November 2021. The Michigan Flyer was founded on Nov. 16, 2006, by former travel agents Ody and Rachel Norkin in partnership with Indian Trails, Inc. – Michigan’s first and largest bussing service based in Owosso.
Today, the Michigan Flyer is known as a motorcoach connection that transports streams of passengers between East Lansing, Brighton, Ann Arbor, and DTW. Here in East Lansing, the Flyer’s earliest departure is 6:30 a.m. and its latest arrival is 10:30 p.m.
The Michigan Flyer has successfully expanded its services over the last 15 years.
Though the Flyer has had to compete with connecting flights and the possibility of driving and parking at DTW, it has become a key means of transportation in mid-Michigan. From 2012 onward, the Flyer has added four additional roundtrips for a total of 12, and added four new motorcoaches to its fleet. In 2020, Indian Trails began investing $4 million to replace older motorcoaches in the fleet.
The Flyer has developed public-private partnerships with Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA), Michigan State University, and Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW). In recent years, the Michigan Flyer formed another partnership with Livingston County Essential Transportation (LETS), adding an additional stop on its route from East Lansing to DTW.
The Michigan Flyer has also developed the “AirRide” daily service directly from Ann Arbor and DTW and the D2A2 line that takes passengers to and from Blake Transit Center in Ann Arbor to Grand Circus Park in downtown Detroit (a brief walk from the Q Line). This line is ideal for those looking for a quick day trip to downtown Detroit, whether they are catching a game, visiting museums, or going to see their favorite performer in concert at the Fox Theatre.
The Flyer has traveled 11 million miles since its creation, and the transportation service claims that 1.5 million cars have been kept off the roads by their service. Since its inception the Flyer has provided transportation to 2.5 million customers with an on-time rate of 98%, according to their newsletter.
Michigan Flyer also wants to hear about your “Great Connections.”
The Michigan Flyer hosts an essay contest, “Great Connections”. To be eligible, you must subscribe to the Michigan Flyer’s e-newsletter and look for the announcement in the monthly issue.
Founded in February of 2020, the inaugural essay contest received more than 250 passenger essay submissions. Winners of the contest receive $100 gift cards and are announced in the Flyer’s newsletter.
Essays are between 200 and 400 words in length and discuss the Flyer in some way – describing a trip a passenger took to visit family or friends, the importance of travel (and the Flyer to their travels), and more. Interested essayists can look through past issues of the e-newsletter to find winning essays.
There have been five winners of the essay contest hailing from Lansing, Ann Arbor, out-of-state, and even out-of-country. Winning essays are shared in the monthly newsletter that is posted on the Michigan Flyer’s website.