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October 03, 2014 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-03

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2 - Friday, October 3, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

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LEFT Students rally for
President Mark Schlissel to fire
Athletic Director Dave Brandon
on the Diag Tuesday. (Ruby


RIGHT Students display
their support for the protesters
in Hong Kong on the Diag
Wednesday. (Abby Kirn/Daily)

Social justice Costume Musicology Good Kids
conference design exhibit Lecture performance

WHAT: A conference about
data, social justice and the
humanities will explore
how these three topics are
WHO: Digital Currents
WHEN: Today from 8:30
a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: North Quad,
Ehrlicher Room
WHAT: Eat some lunch
and join the Career Center
advisers for free food.
WHO: The Career Center
WHEN: Today from 12 p.m.
to 1 p.m.
WHERE: Student Activities

WHAT: Prof. Jessica Hahn
will showcase a selection
of costumes from plays and
musicals that were created
by students.
WHO: School of Music,
Theatre & Dance
WHEN: Today at 12 p.m.
WHERE: Duderstadt
Cold War
WHAT: Arvind
Rajagopal will discuss
India in relation to the
Cold War and Cold War
WHO: Center for South
Asian Studies
WHEN: Today from 4 p.m.
to 6 p.m.
WHERE: School of Social
Work Building, Room 1636

WHAT: Explore 20th
century cinema with Prof
Berthold Hoeckner.
WHO: School of Music,
Theatre & Dance
WHEN: Today at 5 p.m.
WHERE: School of Music,
Theatre & Dance, Room 506

WHAT: Take in aplay
exploring sexual violence in
the world of social media.
Student tickets are $10.
WHO: School of Music,
Theatre & Dance
WHEN: Today from 8p.m.
to 10 p.m.
WHERE: Walgreen Drama
Center - Arthur Miller

Tom Cutinella, a high
school junior, died
Wednesday due to a head
injury sustained while play-
ing football, ESPN reported.
He collapsed on the field after
beinghit. He was rushed into
surgery, but later died.
The Michigan Daily
Editorial Board pro-
poses stricter , con-
cussion policies that the
University and NCAA should
adopt immediately. It's time
to take student safety seri-
In Texas, health offi-
cials say 100 people are
being monitored for
Ebola, The New York Times
reported. Many people being
monitored came in contact
with Thomas Duncan, a
patient who is in serious con-
dition at aDallas hospital.

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VIDEEDIOS:Puri ec nJames Reslier-Wells
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The Michigan Daily (ISSN 0745-967) is published Monday through Fridayaduringthe fall and winter terms by
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Marilyn Horne Mattiones&the

singing class
WHAT: Renowned soprano
Marilyn Horne will work
with members of the voice
department. The public is
welcome to observe.
WHO: School of Music,
Theatre & Dance
WHEN: Today at 5 p.m.
WHERE: Walgreen Drama
Center, Stamps Auditorium

WHAT: Matt Jones, a song-
writer from Ypsilanti, will
perform in Ann Arbor. His
music explores sin and the
human condition.
WHO: Michigan Union
Ticket Office
WHEN: Tonight at 8p.m.
WHERE: The Ark, 316S.
Main St.


Grant for. Detroit transit
should improve access

Federal and state
money to bring 50
new buses to city
Daily StaffReporter
New federal money for the
Detroit Department of Transpor-
tation offers an opportunity to
improve the city's bus system.
Detroit was granted nearly $26
million by the Federal Transit
Administration last Thursday - a
grant that was partially matched
by state funds for a total of $32.3
million. The money went toward
the purchase of 50 new city buses,
said Megan Owens, executive
director of Transportation Riders
"The Federal Department of
Transportation provides support
for purchasing new buses regu-
larly and the secretary of trans-
portation said that Detroit made

a compelling case that they have
a real need to increase their bus
fleets," Owens said. "There was
about $100 million available
nationally and Detroit got about
$26 million, which is pretty sub-
She said Detroit will receive
its buses in the next six to 18
months. Owens explained this
implementation time is typical,
because the city has to work out
the logistics of contracts and of
manufacturing the buses before
they arrive.
"Another nice thing is that the
city was able to repurpose some
other funds that they had to pur-
chase another 30 buses," Owens
said. "Those are already on order
and they're hoping to have -at
least some of those buses running
before the end of the year. Alto-
gether, gaining another 80 buses
over the next year or so should
provide a big help to the city,
improving its reliability."
One third of Detroit house-

holds do not have a car and rely
on buses, biking and walking, she
said. Detroit's transportation sys-
tem is unreliable in part because
there are not enough buses run-
ning to meet current schedule
requirements. The current sched-
ule requires about.225 buses, but
there are only 180 buses in the
city's fleet.
"There are bus routes that just
don't have a bus operating and
there's no way for the passengers
to know that; say, Woodward is
supposed to have six buses oper-
ating on it in order to handle the
20,000 people a day who ride,
but if they only have four buses
that day, the buses get very over-
crowded and get behind," Owens
said. "It really makes a lot of peo-
ple late."
Daniel Spyker, associate mem-
ber of the Consumer Family
Adversary Council of the Detroit
Wayne County Community Men-
tal Health Agency, has been riding
city buses as many as six times per
day for the last 32 years. He said
the bus system is undependable
and not accessible for those with
mental health disabilities.
"I would say as far as perfor-
mance, my view of the city buses is
unfavorable for me and the people
I work with," Spyker said. "People
can't get to their jobs or job inter-
views on time and miss doctor's
Unlike major Midwestern cit-
ies like Chicago, Detroit does not
have a sales tax on transportation,
Owens said. Cuts have been made'
to transportation over the last
decade as Detroit struggled with
its finances and decides how to
distribute its scarce dollars, lead-
ing to inadequate transportation
"The amount that the city has
allocated has dropped to half over
the last six or eight years," Owens
said. "They used to be spending
$80 to $90 million every year to
run a transit system for the city.
Now that's closer to $50 million.
And so that's one of the big chal-
lenges, that there is no money that
automatically goes to the transit

From Page 1
Shen and Mecham began work-
ing with one another through
"Startup Academy," an annual
event put on by entrepreneur-
ship-focused student organiza-
tion MPowered. There, Shen said,
Mecham helped him explore the
idea of renting out self-storage and
catering that to students asa prof-
itable service.
The duo conducted a test run
this summer with a group of
roughly 30 students, selling them
cardboard boxes for a nominal fee
and storing their goods in a small
warehouse space. What made
their services different from other
storage facilities, they said, was
charging students for their boxes
on a monthly basis and not charg-
ing them at all for pickup and
The average rate for these
boxes is $10 per month - totaling
roughly $40 for the duration of
summer break.
Now, they are changing their
business model and moving away
from cardboard boxes. Vaultd has
paired with a manufacturer and
has ordered a limited quantity of.
large plastic boxes measuring 24
by22 by12 inches.
"Because we used the card-
board boxes, we found that after
a few months, even in a climate-
controlled facility, between mov-

ing and transporting stuff, and
stacking the boxes on top of each
other, they just kind of got warped
and damaged," Mecham said.
"With plastic bins, they're a lot
more sturdy, they're waterproof
... you can even zip-tie them," he
Vaultd's main competitor as of
this moment, it seems, is John's
Pack and Ship. For its standard,
18-by-18-by-24-inch large box,
the company charges from $55 to
$187.50 for five to eight months of
storage, with the pricing contin-
gent on the weight of the box.
John's Pack and Ship also sells
its own cardboard boxes; each
large box costs $5.
Furthermore, a local self-stor-
age unit, such as Stop 'N Lock,
costs $33 per month for its small-
est locker, which is 5 by5 feet.
Since its summer trial period, in
which Shen and Mecham invested
their personal funds, Vaultd has
received a $5,000 grant from
Grand Rapids startup accelerator
Start Garden. Mecham said the
company will now use this to test
a new theory that students may
even desire extra storage during
the year.
The decision to test this comes
after Vaultd used its capital from
the summer to invest in a larger
storage warehouse in downtown
Ann Arbor, for quick and local
access to students' stored goods.
The hope, after this three-
month trial period, is to re-pitch
their business to Start Garden

for an additional $20,000 invest-
ment. Shen said the company has
also networked with other helpful
local sources through the Univer-
sity's Center for Entrepreneur-
ship, where Mecham works as a
peer advisor.
The duo has attended events
at startup incubator Ann Arbor
SPARK, and was even encouraged
to apply for a grant through a Ross
School of Business commercial-
ization fund.
Another goal of the company
is to expand into a peer-to-peer
storage service by creating a web
- and eventually, mobile - app.
Essentially, Mecham said, Vaultd
wants to set up a social network
through which students can keep
extra items in the homes of local
students and residents willing to
store them on their behalf for a
small fee.
The company would still
charge its standard $10 per box
per month, and would seek com-
mission from the people storing
boxes in their homes. Mecham
said Vaultd has also considered
pairing ridesharing services such
as Uber or Lyft to streamline
delivery and pickup methods as
well as engage more with the Ann
Arbor community.
"We're hoping that this ... one-
size box, flat rate, monthly, will
definitely be able to compete
well," Mecham said. "Especially
with our modernized web and
mobile app, which definitely
appeals to college students."

Detroit's total area is dispropor-
tionate to its population, which is
now less than 700,000. Population
decline has eroded Detroit's tax
base, leaving less money to devote
to transportation. Detroit's popula-
tion peaked at around 1.8 million
residents in the 1950 census and
has been declining since.
"There is hope that in the next
couple of years there will be a
regional tax on the ballot to help
support an improved regional
transit effort that would improve
regional transit between Detroit'
and Ann Arbor to supplement what
the city is doing and provide some
additional options for people to
get around," Owens said. "We now
have this Regional Transit Author-
ity thatoversees DDOT, Ann Arbor
Transit, SMART and the People

Mover. They're looking for ways to
improve the service."
Owenssaid adding50 new buses
to the fleet is a step in the right
direction for Detroit's transpor-
tation system, but there are still
changes to personnel hiring and
the buses' maintenance that the
city needs to make to permanently
improve its transportation reliabil-
"They still need to fix their
maintenance so that these buses
can stay in good condition," Owens
said. "Getting new buses and then
not keeping up on them doesn't
When bus drivers quit or retire,
it is hard for the city to find people
to replace them who have experi-
ence, training and can pass drug
testing, Spyker said.
"If a bus breaks down or one

person doesn't come in, the whole
system shakes," Spyker said. "Last
year one of my favorite drivers on
the Livernoisbustold mehissuper-
visor was literally having a stress-
related mental breakdown because
someone didn't show up. When
this happens people just sit around
waiting for the bus to come."
To succeed, Detroit needs reli-
able public transportation for the
people who rely on it, Owens said.
"It's just something that every
city needs to have," Owens said.
"We need to have transportation
options. Everyone of us is one bro-
ken leg away from needing transit
to get where we need to go, but
especially in Detroit ... Ultimately,
Detroiters are never going to be
able to get ahead if they're unable
to get around through reliable



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