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Millions of travelers utilize public transportation while vacationing and although Traverse City is small, one of its greatest assets is safe & efficient public transit. Even though options are limited, it is certainly possible to use public transit & enjoy all that Northern Michigan offers. (Traverse City is also very bike-friendly)
Public transit can be an especially smart choice for travelers in small tourist towns such as Traverse City, where the traffic congestion is so notorious that locals call it “Traffic City”. Beyond easing traffic problems, other benefits of public transportation include eliminating parking hassles & fees, reducing stress and safely enjoying the scenery with a professional driver who knows the area well. It is also well established that public transportation helps protect the naturally beautiful environment that draws so many people to Traverse City.
LOCAL BUS SERVICE
Public transportation in Traverse City is centered around the bus system. Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) provides bus service 7 days a week in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties, including the communities of Interlochen, Williamsburg, Fife Lake, Empire, Suttons Bay, Glen Arbor and more.
The main bus terminal is located on Hall St, 1 block north of Front St; a secondary terminal (transfer station) is located at the corner of Cass & S. Airport Roads. The Hall St station is also an Indian Trails agent and bus stop. (more info below)
All BATA buses are wheelchair accessible and all are equipped with bike racks to transport your wheels. (front bumper racks accommodate 3 bikes)
BATA is closed on a few holidays & occasionally during bad weather.
BATA offers several types of service & various payment options - this is a general description; detailed information can be found on theBATA website.
BATA offers 5 City Loop routes servicing the neighborhoods within about 4 miles of downtown Traverse City. These buses run every 1/2 hour on fixed routes with designated stops; many have covered shelters. Bus stops are shown on Google Maps
City Loops operate 7 days a week, from approximately 6AM to 9PM, with limited weekend service. City Loop fares are $1.50 one-way and include a time-restricted transfer ticket, which allows riders to change buses at a transfer station in order to complete their journey. Transfer tickets MUST be requested when boarding the bus.
City Loop buses provide service to shopping malls, the library, grocery stores, the college, parks, trails and nearly all downtown shops & restaurants. (check the website for schedules)
There are 5 Village Loop routes servicing numerous small towns outside of Traverse City. Village Loop buses usually depart the Hall St terminal hourly & make several designated stops; terminal to end-point travel time is about 1 hour, cost is $3/person, 1-way.
Loop buses run 7 days a week with limited weekend service. (check the website for schedules)
These are the Village Loop buses and a few of the stops they make:
* The Northport bus makes stops in Suttons Bay, Omena & at the Leelanau Sands Casino.
* The Empire bus makes stops in Maple City, Glen Arbor and the Homestead Resort.
* The Interlochen bus stops at Grand Traverse Mall & several other places enroute to the arts academy.
* The Williamsburg bus makes several stops including the Grand Traverse Resort and Turtle Creek Casino.
* The Fife Lake bus stops in Mayfield, Kingsley and at Cherry Capital Airport (the inbound bus arrives downtown about 20 minutes after leaving the airport).
City & Village Link buses are BATA’s dial-a-ride service, however, they must be scheduled at least 1 day in advance. Link fares are $3/person, 1-way.
City Link service is available 7 days a week from 6AM to 12 Midnight; Village Link service is limited on weekdays and they do not run on weekends. (see website for details)
Fares can be paid in cash or using pre-purchased passes. Visitors who plan to use the bus system more than a couple times can save substantially by using multi-day passes. Purchase passes on the bus using cash (exact change is best) or purchase at either transfer station using cash, credit or debit. (see website for details)
Special Services: BATA offers Bike-n-Ride and Ski-n-Ride shuttles seasonally in addition to FREE Park-n-Ride shuttles during the Cherry & Film Festivals.
All Village Loop routes offer at least 1 Park-n-Ride location to help reduce downtown traffic (Village Loop fees apply).
In the near future, BATA’s service schedules will be synced with Google Maps’ Public Transit option.
BATA does NOT offer winery tours and they don't have any regulary scheduled stops on Old Mission Peninsula; their City Link service can be used to reach destinations on OMP.
115 Hall St
3233 Cass Rd
Traverse City, MI 49684
REGIONAL BUS SERVICE
The counties surrounding Grand Traverse & Leelanau all have public bus systems; most provide limited service to Traverse City, usually via the BATA terminal on Hall St. These links are to the corresponding county’s transit info:
STATE & NATIONAL BUS SERVICE
Indian Trails offers long-distance bus service twice daily in Traverse City via the BATA terminal on Hall St. There is a northbound bus in the evening going towards St Ignace & a southbound bus around noon-time to Grand Rapids and beyond.
Indian Trails fares can be cheaper when purchased in advance & they often have special offers on-line. Tickets can also be purchased at the BATA terminal on Hall St. Call 231-946-5180 for more info.
There is no passenger train service to Traverse City; the nearest Amtrak station is in Grand Rapids, which is about a 2-hour drive or a 4-hour bus ride.
The State of Michigan website has more public transportation information.
Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) serves the public and private aviation needs of Northwest Michigan, with hundreds of commercial & private flights each day.
From its state-of-the-art terminal (with restaurants & ‘up-north’ gift shops), passengers are served by 3 major airlines, American, Delta & United, which provide regular flights to Detroit, Chicago & Minneapolis and many seasonal destinations.
The airport is located about 3 miles SE of downtown Traverse City; the main entrance is on S. Airport Rd at Townline Rd, a half-mile east of Garfield Rd, a half-mile west of Three Mile Rd.
727 Fly Don't Dr. Traverse City, MI 49686