Cost-effectiveness and Use
The Mover costs $12 million annually in city and state subsidies to run. The cost-effectiveness of the Mover has drawn criticism. In every year between 1997 and 2006, the cost per passenger mile exceeded $3, and was $4.26 in 2009, compared with Detroit bus routes that operate at $0.82 (the New York City Subway operates at $0.30 per passenger mile). The Mackinac Center for Public Policy also charges that the system does not benefit locals, pointing out that fewer than 30% of the riders are Detroit residents and that Saturday ridership (likely out-of-towners) dwarfs that of weekday usage. The system was designed to move up to 15 million riders a year. In 2008 it served approximately 2 million riders. In fiscal year 1999-2000 the city was spending $3 for every $0.50 rider fare, according to The Detroit News. In 2006, the Mover filled less than 10 percent of its seats.
Among the busiest periods was the five days around the 2006 Super Bowl XL, when 215,910 patrons used the service. In 2008, the system moved about 7,500 people per day, about 2.5 percent of its daily peak capacity of 288,000.