By Theresa Cobb, Last updated  05/26/17

DTW’s Ground Transportation Center (GTC)

Instructions are Here!

Picking up or dropping off at Detroit Metro Airport? DTW’s Ground Transportation Centers are Live! and, as of now, a fact of life for all Rideshare Drivers.


DTW answered the call. Both North and McNamara Terminals have dedicated rideshare areas for picking up/dropping off riders. These areas are clean, under cover, out of regular traffic, really close to elevators & escalators and easy to enter and exit. Security is visible and on hand to be sure anyone entering the areas has a rider to pick up. Make sure your dressage is in the correct spot & be prepared to show your waybill on the Uber or Lyft app on your phone.

The Waiting Game a.k.a sitting in the queue

While the driver is sitting in queue - waiting for a request -  he or she must be in the “staging area” north & east of the airport. According to Uber’s instructions, there is no waiting in airport parking lots, including cellphone lots. The staging area that seems to be the most popular is south of Ecorse Rd, surrounding Merriman Road. Many driver’s wait at the nearby Speedway gas station, the local hotel or restaurant parking lots off Wickham Road. Bathrooms, food, coffee and other drivers are plentiful in all these areas. Cell phone service is minimal in some spots, better in others.

GTC Set up

You have to hand it to DTW. As acrimonious as the “powers that be” were during negotiations for the Michigan Rideshare Law (back in the Fall of 2016) and making their pick up and drop off areas unavailable to rideshare drivers, they did a really good (and quick) job of setting up the GTC Areas. Security is present and pleasant - answering a million questions without a problem. The area is out of the elements, no rain, snow, or wind blasts here; plenty of parking and a nice little place for riders to wait, if they need to.  I did notice cell phone reception is a little hit and miss in the North (Arrival) Terminal GTC. But, with spotty reception in the staging area, I’m ready to blame that on AT&T, my service provider.   WARNING: There is a hefty, $750!, GASP!!  fine for getting caught picking up or dropping off riders at the curb and a possibility of getting banned from airport property as a security risk.

Is it Easier for Riders?

So, getting to the crux of the matter. Is it easier for Riders? Uber has started notifying riders they need to meet their drivers in the GTC areas. Lyft has not. I had a rider cancel a lyft request because I was in “the wrong pick up area”. I was expected to be waiting by the curb. Sorry, not going to happen. I still got the $5 cancellation fee, but it was a letdown leaving the GTC without my pax.

Most DTW arrivals looking for their rideshare drivers can expect a call or message from their driver letting them know how to find the rideshare GTC areas. Signage in the terminal is still sparse (I’m giving the DTW Authority a little break here, things take time).  From what I gather, for the North Terminal, Arrivals start on the 4 level, cross the skywalk, take the elevator or escalator to the Purple Area Level 1 B2.

For regular travelers, I’m sure this will all become old hat in time. For new flyers, it may take them some time to figure things out. For me, Uber riders were waiting, right where they needed to be, when I arrived so it was an easy in easy out experience. For another driver, his riders were still trying to find the GTC Area 20 minutes later. Hint: Make sure you call your rider or your driver and make sure they’re in the correct GTC Area - North or McNamara.

Just a thought: because there are a handful of drivers waiting in the GTC and not all riders have pics on their apps, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have a little dry erase board (to write the rider's name on) available for easier recognition.

What’s your opinion? Is the GTC rideshare area easier? Should DTW add more signs? Let’s me know what you think!


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