Auburn Hills City Council votes to end SMART bus service

The city of Auburn Hills has opted out of the SMART regional bus service that carries people around the Detroit metro, meaning the end of the transit route that stops at places like the ‘Oakland University.

A 5-2 vote Monday night at a city council meeting would end the annual resident mileage that funds the transit option. In its place, there would be a local bus service that would also be funded by residents.

However, the option would only work on weekdays for the elderly and disabled. The vote angered some meeting attendees.

“I’ve voted for SMART mileage here for one year except the last one in 2018, because I started to get disgusted with the lack of service,” said board member Robert Kittle.

“We’re disgusted with you,” said a disgruntled attendant.

The elimination of bus routes to Auburn Hills is the latest development in Southeast Michigan’s strained relationship with public transportation. Long hailed as the automotive capital of the world, attempts to add mass transit systems like trains and buses have met with mixed enthusiasm over the years.

AFTER: Infrastructure Bill would bring big improvements to SMART buses

Ridership on SMART buses has declined in recent years due to the pandemic, resulting in a reduction in available services.

Residents who attended the meeting and the mayor of Pontiac spoke in support of SMART, saying the city’s move would negatively impact residents who need the system the most.

Melvin Z. Madore