Extraordinary Commute Story Highlights Transit Failures

Have you heard the amazing story of James Robertson?

James Robertson walking

It is a story of personal determination and community generosity, yet also a powerful example of the failure of our regional transit system.

Join us in demanding swift action for everyone who struggles to get to work because our transit fails them.

The story came to light through a Detroit Free Press feature story: Heart and sole: Detroiter walks 21 miles in work commute

For years, he’s been walking 21 miles every day to get to work and home again! He never misses work and never complains, just does what he has to do. He is truly impressive.

Also very impressive are the over 10,000 people who have together donated over $300,000 to help him. Throughout our region and throughout the world, people are extremely generous in wanting to help Mr. Robertson’s plight.

While his commuter is quite extreme, he is far from alone. All throughout southeast Michigan, thousands of people undertake extraordinary measures to get to work, school, and other daily activities.

Getting to work should not be such a major ordeal!

As much as this is a story of incredible personal drive, it is also a story of the failure of our region to provide essential public services.

  • Rochester Hills has failed to provide basic bus service so people can get to work.
  • Oakland County has failed to create a transit system that serves the entire county.
  • SMART has failed to provide bus service to the destinations people need to reach.
  • DDOT has failed to provide the 24-hour bus service that would bring James home.
  • Detroit has failed to provide DDOT sufficient funds to run all the service residents need.
  • The Regional Transit Authority has failed to move quickly enough to improve transit coordination and fill in serious gaps.
  • The Michigan Legislature has failed to provide sufficient funding to transit agencies across the state to keep up with demand.

Each one of the entities should take this story to heart and take prompt action to fix these transit gaps, for James and the thousands of people like him.

Because believe me, he is not alone. Thousands of people undertake herculean efforts to just get around our community. And thousands more miss out on jobs and other opportunities because getting around is so difficult.

Transit problems do not have quick or easy solutions. Yet they can be solved.

  • Rochester Hills City Council can put SMART bus service on the ballot and their residents can choose to eliminate this huge gap in transit service.
  • Oakland County Commission can create a county-wide transit system, like Macomb does.
  • SMART can restore all-day service into Detroit so people like James can get home.
  • Detroit can provide DDOT with the funds they need so they can restore 24-hour service.
  • The Michigan Legislature can allocate additional funds to transit across Michigan.
  • And statewide voters can approve the May 5 transportation ballot measure to provide more funds for roads, transit, and other essential services.

Join us in demanding swift action to overcome this crisis!

Hard-working residents like Mr. Robertson need more than just empathy, they need concrete solutions.

Join us in demanding a concrete plan within the next 60 days for solving the huge gaps in our region’s transit system!

For years we’ve been outraged by stories of transit failure:

  • A cancer patient missing life-sustaining medical treatments because he couldn’t get to the doctors office;
  • Dedicated honors students in detention because the bus was so late so often; and
  • A mother trading her house for a car so she could get to work.

Let’s commit to this being the last transit outrage!