SMART expansion happening in Oakland County – but with service cuts

SMART recently announced service change proposals in Oakland County that include major expansion into new communities but also some eliminations and cuts. But still no solution to the ongoing no-show bus crisis caused by SMART’s failure to pay competitive wages!

Review TRU comments on proposed service changes

TRU is excited to share the details of new SMART routes in Oakland County!

The biggest highlights are: (Click here for a video)

  • Two totally new routes on
    • Rochester Road in Rochester Hills and Rochester, and
    • M-59 (Highland Road), in Waterford and White Lake Townships
  • New stops & route extensions that will bring service to
    • Novi,
    • Wixom,
    • Bloomfield Hills,
    • Sylvan Lake,
    • Keego Harbor and
    • Orchard Lake Village.

It’s important to note that these changes are ‘phase one’ of a multi-year service rollout, so if your community doesn’t yet have a route, it might get more service next year. They’re also not set in stone, so small suggestions may impact the final product!

SMART in Crisis

While it’s exciting to see the extensive new coverage that Oakland County voters were promised, we’re not so happy with SMART’s decision to cut back some service, including:

  • Eliminating Route 400 and
  • Cutting back service levels on routes 430, 760, and 796.

Instead of cutting back services that bus riders depend on, SMART needs to fix the no-show bus crisis that’s been afflicting riders since the beginning of the pandemic 3 years ago!

Passengers are being left outside for hours, or missing their ride home, because of a bus driver shortage. Without skilled operators, the level of service will stay skeletal and could get even worse. But so far, SMART has failed to negotiate better wages for their operators, despite their current contract expiring months ago. SMART must solve this crisis, or tried-and-true SMART routes like FAST Woodward as well as new services will struggle to gain riders.

TRU urges SMART’s leadership, and Oakland County leaders as well, to treat this crisis as a serious emergency.

Make your voice heard

SMART announced a set of public hearings where you can see the proposed changes and voice your comments to SMART. The following virtual and in-person hearings are coming up fast:

  • Thursday, May 11, 5:00pm
    • virtual / online: check for the link, closer to the day of
  • Monday, May 15, 5:00 p.m.
    • Oakland University Oakland Center – Gold Room
    • 312 Meadow Brook Rd., Rochester, MI  48309
  • Tuesday, May 16, 5:00 p.m.
    • The Hawk – Farmington Hills Community Center – 3rd Floor
    • 29995 W 12 Mile Rd, Farmington Hills, MI 48334
  • Thursday, May 18, 5:00 p.m.
    • Berkley City Hall – Council Chambers
    • 3338 Coolidge Hwy., Berkley, MI 48072

All of these locations are transit-accessible, so try using SMART to get to the meetings! If you can’t make them, SMART will accept comments emailed to until May 18.

Also, consider volunteering with TRU and joining forces with other folks who care about making public transit better! Click here to sign up.