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 ferries people around Metro Detroit, which means an end to the public transit route that makes stops at places like Oakland University.

A 5-2 vote Monday night during a city council meeting would end resident's annual millage that funds the public transit option. In its place would be a local bus service that would also be funded by residents. 

However, the option would only run on week days for seniors and people with disabilities. The vote angered some attending the meeting. 

"I voted for the SMART millage here forever year except the last one in 2018, because I started to get disgusted with the lack of service," said Councilmember 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 car capital of the world, attempts at adding mass transit systems like trains and buses have been met with mixed enthusiasm over the years. 

MORE: Infrastructure bill would bring big SMART bus upgrades

SMART bus ridership has declined in recent years due to the pandemic, which has led to a cutback in available services. 

Both residents who attended the meeting and Pontiac's mayor spoke in support of SMART, arguing the move by the city would adversely impact residents that need the system the most.