Rural Oakland County transit adding service days, kickstarts pilot program in Highland Township

Public transit continues to grow in Oakland County and plans are in place for bus service to run all week in the summer.

The Western Oakland Transportation Authority (WOTA), which services areas northwest of Pontiac and includes Clarkston, Highland and White Lake Townships, Hartland, and Waterford Township. Last year it added Holly and three other local townships.

Beginning Jan. 6 year, WOTA will run on Saturdays.

According to a press release from the transit authority, they'll further expand service to seven days by the summer. 

A millage that passed in 2022 enabled more public transportation in Oakland County to run more frequently in populated areas, while expanding where they operate in less developed regions.

WOTA is used by seniors 55 and up and adults with disabilities who are 18 and up.

The authority operates a fleet of 35 buses that covers over 500 square miles. 

MORE: Oakland County adds four more communities including Holly to public transit routes

Additionally, there is a pilot program beginning in Highland Township starting this month that will allow the general public to ride the bus. They'll need to complete a registration process before riding and each trip will cost $4. 

Seniors, adults with disabilities, veterans, and low-income families will still only pay $2. 

"Transportation remains a pivotal barrier to success and community engagement, irrespective of age, ability, or financial background. Expanding our services to the general public marks a new chapter for WOTA," said Director Kim Vienert. "However, our dedication to our seniors and adults with disabilities remains unwavering. We understand the transformative power of transportation and are committed to delivering exceptional service."

You can register for WOTA service here.


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Other Oakland County expansions

Last year brought several improvements to transit in the county, including SMART adding direct bus routes to Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi. The county executive, Dave Coulter, said there were additional plans to expand along Woodward Avenue and into Rochester.

Meanwhile, the Northern Oakland County Authority (NOTA) doubled its service area from just Orion, Oxford, and Addison Townships to include Brandon, Independence, and Springfield Townships.

Learn more about NOTA here.