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Auburn Hills to end SMART Bus service, opting out of regional system

Posted at 11:41 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 23:41:20-05

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Auburn Hills City Council voted out of Detroit’s suburban bus system called SMART.

Over 25 people gathered at the city council meeting to make their voices heard on how the SMART Bus service plays an essential role in their lives.

“Residents that travel to this city, work for small businesses and finally the businesses that rely on these workers, this decision that you make tonight and a lifeline will be removed,” one resident told the city council.

Folks were also not in favor of relying on cab service as an alternative.

"Uber is not cheap. Uber is at least $7 for every ride, is the lowest that an Uber can cost,” another resident said.

Some even used the power of religion.

“If you vote to remove SMART from the city, there are going to be big consequences and God will get you for it,” a resident said to the city council.

Earlier in the day, 7 Action News spoke to 33-year-old Joel Staoker who relies on the bus to get to work and take care of groceries.

“So, what happens if they stop the service? What are you going to do then?” 7 Action News reporter Faraz Javed asked.

“Then I will have to shop somewhere else around where I live,” Staoker responded.

He said he spends $6 to $10 on average per week for transportation. And now that the bus service is going to stop, it's going to be a financial setback.

“Luckily, I’ll be getting a truck in a couple of weeks, but what about other people? What do I do in the next two weeks?" Staoker asked.

By the end of the year, the bus service will come to its final stop. Many people that attended the meeting are disappointed as they made it clear that for any city to thrive, public transportation is a must.