Royal Oak Is Looking At Starting Their Own City Bus Service. Is This A Good Idea?

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There is currently a task force studying whether or not Royal Oak should create it’s own bus system.

Yes, you read that right.

Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier has appointed a seven person task force to see if Royal Oak should create a stand alone bus service.

According to an article on the Daily Tribune there will be a public meeting on Wednesday, January 17 to discuss the transportation needs of Royal Oak residents.

When I first read this my eye twitch returned.

Do we not already have a suburban bus service? I mean, SMART does stand for Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, right? As opposed to duplicating service, why wouldn’t, if they’re willing to pay for it, enhanced service be created as opposed to a whole new organization?

The main argument is that transit riders who live at 13 Mile and Main Street would be better served by this smaller  Royal Oak-only service instead of SMART.

I understand that not everyone lives right next to a bus line and sometimes you have to walk a few blocks to get to a bus stop. And sometimes you need to transfer to a different bus line. This is the way public transportation works.

The proposed bus service could between $2 million and $6.6 million to operate yearly. The yearly budget would depend on the number of buses needed and the frequency of each bus, and the buses would be smaller than the usual bus.

This standalone bus service is still a long way from actually becoming a reality. Royal Oak officials won’t decide about starting up the service and putting a millage request out to voters until after the task force comes back with their findings.

I know that the metro Detroit public transportation system leaves much to be desired, but they’re working on it. The recent addition of the FAST Service is a good step.

I personally think that creating a separate service for Royal Oak would be a disservice to not only to the residents of Royal Oak but to the entire region. We as a region don’t need yet another agency, we need communication and figuring out how to make transit work better as a whole.

The public meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 17 at 7:00 p.m at the Salter Community Center, 1545 E. Lincoln Avenue.

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