bus stop

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Royal Oak Considers Tax Hike To Pay For Citywide Bus Service

June 20, 2018 - 11:38 am

ROYAL OAK (WWJ) - If approved by the city commission Royal Oak residents could vote on a ballot proposal this fall for a citywide bus system.

A task force determined that Royal Oak could spend up to $4.4 million, contracting with SMART on a 14-bus fleet; and a survey of 1,000 residents found 66 percent were in favor.

The proposal calls for 1.25 mils over five years, which amounts to a tax increase of about $125 per homeowner. 

Some residents, including John Hillert, are not big on the idea.

"I think it probably would help senior citizens -- but how big are the buses?" Hillert said. "When I look at buses do down the street right now, they're not full.  And so if they were to do it at all, maybe small buses."

Resident Mark Jennings said if the proposal makes the ballot in November, he'll vote no.

"The new bus that they want is only going to take care of a certain amount of people," he told WWJ's Charlie Langton. "When you live half-a-mile from the bus you gotta walk to it, so what good is it?"

Proponents say the parking footprint, and parking problems, would be reduced; and the buss would be convenient for those head to the Detroit Zoo, Beaumont Hospital, downtown or to the farmers market.

"It's a good idea for those that are unable to get their own personal transportation," resident Kimlin Terry said. 

Would he ride it? "Yes, especially in the offseason," he said, "but right now I'm on my scooter."

If the proposal is approved by voters, the new buses could hit the streets of Royal Oak by next summer.