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Millage Promise Kept:  Another 80 Buses Coming to SMART!

Millage Promise Kept: Another 80 Buses Coming to SMART!

Monday, August 31, 2015/Categories: SMART News, Public Notices, Featured Homepage News

Detroit, MI – The SMART Board of Directors approved the purchase of 80 new 40-foot Gillig buses at its August board meeting.  As promised during the 2014 millage, SMART continues to take significant steps to replace its aging fleet within the next 3 to 4 years.  Approximately, one year ago SMART ordered the first installment of 59 buses with delivery expected in late spring 2016.  The second installment of 80 buses will be delivered in 2017.

“We are making great strides to replace our aging fleet as quickly as possible,” said John C. Hertel, general manager, “We are keeping the promise we made during the millage.  Not only will there be new buses on the road soon, but our riders will get to experience a much improved ride and better service.  They deserve it given their support during the millage and their understanding of the importance of the bus service for the region.”

Earlier this year, SMART introduced 61 propane autogas Connector buses to its fleet establishing it as the second largest propane autogas powered paratransit fleet in Michigan and one of the top five largest in the United States.  The new propane Connector buses are fueled with affordable, clean, domestically produced propane gas which will help reduce fuel and maintenance costs and extend the life of the engine. 

The SMART maintenance department repairs and maintains a mix of more than 600 buses including Fixed Route, Connector and Community Transit buses.  More than 80 percent of the Fixed Route buses have exceeded 500,000 miles with some reaching more that 700,000 miles.  Because of the age and number of miles accumulating daily on the fleet, SMART is intent on getting new buses ordered and on the road as soon as possible. The buses are manufactured by Gillig Corporation and are a BRT design, with stainless steel bike rack for 3 bikes, new illuminator LED signs and non-skid flooring.  In addition, SMART’s entire fleet of buses have been equipped with cameras and the new buses will have 11 cameras installed on each, providing a 360 degree view of the interior and exterior of each bus.  The cost for these new buses is approximately $433,000 each. 

In August 2014, the SMART millage was overwhelmingly passed with a 66% approval.  The SMART public transit millage was a renewal and increase from .59 mils to 1.0 mil.  This was the first tax increase for the authority since 2002.  The additional $27 million generated from the increased millage has been used to stabilize SMART’s budget and to purchase new buses to replace those that have exceeded 500,000 miles. 

Even with the increased millage, SMART still has the lowest millage rate in Michigan, yet serves a larger population and geographic area than the nine largest transit agencies in the state combined.  SMART provides 10 million rides annually with 70 percent of riders going to work.  Seniors and people with disabilities ride SMART 1.8 million times annually, using the service for dialysis treatments, medical appointments and for grocery trips. 

Serving residents since 1967, SMART is southeast Michigan’s only regional public transportation provider, offering convenient, reliable and safe transportation for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties. SMART’s Fixed Route and small bus services connect people to employment and educational institutions, medical appointments and shopping centers. For routes and fare information, visit



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