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Next Step…SMART to Purchase Buses!

Next Step…SMART to Purchase Buses!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014/Categories: SMART News, Featured Homepage News

After the approval of the SMART millage in August, SMART is taking the next step to replace its aging buses. With their Board of Directors’ approval, SMART is purchasing 59, 40-foot, Fixed Route buses.  More than 80 percent of the bus fleet have exceeded 500,000 miles with some reaching more than 700,000 miles and are in desperate need of replacement.  This is the first of several bus orders that SMART will undertake to replace the fleet during the next few years.


The SMART transit millage was a renewal and increase from .59 mils to 1.0 mil.  This is the first tax increase for the authority since 2002.  SMART promised to use the additional $27 million generated from the increase millage to stabilize the budget and to purchase new buses to replace the aging fleet. 


“We are thrilled with the overall level of support from voters and their understanding of the importance of SMART bus service, especially for those who are not able to drive and depend on us”, said John C. Hertel, general manager, “We will continue to provide this much-needed transit service for the region and, as promised, we will use the additional money to replace the buses as quickly as we can over the next three years.”


Because of the age and number of miles accumulating on each bus, SMART is intent on getting new buses ordered and on the road as soon as possible.  “We are able to quickly start replacing these buses,” said John C. Hertel, “Our staff was thinking ahead by getting involved in the joint procurement contract so that we would be able to order buses as soon as the millage was decided.”


SMART has entered into a 5-year, joint procurement contract collaborating with 12 other transit agencies.  The procurement was headed by METRO Bus System located in Akron, Ohio.  By participating in the joint procurement, SMART reduced the bidding process time by approximately 6 to 8 months. The buses will be manufactured by Gillig Corporation in Haywood, CA. The contract allows for adding optional equipment and upgrades.  The new buses will have a sleek, modern ‘Bus Rapid Transit’ (BRT) design, a stainless steel bike rack that holds 3 bikes, a new exterior Luminator LED sign and non-skid flooring.  Delivery of the new buses will take approximately 18 months.


Even with the increased millage, SMART still has the lowest millage rate in Michigan, yet serves the largest population and geographic area than the nine largest transit agencies in the state combined.


Serving 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. SMART is supported by federal and state funding, local contributions through a transit property tax millage from opt-in communities and bus fares. For routes and fare information, visit


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