Transit Task Force
Is it possible for Royal Oak to have its own bus system?
In January 2017, the Royal Oak City Commission identified developing a transit plan as a goal for the 2017-18 fiscal year. Throughout the summer of 2017, Royal Oak city staff and city commissioners met informally with Suburban Motility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) to discuss options. In November 2017, the city commission appointed the 7-member Royal Oak Local Transit Task Force to take a focused and deeper look into Royal Oak’s transit options, and to:
- Review current transit programs in Royal Oak
- Prepare a local public transit strategy that allows people of all ages and abilities to have transportation independence and to get in and around Royal Oak without a car, and;
- Investigate funding options
The transit task force circulated a community survey in March, 2018. 1,218 people responded! You can read the full results of the survey by clicking here. In general, 66 percent of survey respondents say they would use transit if it was frequent, connected to the region and covered the entire city. Residents said they would use it to connect to downtown Royal Oak, events like Arts, Beats and Eats, the Farmer’s Market and the Detroit Zoo. Parents of high school and middle school students would put their children on a bus if it was convenient and safe, and respondents said improving transit service for seniors and people with disabilities is important.
Task Force Priorities
The Task Force identified the following priorities for the development of a transit system:
- Improve senior transit to meet demand and needs (include night and weekend service)
- Help get students to school (mostly Royal Oak Middle School and Royal Oak High School)
- Increase mobility in and around Royal Oak so people can get where they need and want to go without having to rely on a single family car or family and friends
- Connect to the SMART bus system to access local and regional destinations (FAST bus, Amtrak, etc.)
The task force also identified the following parameters: the system should have 15-to-30 minute frequencies; should cover the entire city, and operate on weekdays, weeknights and weekends.
The task force decided to work with SMART to take advantage of the SMART’s Community Partnership Program (CPP) and to build on the transit service Royal Oak already has.
Public Transit Strategies
The task force and SMART planners prepared several scenarios that were analyzed by SMART as to their effectiveness and costs. All the scenarios and the narratives that explain them are here. The task force eliminated Scenario 1, 3 and 5 from consideration, but liked aspects of the rest.
At the April 3 meeting, the Task Force identified a preferred scenario called ROGO. The task force and SMART worked together over the next several weeks to develop a funding plan, which they adopted at their meeting on June 19, 2018.
The ROGO Plan
ROGO is a high frequency fixed-route public transit bus system that will:
- Operate on weekdays, nights and weekends
- Build on the transit system we currently have
- Leverage Royal Oak’s partnership with SMART
- Cover the entire city
- Provide 15- to 30-minute frequency on all routes during peak times
- Connect to the Woodward FAST bus and the SMART regional transit system
- Connect to the Royal Oak Amtrak station
- Help students get to school
- Allow Royal Oak to access state and federal funds
Routes and Service
Two new fixed routes
- Orange - Crooks/Coolidge Loop
- Blue - 13 Mile/Rochester/Campbell/11 Mile Loop (deviates to connect to schools and the senior center)
One expanded, extended SMART route (Main St.)
- Green - Route 430 from Somerset to Detroit Zoo/LA Fitness/ Woodward Ave.
- Expanded - Somerset to Woodward @ Zoo/LA Fitness - weekdays, nights, weekends
Doubles funding for curb-to-curb transportation for seniors and people with disabilities
- Increase daily service hours and create 7 days-a-week service
- Connect to destinations seniors want to go
600 additional hours of service for events or other community priorities
- 14 Vehicles (purchased by SMART)
- Standard shelters (25 stops)
- Pads with amenities - no shelter (25 stops)
- Walkways at other stops (75 stops)
- Basic bus stop signs (168 stops)
- Fareboxes (14)
- Bus tracking system and app
- Onboard cameras