Roundtable on Public Transit in Oakland County

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter recently sat down with a panel of residents and community leaders who shared their perspectives on the challenges residents who rely on public transportation face in Oakland County. The roundtable was livestreamed on the County Executive Office Facebook page to educate the public about the Oakland Transportation Millage. Watch the roundtable:


Lauren Baker of the Disability Network Eastern Michigan trains individuals with disabilities how to use public transportation to get to jobs and the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan.

“I’ve been given the opportunity to attend a lot of coffee hours and appointments with our legislators and get to hear from the constituents who they themselves use public transportation and how important it is for them to be able to get to employment, to run their errands, to visit their family, and just to be independent. That is what we work to at the Disability Network, to empower people to be as independent as possible. By teaching them to ride public transit, that offers them just a whole world of possibility.”

-Lauren Baker

Pamela Campbell is a 70-year-old Southfield resident who utilizes both Transportation of Southfield Seniors and SMART to get to medical appointments.

“Transportation is a life support. There’s no way to live without it. You can’t carve out a new life, you can’t get medical care, you can’t run errands.”

-Pamela Campbell

Adam Jenovi of Oakland Community Health Network discussed how their mental health clientele rely on transit to get to appointments and programs.

“We know through our surveys and accessibility reports that there are not a lot of good options, so it makes us be creative with the options that we provide to our members. It really is about that community inclusion, giving people options, and helping them get to their appointments. The more resources that we can get for the people that we serve, the better we’re going to be.”

-Adam Jenovi

Lukas Lesecki, a Farmington resident and Oakland Community College student, shared how he treks to classes five days a week using public transportation.

“It saves me from having to expend money to buy, maintain, insure, and fuel a car of my own, saves me the stress of driving, and, what I feel like a lot of people don’t realize about transit is, you see a lot of interesting things. You don’t have to have your eyes on the road; you can be looking all around, you found things you never knew were there.”

-Lukas Lesecki

Learn more about why Lukas enjoys using public transit:

Kermit Williams of Oakland Forward talked about how his mother lost her job after it moved to an area that lacked public transportation.

“My mother is my shero. She has cerebral palsy. She worked two jobs most of my life, and never really had a vehicle or the ability to drive. She was working on Telegraph at the Marshalls at the Tel-Twelve Plaza, and worked there for about eight years. They moved the Marshalls that she was working at to Highland, Michigan. In order for her to get to Highland, because there was no bus service because of her opt-out community at the time, it cost her almost $50 a day taking cabs in order to go there.

She worked there for about a month and then had to retire because she couldn’t afford to do it. She had to tap in early to her 401K and some other things, and that really sent her on a spiral because she wasn’t able to commute that distance and retire from the job that she loved and had. Transit represents more than just the ability to go to the movies and shopping places. It’s the livelihood for people to be able to access freedom. My mother’s story is not unique.

-Kermit Williams

To learn more about the Oakland Transit Millage, visit

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