In the late 1990’s, a group of Benzie County citizens held monthly meetings to discuss the need for public transportation in their community. In February of 2005, they officially launched the Benzie Bus Initiative. One of the Initiative’s goals was to bolster economic growth, in addition to the obvious work related benefits; public transportation connects residents, visitors and consumers to local businesses and other places of recreation which is vital to the economy. The citizen team also knew that affordable and consistent transportation would improve educational opportunities in both schools and the workplace. Creating this link gives more people access to job training, increased educational and employment opportunities, and social service programs.

In April of 2006, the Benzie County Board of Commissioners formed the Benzie Transportation Authority and appointed 10 county residents to the Board of Directors. The Board engaged the community through meetings, a grassroots approach, to earn community support. The voters approved the millage request for .50 mils by – 58% yes, 42% no. Voter turnout was 34%, which was double the turnout in the previous primary election and it was the first time in Michigan’s history that a public transportation ballot had passed on the first attempt. In January 2007, the Benzie Bus became a reality, and opened its doors to the public.

The beginning operations employed 12 with 5 buses (transferred from the Council on Aging). Demand grew rapidly and by the end of our first year Benzie Bus provided over 68,000 one way rides. In 2009 and 2010 the Benzie Bus received Federal and State Appropriations that permitting the purchase of an existing building with 9 acres near the center of Benzie County. That coupled with American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funding allowed for the building of a 6 bay maintenance facility, and also to do a complete renovation of 13,000 square feet of office and parking storage space. The renovation of the entire site was completed in August of 2011. In May of 2011, the Benzie Bus sought a millage renewal of .05 mils and voters passed it by a 3 to 1 margin.

The ARRA funding also permitted the Benzie Bus to purchase 7 clean fuel Sprinter style buses. In 2013, 40 people were employed and the fleet grew to 22 vehicles providing over 89,000 rides.

In 2013, several founding Board Members and some of the Management Team moved-on. The fleet added an LP fuel conversion to 5 vehicles that reduces fuel cost, reduces emissions and prolongs engine life

In 2014, a new Executive Director was hired and 5 Board Members installed.  Essential organizational and building improvements were made including: sealcoating the driveway, new logo and signage, maintenance equipment including a used tow-truck with snow plow.  A county-wide transportation assessment was contracted through a request for proposal (RFP) paid for by MDOT and Rotary Charities.  This study provided guidance for growth and improved service. 

In 2015, the community voted to renew the 5-year millage, ensuring our continued operations until 2021.

In 2017, Benzie Bus was awarded the “National Rural Transit of the Year” for improving inter-county transportation, public/private ventures like the Husky and Panther bus wraps and for leading non-emergency medical transportation and improved job access rides.

In 2020, the community renewed  the 5-year millage with a 82% approval rate.

In August of 2024 Benzie Bus will be asking Benzie County for their support at the polls to continue and grow services for another 5 years.

Who is Benzie Bus and how did it get started?

The Benzie Transportation Authority is a public body governed by its Board of Directors and Management Team that run the Benzie Bus System. Up to 7 local residents sit on the county-appointed Board of Directors that represents general public interests of Benzie County. The Transportation Authority and its Board are an independent agency of the county.  They are insured and bear sole legal and financial liability for the Benzie Bus system.

Book a Ride

Book a Ride

Benzie Bus offers reserved ride service with advance reservations. Reservations should be requested at least an hour in advance.


Learn more about how to ride with Benzie Bus. There are many options when it comes to fares.
Our Mission

Our Mission

Benzie Bus connects people of all ages and abilities to our community and promotes independence and prosperity through a safe and convenient public transit system.


Benzie Bus

14150 US Highway 31
Beulah, MI   49617

Phone: (231) 325-3000
Fax: (231) 325-3007

Hours of Operation

​Monday - Friday 5:30 am - 8 pm

Saturday -7 am - 5 pm


Call Center Hours

Monday - Friday-7 am - 7:30 pm

Saturday-7 am - 4:30 pm