Detroit man's 21-mile commute is an all-day effort

James Robertson must walk 7 miles from bus stop to job

DETROIT – The Detroit Free Press revealed 56-year-old James Robertson's commute, which moves at a slower pace than most of us are used to because he has to walk much of the way to work from Detroit to Rochester Hills.

In an interview with Local 4, Robertson said he does the commute five times a week.

"I really don't sleep until the weekends," he said.

This has been his way of life since 2005, ever since his 1988 Honda Accord died.

Now, with the right pair of boots and a few extra layers, James leaves his house at 8:00 a.m. to start his 21 mile commute to Schain Mold and Engineering in Rochester Hills.

"I wear a few shirts, this coat my girlfriend got me," he said. "I have two pairs of gloves but lost one the other day and boots, good boots. The walk from my house to the bus stop is five to six minutes, the shortest part of my day."

Robertson's journey starts at the SMART bus stop at Woodward and Holbrook. He catches the bus to Oakland County -- but that bus only brings him to Coolidge and Big Beaver in Troy, near Somerset Collection. That's when he starts on foot -- for seven miles, two-and-a-half hours, to get to Crooks Rd.

His shift starts at 2 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m. Then he retraces his commute with a seven mile walk in the dark back to the bus station. The SMART bus from Troy drops him at the State Fair Grounds bus stop, and that's where he walks home from in the middle of the night.

He doesn't get home until 4 a.m., and starts all over the next day.

"I haven't had any major incidents during my walks, which is surprising because anything can happen after dark," he said.

Robertson hasn't been able to save enough up to replace his old car and he says there's no one who can give him a ride. So, as long as he has a job, he'll keep walking.

"I can't imagine not working, I love my job. Do you know how look to took me to find this job?" Robertson said.

That said, he's enjoying the snow day his boss gave him Monday.

Robertson's story has received a lot of attention and people in the community have started a Go Fund Me effort to raise money to him a car. The goal was $25,000, but donations of more than $60,000 have been pledged.

Oh, by the way, when I asked him if he could have any kind of car what it would be, he said a new Ford Taurus.