• 12 Sep 2022 8:48 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Bus service provided to UW-Eau Claire by the city's public transit is slated to increase on evenings and Saturdays.

    Eau Claire Transit will hold a public hearing on the proposed service increases at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Woodland Theatre inside the Davies Student Center, 77 Roosevelt Ave., on the university's campus.

    According to a proposed schedule for weekday evenings, the frequency of buses will double what they currently are. Instead of a bus appearing at a stop every hour, they will arrive every 30 minutes. And the route will end one hour later at 11:41 p.m. with the final stop at Karlgaard Towers Hall, based on the proposed schedule.

    On Saturdays, there options being considered to expand service into the night. Currently the UW-Eau Claire route runs from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, but that is proposed to extend to 11 p.m.

    People unable to attend the public hearing may submit written comments via mail to Transit Manager, Eau Claire Transit, 910 Forest St., Eau Claire, WI 54703. Verbal comments can also be made by calling 715-839-5111. Email comments can be sent to tom.wagener@eauclairewi.gov.

    Online comments will also be accepted through the website ecbus.org until Sept. 20.


  • 8 Sep 2022 9:15 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    A photo of an MCTS bus

    Ahead of the November election, Milwaukee County is working on making polls more accessible.

    The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors' Transportation and Transit Committee is meeting Tuesday night to discuss a resolution to fund free bus rides to polling places on Nov. 8.

    A news release from the board of supervisors says that, compared to other communities in Wisconsin, Milwaukee County has lagged behind in turnout of eligible and registered voters, as evidenced by the 2020 turnout of registered voters: Dane County: 89.3%; Milwaukee County: 83.67%; Ozaukee County: 92.55%; Washington County: 94.66%.

    "Milwaukee County Transit Service has the capacity to get more than 40,000 riders to their official polls on Election Day," said MCTS Interim Managing Director Denise Wandke. "With 40-plus bus routes and thousands of bus stops, we can be sure that voting is accessible to everyone in every corner of the county on Election Day."

    There would be no cost to voters.

    MCTS and the bus drivers union, ATU 998, support the plan.


  • 29 Aug 2022 7:59 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Poster image (18).jpg

    The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) says it will retire 73 buses federally recognized as past their useful life and will replace each with an updated clean diesel bus by fall.

    The new buses are the result of federal and local funding sources. The new 6100 and 6200 series buses joining the MCTS fleet meet all federal emission standards.

    According to MCTS, the buses will be equipped with a filter designed to remove soot from diesel emissions, have improved fuel economy, lower emissions, better driver visibility, anti-slip flooring, easier-to-read digital display signs, a new stainless steel understructure to reduce salt corrosion and heated side mirrors which will help melt snow and ice during the winter months.

    “This is the work of our regional FTA office, Congresswoman Gwen Moore and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors and the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) in supporting Milwaukee County’s applications for funding,” said Denise Wandke, interim managing director of MCTS. “Our riders and the entire community will benefit from more environmentally-friendly transit.”

    According to Wandke, below are the formula grants for the funding appropriated for the purchases:

    • $3.9M of federal funds and $3.2M of local funds were used to purchase 14 clean diesel buses in 2021
    • 59 clean diesel buses were purchased with $25.4M of federal funds and $6.3M of local funds in 2022

    Milwaukee County Executive David Crawley said Black residents face the largest disparity to clean air and are exposed to about 41 percent more particulate pollution than the average resident.
    “Clean air is a key component to giving residents’ every opportunity to enjoy good health. If simply walking outside your front door puts you at risk of breathing harmful toxins, it makes it much more difficult to manage your individual health,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crawley. "Elevated exposure to particulate matter air pollution shortens lives, increases cancer risks, and contributes to heart attacks, respiratory problems, and strokes. By replacing aging buses with new, more efficient ones we’ll improve air quality on our neighborhood blocks for all our residents.”

    All 334 buses in MCTS’s fleet are now clean diesel. For more information visit here.


  • 25 Aug 2022 7:48 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Eau Claire bus

    The Eau Claire Transit Commission is reporting that ridership on city buses is up, and getting closer to rebounding from the affect of the pandemic.

    Ridership is up 11.7% from this time last year. Transit manager Tom Wagener said the biggest jump in ridership has been UW-Eau Claire students, with most classes being in person again.

    Wagener added that even with a rise in ridership they are still not where they were before the pandemic. Before 2020, about a million rides were taken on Eau claire buses a year. This year it is expected to be around 750,000.

    In other public transit news, you will soon be able to pay for your bus rides with a smartphone app. Wagener said paying with cash will still be an option, and that besides the app they will also begin offering cards you can add continually add funds to and swipe to ride.

    The transit commission meets on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at city hall. The commission is advisory to the city council, with Wagener saying their meetings are an opportunity for the public to voice what they want to see in their public transportation.


  • 22 Aug 2022 8:01 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Racine Transit | City of Racine

    The City of Racine has been awarded nearly $3.8 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low or No Emission Vehicle Program to add four more electric buses to its fleet.

    The grant, announced Wednesday, means that Racine Transit (RYDE Racine) will have 13 all-electric, battery-powered buses making nearly 40 percent of its fixed-route fleet zero emission. Racine was one of only 150 transit systems nationwide (and the only transit system in Wisconsin) to receive funding from the federal program. The city’s award totaled $3,796,872.

    FTA’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) Grant Program makes funding available to help transit agencies purchase or lease U.S.-built low or no emission vehicles that use advanced technologies for transit operations. The bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $5.5 billion over five years for the Low-No Program. That’s more than 10 times greater than the previous five years of funding.

    “The City of Racine continues to lead the way in the transition to a cleaner and more efficient mass transit system,” Mayor Cory Mason said in a news release. “It is the role of local government to provide essential quality-of-life services to our residents while being innovative and good stewards of taxpayer dollars as well as the environment. I am proud to have partners in the federal government who recognize our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and who are willing to invest resources into our city to help us achieve our shared climate goals.”

    The city’s Transit & Mobility Director Trevor Jung also weighed in on what this means for the city and its efforts to improve its environmental impact.

    “Once all 13 zero-emission transit buses have replaced their diesel counterparts, The City of Racine will reduce its carbon footprint by approximately 922 tons annually, and that’s a pretty big deal,” added Jung.

    Wisconsin’s largest electric bus fleet

    RYDE officially put its nine battery-electric buses into service in late April. Those vehicles, plus related charging infrastructure and workforce development, were funded by a $6.19 million grant

    from the Volkswagen Transit Capital Assistance Grant Program and $3.18 million from the FTA Low-No Program. The Volkswagen funding was part of a legal settlement that company made with the federal government over air-emissions rules violations.

    The April send-off for the new buses gave Racine the distinction of having the largest electric bus fleet in the state. The buses, manufactured by Proterra, are expected to dramatically reduce local air pollution levels and save RYDE Racine about 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.

    Madison, Milwaukee electric fleets stalled

    Meanwhile, Madison Metro Transit, which received a $1.3 million grant from the FTA Low-No Program, is waiting to put its three battery-electric buses into service more than two years after they were delivered.

    The Capital Times newspaper recently reported that the lengthy delay was mostly caused by a 10-month retrofitting process to make the bus design accessible for wheelchair access. The electric bus rollout for Madison Metro Transit is now expected for late August or early September. That transit agency already uses hybrid-electric buses in addition to its fleet of standard diesel buses.

    In Milwaukee County, global supply chain issues affecting the production of battery electric buses and charging facilities have delayed the launch of the county’s East-West Bus Rapid Transit system from October to the spring of 2023, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

    The Racine County Eye, which includes the Kenosha Lens, is your source for local news that serves our diverse communities. Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with local news.

    Follow us on Facebook: Racine County Eye or Kenosha Lens, and Twitter to make sure you get the latest news.


  • 18 Aug 2022 7:32 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    The existing MCTS stop at 12th Street and Wisconsin Avenue will be converted to a state-of-the-art BRT platform stop.

    Construction will continue on campus at least through the end of August for the east- and westbound bus stops at 12th and 16th streets and Wisconsin Avenue for the Milwaukee County Transit System’s new East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service.

    There will continue to be lane and pedestrian crosswalk closures as the work progresses — please pay attention to construction signage and plan for extra time if you travel these routes. A pedestrian route map is available online available online.

    MCTS has provided the following updates:

    • Pedestrian access at the westbound stop at 12th Street is expected to be restored by Aug. 12.
    • The eastern crosswalk across Wisconsin Avenue at 12th Street will remain closed until construction on the eastbound stop is complete.
    • Construction on the eastbound stop at 10th Street and Wisconsin Avenue will be paused from Aug. 20 – 28 to accommodate Straz Tower move-in activity.

    MCTS is fully funding and managing the project that will connect downtown Milwaukee to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa. The two MCTS stops on campus will be converted to new state-of-the-art platform stops, which will help improve pedestrian rights-of-way and campus aesthetics. Additionally, the stops will feature lane bump-outs that will improve pedestrian safety by helping to mitigate speeding on Wisconsin Avenue. Additional bump-outs will be installed on Wisconsin Avenue at 14th and 15th streets.


  • 15 Aug 2022 10:01 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) has been working over the past year to modernize its fare collection system. MCTS announced Monday, Aug. 8 the three phases of the transition to the new system. 

    According to a press release, this phased approach includes estimated timeframes provided there are no further supply chain delays. The new system is expected to launch in mid-2023, alongside Milwaukee County’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service, introducing a new era of transit in Wisconsin. 

    "Metropolitan Milwaukee is transforming into a world-class city, with more conventions, cruise lines to our port, internationally recognized sports teams, additional airline services, leading hospital systems and institutions of higher learning. That's why modern transit is a necessity—to meet the changing needs of employers and residents alike—and MCTS is ready to deliver it," said Kristina Hoffman, spokesperson for MCTS.  

    Phase I 
    During Phase I, after an extensive review of requirements and completing the proposal process, MCTS chose Cubic’s Umo Mobility Platform for its innovative and flexible back office, user-friendly mobile application, hardware compatibility and widest solution for a retail network. MCTS switched to a new mobile app to accommodate the account-based system and is set to begin installation of validators on buses throughout the winter.  

    The rider experience will include the full benefits of the new fare collection system via the Umo app once the system is available in 2023. Until the full WisGo system launches, MCTS encourages riders to continue downloading the Umo app in the Google Play and Apple Store. By creating an account via the app, riders will be able to transition to the new system more smoothly. To date, more than 34,000 riders have downloaded the app to plan their trip, track their bus and pay their fare.  

    MCTS reminds riders that until the new fare collection system launches, payment options through the app are still currently limited to credit, debit cards, and coming this month:  Apple Pay and Google Pay. There is no stored value option enabled yet which means all fares activate immediately so riders should not purchase their fare via the app until they are ready to board the bus. Riders can purchase single fares and a Day Pass via the app. Group fares are possible via the M-Card only. M-Cards will be valid until mid-2023. Cash will remain an option. 

    Phase II 
    Phase II kicks off the pilot, slated for spring of 2023. Select social service agencies, Commuter Value Pass customers, U-Pass university participants, and MCTS employees will test the new system and provide feedback. MCTS will make adjustments and then roll out the live system in Phase III. 

    Phase III 
    The full WisGo system and Bus Rapid Transit line (BRT) are expected to go live by Phase III, mid-2023. Through the Umo mobile app and contactless smart cards, riders will be able to create accounts that will automatically track rides, deduct the amounts from their online accounts, and cap total costs at the lowest daily, weekly and monthly rates.  This "fare capping" provides equitable pricing for everyone, as costs are adjusted based on rider frequency. The more passengers ride, the more they save.  

    The launch will coincide with the start of MCTS’s new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service. The BRT E-W line will reimagine travel to and from downtown, change the entire pedestrian environment, foster cleaner air, and connect thousands of employees to jobs through high-frequency electric bus service. Federal, state, city, and county government officials have embraced the shared goal to bring about these changes through enhanced public transit. 


  • 11 Aug 2022 7:31 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Milwaukee Crime Stoppers is teaming up with the Milwaukee County Transit System with two giant ads on two buses and 50 in bus shelters. The campaign is aimed at drumming up tips to solve crimes in Milwaukee.

    Medera Smith and her granddaughter get around by taking the bus. On their routes, they see a lot. One new ad for Milwaukee Crime Stoppers caught Smith's eye. 

    "I think it’s very great because that’s another avenue to the means of what we trying to do," said Smith. 

    Two MCTS buses feature 40-foot billboards with information on how to submit tips. 

    "I think it’s very great because that’s another avenue to the means of what we trying to do," said Smith. 

    Two MCTS buses feature 40-foot billboards with information on how to submit tips. 

    "These moving, 40-foot billboards reach incredibly diverse audiences," said Kristina Hoffman, MCTS. 

    "These are going to be mobile reminders of how easy it really is to reach out to Crime Stoppers," said David Crowley, Milwaukee County executive. 

    "We are only one part of the puzzle the community must do their part," said Jeffrey Norman, Milwaukee police chief. 

    Milwaukee Crime Stoppers has been around for more than two years. In that time, they have solved 47 cases and three unsolved homicides.

    "Partnerships plus community engagement equals trust and results," said Norman. 

    Some people might be afraid to share information, but Crime Stoppers officials stressed that you will remain anonymous. 

    "It makes sense that people would be scared, right, because retaliation is real," said Bria Grant, MCTS board member.

    "They will never have to go trial to be a witness," said Michael Hupy, Milwaukee Crime Stoppers president. "We don’t know who they are, so we work totally anonymously."

    "If you remain anonymous, it can help," said Smith. 

    You can report crime anonymously from anywhere using the p3 tips app or by calling 414-224-TIPS.


  • 8 Aug 2022 8:40 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    In order to learn about the County’s public transit priorities, Polk County encourages its residents to share their opinions on potential transit options in the form of a survey. The survey will be available from July 25th until August 26th and can be found here.

    This survey is part of the data collection effort for a Transit Feasibility Study underway in Polk County. Earlier this year, Polk County teamed up with the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (WCWRPC) to investigate the demand for public transit in Polk County, and to develop proposals and identify potential funding sources for implementing solutions to meet those needs. WCWRPC has been assisting in solving issues that cross municipal boundaries for over forty years.

    The County is pursuing this study because they have heard that investigating the feasibility of transit options is desirable and needed. The major identified issues are residents getting to and from work, patients getting to and from medical care and to pick up prescriptions, and to get to and from the store for getting necessities, for those who don’t have access to their own means of transportation. This study will gather data on the demand from public and businesses for a transit-style system, estimate user rates, understand where this service is most needed in the County, and identify funding sources for possible implementation if proven feasible.

    Over the course of the next year, there will be additional ways for residents to engage with Polk County and WCWRPC to share their voice about public transit options in the county. Comments and participation will aid the Transit Feasibility Study determine what options are most important for the area, how it will impact citizens, and what the community needs. Please visit here for more information on these engagement opportunities and general information about the study.


    • Mr. Tim Anderson
    • Polk County Planner
    • 715-485-9225
    • tim.anderson@polkcountywi.gov


  • 4 Aug 2022 7:06 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Valley Transit unveiled five new buses from its Volkswagen settlement, September 17, 2020. (WLUK)

    To combat driver shortage, Valley Transit is announcing hiring bonuses of up to $5,000.

    The public transportation service in the Fox Cities says its offering the sign-on bonus for applicants who already possess a commercial driver's license.

    “We need customer service-oriented drivers to continue providing the essential services that are connecting our community to jobs, resources, entertainment and, especially as we approach back-to-school season, educational institutions,” said Valley Transit general manager Ron McDonald. “We’ve are hoping this hiring bonus will help us quickly attract candidates that can hit the ground running as soon as possible.”

    Those interested in becoming bus drivers are not required to have their CDL to apply but will need to be able to possess and maintain a Wisconsin Class B Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with the passenger endorsement and a Federal Medical Card as a condition of employment.


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