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  • 26 Sep 2022 8:16 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Thursday was designated World Car-Free Day, aimed at getting people to walk for one day, or use mass transit. The MTU in La Crosse is promoting the car-free idea with free bus rides all day long.

    Another plan for saving money while taking the bus is scheduled to be introduced in October.

    Adam Lorentz, the head of the MTU, says Genfare will make it easier to pay for bus rides, and plan your mass transit trips.

    “This new Genfare system will be a mobile app, where you can actually download the app on your phone,” says Lorentz. “You can pay by your phone, and it allows us to give more options for different riderships, so we could offer one-day rides, three-day rides, or instead of just for the month of let’s say, October, you just buy a 30-day pass and it’s good for the day that you activate it.”

    The Genfare system for La Crosse has been in the works for over a year.

    “One of the things we heard from a lot of riders and people coming from out-of-town or visitors or students is that…they don’t like how you have to purchase a pass with cash only or check only at certain locations,” Lorentz says, and “that it only goes for the month and doesn’t go by the days.”

    Sources say World Car-Free Day has been observed on September 22nd since 2000.
  • 22 Sep 2022 10:27 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) announced on Wednesday, Sept. 21 the installation of the first electric bus charging station at the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa. It is installed along Milwaukee County’s East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line.

    The MCTS planned 9-mile, regional, modern transit line is scheduled to begin service in June 2023. A news release says it will connect to major employment, education and recreation destinations through downtown MilwaukeeMilwaukee’s Near West Side, Marquette UniversityWauwatosa and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center.

    The new BRT route will come with two battery-electric bus (BEB) charging stations – one at each end of the line. The first is operating at Watertown Plank at the end of the route – while the second will be built at the BRT’s starting point at the Couture in downtown Milwaukee.

    BRT Charging Station Facts

    • The charging pole at Watertown Plank Road stands 15 feet tall and weighs 3,000 pounds.
    • ABB, a world leader in electric vehicle infrastructure, manufactured the 450-Kilowatt charger, part of the E-mobility HVC-PD charging system.
    • The charging arm, called a pantograph, lowers and connects to the rooftop of the bus and charges the electric bus in as little as three to six minutes.
    • The battery-electric buses can operate up to 247 miles on a single charge.

  • 19 Sep 2022 2:03 PM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    The Wausau Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), in partnership with Metro Ride, invites the public to provide feedback on the draft five year Transit Development Plan (TDP) during two upcoming public informational meetings. 

    Public informational meetings will be held on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, from 5 – 6:30  pm and Wednesday, September 21, 2022, from 10 – 11:30 am in the Aquarium Room of  the Marathon County Public Library, 300 First St., Wausau.

    During the information sessions, RLS and Associates will present information regarding the  planning process and introduce the draft TDP for the area. The plan was prompted by the decline in transit ridership, changes in demand from within Wausau and its surrounding  communities, and the potential for applying new service modes and transit technologies in the  area. 

    Comments collected regarding the plan will help finalize the plan. The draft plan can be found  online at Printed copies will be available at the Marathon County Public  Library. To provide comments send an email to or call Dave Mack,  MPO Director at 715-261-6043. Comments will be accepted until October 15, 2022. 

    The plan contains the evaluation of current transit services for developing efficiency and future  opportunities. Additionally, options for service outside the City of Wausau are identified and  explored in the Plan.  

    The MPO serves the communities of: Cities of Mosinee, Schofield, and Wausau; Villages of  Kronenwetter, Maine, Rothschild, and Weston; and the Towns of Mosinee, Rib Mountain,  Stettin, Wausau, and Weston. The Transit Plan is an important part of developing transportation  strategies that support these communities in the Wausau metropolitan area.

  • 15 Sep 2022 1:07 PM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    In an effort to encourage Election Day turnout and reduce obstacles to residents exercising their right to vote on Nov. 8, a Milwaukee County committee approved a resolution Tuesday to offer free transport for passengers heading to polling places.

    If passed by the County Board, the measure would pull an estimated one-time $63,000 from the county's contingency account to cover the cost of providing free bus rides and paratransit service to the public.

    "Of all of our duties as Americans, the most sacred is our duty and right to vote," said Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Steven Shea, who is co-sponsoring the resolution.

    Supervisor Patti Logsdon voted against the resolution, calling it fiscally irresponsible.

    "They have this privilege already," she said, noting that if a rider is unable to pay for their fare, they would not be kicked off the bus. 

    "We are in dire straits here in Milwaukee County — we can't keep spending money," Logsdon said.

    Supervisor Peter Burgelis, who authored the resolution, noted there is also a possibility of securing outside funding, stating that some nonprofit groups had voiced their interest in making offers.

    A similar effort drew opposition in Louisiana, where free bus service was offered in 2018 in Lafayette City. Attorney General Jeff Landry said free election day bus rides were not legal and that state law prohibited the government from giving away something of value, according to a report from the Daily Advertiser.

    Wisconsin state law states that it does "not prohibit any person from using his or her own vehicle to transport electors to or from the polls without charge."

    Nationwide efforts to boost voter turnout

    During the 2020 general election, Milwaukee County fell behind its peers in voter turnout with 83.7% of eligible registered voters heading to the polls, while Dane County, Ozaukee County and Washington County, reached 89.3%, 92.6%  and 94.7%, respectively.

    With similarly lagging turnout in areas across the country, there has been a surge in efforts nationwide to get voters to the polls in recent years.

    During the 2020 general election, Green Bay Metro offered free transit to voters, including paratransit, to the city's 16 polling places.

    Some of the country's largest transit systems also provided free rides on the 2020 election day, including: the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Utah Transit Authority, Austin's Capital Metro, the Charlotte Area Transit System, and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.

    During the 2018 midterm elections, popular ride-share services, Uber and Lyft, offered discounted and free rides to the polls. They both slashed their prices two years later during the November 2020 general elections as well.

    Multiple agencies and organizations in the Milwaukee area have previously provided free transportation during election seasons.

    Wisconsin-based Souls to the Polls — a non-profit that has focused on increasing voter turnout in the state's Black communities — has routinely offered free transport through ride-shares from their homes to their local polling location on election days. In 2020, Ex-incarcerated People Organizing (EXPO), WISDOM and Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) also provided free rides to the polls during the early voting period and on Election Day.

    In March 2021, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order directing each agency of the federal government to evaluate ways to encourage voter registration and turnout.

    The Milwaukee County Board is set the meet on Sept. 22.
  • 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

    Online comments will also be accepted through the website 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.

Wisconsin Public Transportation Association

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Madison, WI 53713

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