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  • 13 Mar 2023 7:48 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) invites riders to attend community education meetings in March to learn more about the new CONNECT 1 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line which starts service June 4.

    Transit planners plan to explain adjustments to other routes in the MCTS system that will intersect with the CONNECT 1 BRT. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions related to navigating these new services.

    Riders have three meetings to choose from: One virtual lunch hour meeting and two in-person meetings in March.

    Virtual Meeting

    • Thursday, March 9, Virtual Meeting @ 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. (click here to register)

    In-Person Meetings

    • Tuesday, March 14 @ 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Mitchell Street Library located at 906 W Historic Mitchell St, Milwaukee, WI 53204 (click here to register)
    • Saturday, March 18 @ 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. at MCTS Administration Building located at 1942 N 17th St, Milwaukee, WI 53205 (click here to register)

    The start of CONNECT 1 BRT also presents an opportunity to improve the reliability of service on adjacent routes and make them easier to understand: 

    • GoldLine – The CONNECT 1 BRT will replace GoldLine (Wisconsin Avenue) service along Wisconsin Avenue and Bluemound Road between downtown and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center (MRMC). In addition, Route 30 (Sherman – Wisconsin) will replace GoldLine service from downtown to UWM. Finally, GoldLine service from the MRMC to Brookfield Square will be replaced with an extension of Waukesha Metro Route 1 (Brookfield – Waukesha). The GoldLine name itself will be retired.
    • Route 14 (Forest Home – Humboldt) – Route 14 will be modified into two separate routes to improve reliability and on time performance. New Route 14 (Humboldt Blvd) will primarily serve Humboldt Boulevard between Bayshore and downtown. New Route 24 (Forest Home Avenue) will primarily serve Forest Home Avenue between Southridge and the MCTS Administration Building on 17th & Fond du Lac. Both routes will serve stations on the CONNECT 1 BRT line.
    • BlueLine (Fond du Lac Avenue) – The BlueLine will be shortened to end at Marquette University (16th Street & Wisconsin Avenue) instead of the downtown Intermodal Station. Riders will continue to enjoy high frequency service.
    • Route 21 (North Avenue) – Route 21 service will be expanded so buses run year-round on Downer Avenue between North Avenue and UWM. Route 21 will continue to provide riders with high-frequency service.

    View the BRT routes with an interactive map.

  • 9 Mar 2023 7:56 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Milwaukee County buses in April will launch a new fare collection program modeled after those in cities like London and Portland that is designed to level out pricing regardless of whether riders have a monthly pass.

  • 3 Mar 2023 6:57 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Madison gets $6.4M for updates to Metro Transit maintenance, administrative building

    Construction on Madison's bus rapid transit system is officially set to begin in March ahead of its planned launch in late 2024.

    City leaders officially broke ground in December on Madison's east-west bus rapid transit route, which will connect East Towne and West Towne malls, Madison College, the Capitol Square, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Hilldale shopping center, among other locations.

    The system is designed to improve travel times while connecting key parts of the city and major employers. It will feature all-electric articulated buses that run roughly every 15 minutes on most weekdays; it will also offer some weekend service.

    RELATED: Madison, state leaders break ground on city’s bus rapid transit system

    Work will begin on the city's west side and generally move east from there, city transportation planner Mike Cechvala told News 3 Now in an email Tuesday.

    In a tweet, the city said work still start next week in the Mineral Point Road, Whitney Way and University Avenue areas.

    Construction will involve not only building the 31 new stations but also improvements to intersections and crosswalks, new traffic signals and a terminal on Junction Road.

    Some early work to remove bump-outs and update traffic signals began last year along East Washington Avenue; that phase of construction is set to wrap up in June.

    The city's north-south bus rapid transit route is still being developed.

    A public meeting about the work on the west side is scheduled for 6 p.m. on March 14. For more information, click or tap here.

  • 1 Mar 2023 3:41 PM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)


    If you're a bus rider in Eau Claire and live near campus, you'll soon have more options and more time to get where you need to go.

    Officials with Eau Claire Transit told News 18 a new route is being added. It will go from UWEC's upper campus to lower campus and downtown every half an hour from 6 p.m. to 11:40 p.m.

    Other buses will also run later. Monday through Friday, buses will now be out an extra hour at night, until 11:30 p.m.

    The Saturday mall route will also now run until 11 p.m. And the Pablo route will run from noon until 11:35 p.m. on Saturdays.

  • 23 Feb 2023 9:08 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Valley Transit logo (WLUK)

    Valley Transit is bringing back its successful hiring bonus incentive program.

    The next five qualified candidates with a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) will receive a $5,000 sign-on bonus for full-time new hires and $2,500 will be offered for part-time positions.

    Last year when the company offered the incentive, they say it worked.

    “We've seen an increase in applications because of the bonus and several positions have been filled. While we are pleased with the progress we've made, we are still actively seeking five more candidates with a valid CDL to join our team and continue the positive momentum,” said Valley Transit general manager, Ron McDonald.

    The reinstated hiring bonus now includes part-time maintenance utility workers in addition to full-time and part-time bus drivers because these positions require a valid Class A or Class B CDL with a passenger endorsement and no air brake restriction.

    Working for Valley Transit provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package that includes enrollment in the Wisconsin Retirement System and the opportunity to work for an organization that is supportive, inclusive, and making a positive impact on its community.

    Those interested in bus driver or maintenance utility roles are not required to have their CDL to apply but will need to be able to acquire and maintain one along with a federal medical card as a condition of employment.

  • 17 Feb 2023 8:23 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    The Wisconsin Public Transportation Association (WIPTA) commends Governor Evers for his executive budget proposal, particularly as it relates to statewide transit funding.

    Due to the pandemic, public transportation networks were severely impacted with greatly reduced ridership and significantly reduced fare box revenue. Federal relief dollars were a vital lifeline for every system during those times. As Wisconsin continues to work to address employee shortages and the needs of the business community, the need for adequate public transportation funding is more pronounced than ever.

    We thank Governor Evers for the proposed 4% increase to state mass transit aids. As our entire state and country grapples with inflation, transit systems are facing many of the same familiar challenges, including increased gas prices. Meanwhile, state funding for mass transit aids is 4% lower – in real dollars - than it was in 2012. This long-term trend has resulted in increased costs to local government, reduced services, and the inability for our statewide transit systems to keep up with the needs and demands of their communities. Local businesses especially feel the impacts as over half of the rides provided by our bus systems are to get employees back and forth to work.

    In addition, the Governor proposed 4% increases to paratransit and elderly and disabled (specialized) transportation aids. These services are incredibly important to our most vulnerable residents but are extremely expensive to provide. Increases are desperately needed.

    WIPTA also strongly supports Governor Evers’ creation of a much-needed statewide transit capital assistance program. Bus systems continue to lack the resources needed to replace inefficient buses that have passed their useful lives and other unmet capital needs. This program and funding would be an enormous help.

    Finally, WIPTA appreciates the inclusion of language that would allow local units of government to choose to finance public transportation via a regional transit authority.

    We look forward to working closely with the Legislature to turn the corner on providing the services our local businesses and communities so strongly desire and rely on.

  • 16 Feb 2023 8:07 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Electric buses

    In June of last year, two electric buses joined the Municipal Transit Utility fleet to help get the La Crosse community around the city.

    Last night, the La Crosse Common Council approved additional funds for the project so the transit department could purchase two charging stations and the necessary infrastructure upgrades.

    In 2019, the council first approved the purchase of the vehicles and charging stations with $1,250,000 from a federal grant and $312,500 from city funds.

    However, due to increased costs, responsible planning for future growth of the electrical fleet and an upgrade to the original charger size, the new project cost is $1,573,000, the resolution stated.

    On Thursday night, the council approved using an additional $10,500 from the Capital Improvement Project budget, bringing the total city funding to $323,000 for the project. The funds will come from the monies allocated for new transit capital equipment.

    The resolution was first approved at the Finance and Personnel Committee meeting Feb. 2. At that meeting, MTU director Adam Lorentz said that the technology for electric vehicle charging has improved since the initial 2019 resolution. The new chargers are 125 watts instead of 65 watts, which will charge the buses faster.

    Due to delays in manufacturing and waiting on improved technology for the charges, Lorentz said the department used temporary chargers to get the buses in service last summer.

    Lorentz also said that when updating the infrastructure to install the electric chargers, the team added a third conduit for another charger in the future. He said it is very costly to make those infrastructure upgrades, so preparing for more chargers now will save time and money in the future.

    “If we were to add buses in the future — which is our plan — we’d have to go back and redo the process,” Lorentz said.

    Additionally, the city is using a battery leasing program for the buses. Every six years, the bus batteries will be replaced and recycled.

    “Anybody who knows technology knows that batteries continually get better and better,” Lorentz said. “Basically, we’re going to have a new bus in six years with the cost that we’re already paying.”

    The cost of each bus is $649,066, each charging station is priced at $68,050 and the electrical infrastructure updates cost $138,769.

  • 13 Feb 2023 8:26 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Mayor Reynolds Transit Equity Proclamation

    La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds issued a proclamation Wednesday morning at Grand River Station commemorating Saturday as Transit Equity Day.

    The national day of action honors the birthday of Rosa Parks and her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a year-long protest of racist policies for Black riders and a lack of service in Black neighborhoods in Montgomery that culminated in a 1956 Supreme Court decision ruling segregated seating on public transit is illegal.

    “Increased community access to public transit; reduction in racial, economic and other disparities in access to transit; and increased opportunities for employment in good jobs using less polluting, safer public transit form a key part of a ‘just transition’ from a fossil fuel to a renewable energy-based, just economy,” said Reynolds in the proclamation.

    Transit managers, union leaders, elected officials and frequent bus riders joined Reynolds in recognizing the ability for public transit to increase accessibility to community services for residents who do not drive.

    The La Crosse MTU is the only Wisconsin transit service outside of Milwaukee and Madison that runs on Sunday, and was the first service in the state to use electric buses for regular service.

    The MTU also connects with the Scenic Mississippi Regional Transit bus system and the Onalaska-Holmen-West Salem shared ride taxi. Onalaska Alderman Larry Jiracek, who spoke at the Grand River Station event, said riders of the shared taxi included people commuting to work but also those with appointments at Gunderson and Mayo hospitals.

    “We have to have a place to live, we have to have food, we have to get places, and transit equity day is a time to think about whether how we get places is fair right now,” said Cathy Van Maren, La Crosse Area Transportation Advocates member.

    Between 30% and 40% of La Crosse residents over the age of 15 are nondrivers, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The department defines non-drivers as having no license or no vehicle matched to them through Department of Motor Vehicle records.

    La Crosse has the highest percentage of nondrivers in the county and is among the top municipalities statewide by percentage of nondrivers.

    The DOT estimates that more than 40% of residents who live between Cass and Clinton streets and in areas surrounding the Mayo Hospital, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus and west of Gundersen hospital do not drive.

    Whether someone drives or not depends on several factors, including age, physical condition and where they work. Affordability is another reason why many don’t drive. The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimates the average yearly cost to own a car in 2022 was nearly $11,000.

    According to a White House fact sheet published in 2021, Wisconsin residents who rely on public transportation spend over 60% more time commuting, and non-white households in the state are nearly six times more likely to use public transportation.

    The drive for increased accessibility to public transit fueled the creation of the La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility’s Circulator Route on the South Side.

    “We realized there was a need for service on the South Side,” said Adam Lorentz, MTU director.

    Looking forward, Lorentz said third-shift workers have expressed interest in extended service times. Service times differ by route, but all MTU service stops before 11 p.m. on weekdays and before 8 p.m. on weekends.

    Reynold’s proclamation also highlighted the potential for public transit to support the city’s commitment to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

    The MTU unveiled two electric, zero emissions buses last summer. The city has four more under contract, and hopes to get three more new electric buses, Lorentz said.

    “We’ve been a model for different agencies across the country of how agencies our size bring electric vehicles into our system, not only for the now but for the future as well.”

    This year’s focus on transit equity comes as local public transit rebounds from low ridership during start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Ridership fell by nearly 40 percent from 2019 to 2020 as lockdowns closed workplaces and social spaces and close proximity to others posed health risks. In 2019 the MTU provided more than 920,000 rides. In 2017, ridership between fixed routes and paratransit services hit over 1 million rides.

    The MTU last year provided nearly 760,000 rides on fixed routes and over 18,000 rides through the paratransit service, a 48 percent increase in ridership from 2021.

    Nearly one in six rides on MTU fixed route buses last year were by passengers using a disabled persons pass, totaling nearly 125,000 rides.

    Passengers with student passes from Western Technical College, Viterbo University and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse last year took more than 87,000 rides on the MTU.

    The SMRT bus system provided over 18,000 rides and the Onalaska/Holmen/West Salem Public Transit Taxi provided over 48,000 rides last year. Both systems saw an increase in ridership from 2021.

    Buses to downtown areas across the country ran empty during the pandemic as fewer workers traveled to work, but that hasn’t been the case in La Crosse, said Lorentz. Part of the reason is La Crosse’s unique geography wedged between the river and bluffs, but also due to increased interest in using public transit.

    “We always focus that there’s the people that need the bus, but we’re also seeing an increase of riders who want to ride the bus,” said Lorentz. “When you talk about the Milwaukees, the Chicagos, the Minneapolises, that they have that bus culture, we’re starting to see that come here in La Crosse, and that’s an exciting thing.”

  • 9 Feb 2023 8:35 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    New Flyer of America Inc. (“New Flyer”), a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc. (“NFI”), a leading independent bus and coach manufacturer and a leader in electric mass mobility solutions, today announced that the City of Madison (“Metro Transit”) ordered 46 battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE NG 60-foot heavy-duty transit buses (92 equivalent units or “EUs”). The purchase was supported by Federal Transit Administration (“FTA”) funds.

    The high-capacity, zero-emission articulated buses will be configured with five doors to operate on Metro Transit’s new East-West Bus Rapid Transit system, which is expected to begin its service in 2024. In addition, the new battery-electric buses for Metro Transit will be equipped with high-power batteries, providing 410 kWh of power to deliver more energy-efficient and longer-range zero-emission buses. Metro Transit provides public transportation service throughout the City of Madison, Wisconsin, delivering more than 4.6 million annual fixed route bus and paratransit rides.

    “Metro Transit is excited to partner with New Flyer to help make our ambitious BRT plans a reality,” said Justin Stuehrenberg, General Manager, Metro Transit. “New Flyer's track record of innovation, quality products, and on-time delivery give us complete confidence that they will be a trustworthy partner for the largest infrastructure project the City of Madison has ever undertaken."

    “With more than 16,000 Xcelsior buses on North America’s roads, NFI is a proven mass mobility leader that provides reliable and safe mobility solutions,” said Chris Stoddart, President, North American Bus and Coach, NFI. “These 60-foot Charge NG buses will immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions, delivering cleaner, more sustainable mobility all while providing faster, high-capacity transportation to the City of Madison community.”

    Introduced in 2021, the Xcelsior CHARGE NG incorporates three distinct technology advancements, including high-energy batteries, advanced protective battery packaging for easy install and simpler serviceability, and a new lightweight electric traction drive system with up to 90% energy recovery. For more information, visit

    NFI is a leader in zero-emission mobility, with electric vehicles operating (or on order) in more than 120 cities in six countries. NFI offers the widest range of zero-emission battery and fuel cell-electric buses and coaches, and its vehicles have completed more than 85 million EV service miles.

    Today, NFI supports growing North American cities with scalable, clean, and sustainable mobility solutions through a four-pillar approach that includes buses and coaches, technology, infrastructure, and workforce development. NFI also operates the Vehicle Innovation Center (“VIC”), the first and only innovation lab of its kind dedicated to advancing bus and coach technology and providing workforce development. Since opening in late 2017, the VIC has hosted over 350 interactive events, welcoming 7,000 industry professionals for EV and infrastructure training.

    About NFI

    Leveraging 450 years of combined experience, NFI is leading the electrification of mass mobility around the world. With zero-emission buses and coaches, infrastructure, and technology, NFI meets today’s urban demands for scalable smart mobility solutions. Together, NFI is enabling more livable cities through connected, clean, and sustainable transportation.

    With 7,500 team members in nine countries, NFI is a leading global bus manufacturer of mass mobility solutions under the brands New Flyer® (heavy-duty transit buses), MCI® (motor coaches), Alexander Dennis Limited (single and double-deck buses), Plaxton (motor coaches), ARBOC® (low-floor cutaway and medium-duty buses), and NFI Parts™. NFI currently offers the widest range of sustainable drive systems available, including zero-emission electric (trolley, battery, and fuel cell), natural gas, electric hybrid, and clean diesel. In total, NFI supports its installed base of over 105,000 buses and coaches around the world. The Shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol NFI and NFI’s convertible unsecured debentures trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol NFI.DB. News and information is available at, and

    About New Flyer

    New Flyer is North America’s heavy-duty transit bus leader and offers the most advanced product line under the Xcelsior® and Xcelsior CHARGE® brands. It also offers infrastructure development through NFI Infrastructure Solutions™, a service dedicated to providing safe, sustainable, and reliable charging and mobility solutions. New Flyer actively supports over 35,000 heavy-duty transit buses (New Flyer, NABI, and Orion) currently in service, of which 8,600 are powered by electric motors and battery propulsion and 1,900 are zero-emission. Further information is available at

    Forward-Looking Statement

    This press release may contain forward-looking statements relating to expected future events and financial and operating results of NFI Group that involve risks and uncertainties. Although the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based upon what management believes to be reasonable assumptions, investors cannot be assured that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements, and the differences may be material. Actual results may differ materially from management expectations as projected in such forward-looking statements for a variety of reasons, including market and general economic conditions and economic conditions of and funding availability for customers to purchase buses and to purchase parts or services; customers may not exercise options to purchase additional buses; the ability of customers to suspend or terminate contracts for convenience; production may be delayed or production rates may be decreased as a result of the pandemic or ongoing and future supply chain disruptions and shortages of parts and components, shipping and freight delays, and disruption to labor supply; and the other risks and uncertainties discussed in the materials filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities and available on SEDAR at

    Due to the potential impact of these factors, the NFI Group disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless required by applicable law. 

    For media inquiries, please contact:

    Amanda Wanke
    P: 515.474.1704

    For investor inquiries, please contact:

    Stephen King
    P: 204.224.6382

  • 6 Feb 2023 9:36 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Each day, thousands of commuters and visitors to Wisconsin’s state Capitol pass the fading, beige edifice that is the Metro Transit Maintenance Facility. Occupying almost a full block of East Washington Avenue at South Ingersoll Street, the building has long served as the main hub of Madison’s public transportation, housing all of Metro’s buses.

    Plans are in progress for an 8,000-square-foot mural by artist Jenie Gao to decorate its outer wall. Gao’s proposal “The Time is Ours,” was recommended by the Madison Arts Commission above three other finalists and approved as the selection by the city council Nov. 1.

    The project will receive funding from Madison’s Percent for Art program. A 2017 ordinance pledged to set aside 1 percent of city spending on capital projects exceeding $5 million for the purpose of public art. According to the 2021 Percent for Art Ordinance report, $132,000 has been allocated for the Metro transit facility.

    Over the summer Gao interviewed city employees and 27 people who rely on buses. Of her interviewees, 70 percent identify as BIPOC. Gao, the only finalist of color, says their inclusion was integral to her decision to focus on the experience of bus riders.

    The artwork “embodies the feeling that many bus riders express that even people with the longest commutes feel ownership over their time spent in transit,” Gao said at a Sept. 7 Madison Arts Commission meeting. “They don’t have to mind traffic and the time is theirs to reflect, to read, and to do as they choose. For many people, access to public transit means having independence.”

    The mural is composed of four sections connected with aluminum silhouettes of people waiting in a bus shelter. These figures observe the passing of the seasons, represented by the first spring crocuses, sunflowers and cicadas, fluffy milkweed and migrating geese, and snow.

    Madison Arts Commission administrator Karin Wolf says the public response to the proposals “was very robust and rewarding.” The public comment form yielded 39 pages of feedback for all four proposals, and community members also emailed the Madison Arts Commission. Many comments supported Gao’s project and its focus on diversity. State Rep. Francesca Hong (D-Madison) wrote in an email that she didn’t think “any of the other finalists measure up to Jenie in artistic design, ethical considerations, community involvement or economic impact.”

    Wisconsin once had a statewide Percent for Art Program that dedicated 0.2 percent of the construction budget for selected new state buildings or renovations for public art projects, but Gov. Scott Walker’s administration eliminated the program in 2011. Wisconsin currently ranks last in the nation for arts and culture funding, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. Madison is the first city in the state to institute a percent for art program since.

    Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway says the ordinance aims to produce more public work like the Metro project.

    “It’s really important for us to include art in public spaces because it sends a signal to the community that we care. We care about how things look, we care about investing in arts and culture, we care about investing in artists, and we care about beautifying our city,” Rhodes-Conway tells Isthmus.

    Public art projects like the Metro Transit center also benefit tourism, adds the mayor. “In the travel industry, they call them the Instagram moments, they’re the places people stop and take a picture.”

    For Jessy Stammer, Metro Transit marketing and customer service manager, the project is a way to turn the Metro facility, which she describes as a “giant, empty canvas,” into an arts space.

    “We’ve been here and watched the development that’s happened on East Washington and all around us, and we’ve kind of stayed stagnant,” says Stammer. “This is a big opportunity for us to be a part of our community and our neighborhood again.”

    A few possible stumbling blocks may lie ahead. Wolf is concerned that inflation could drive up the cost of materials like aluminum. Also, the design Gao submitted is for the lower half of the building, which could potentially be refaced in the next stage of the Metro facility upgrade. Beneath the building’s perforated metal siding are old brick and windows. Changes of the facing or new exposure of the old surfaces could impact Gao’s design; it might end up smaller in scope or on a different part of the building.

    “This is a fixed budget,” Wolf says. “I’m worried about that because it often takes a long time to execute a project with the city. An artist has to be just very nimble and flexible and move with the project as it evolves.”

    Wolf says the Madison Arts Commission will work with the city’s transportation and engineering departments to refine Gao’s designs in the coming months.

    “I want people to try to suspend expectations and just see what evolves,” says Wolf. “And it’ll be gorgeous, because she’s a good artist.”

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