Bus system rolls out improvements while streetcar battle rages


by Matthew Wisla

Like many central city residents, the Smith family doesn’t own a car. Yvett, 55, retired last year so her transportation needs are not as critical as those of her four sons, ages 34, 22, and 19-year-old twins. They depend on the bus to get them to work or job interviews every day.

“A lot of young people are looking for work and need the buses to get out to jobs,” said Smith, who lives in the Concordia neighborhood. Standing in a bus shelter at 27th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, Smith tugged her coat up against the winter wind and said that new bus lines that restore service dropped earlier will help residents. “I’m glad more of the service seems to be coming back now,” she said before boarding her westbound bus.

As the proposed city streetcar continues to be hotly debated, the Milwaukee County Transit System launched four new bus routes this month in addition to two others that were started in August 2014. Of the six new routes, three are designed to connect central city residents with potential employment opportunities outside the city. The other three routes are intended to help shorten travel times and relieve overcrowding on the buses.

Bus passengers traveling along 27th Street will now have a choice between express and local service. The new Purple Line Metro EXpress has bus stops spaced about a quarter-mile apart, compared to every one-eighth of a mile on the Route 27 local. The Purple Line has 126 fewer stops than the local, which means faster travel times for riders.

Read the full story at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service:

The Milwaukee Transit Riders Union is an organization of bus riders fighting for a safe, efficient, accountable, and affordable transit system.