Save the train! Public meetings by WisDOT

Wondering what you can do to save high-speed rail in Wisconsin?

Here is your chance.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is holding four public hearings on the high-speed rail project in these next couple weeks. None of them are in Milwaukee, but we decided to post the information on them here just in case people would have an opportunity to attend.

All of these meetings run from 5:00 PM to 7:00PM.

Tuesday November 30, 2010 in LaCrosse at the Best Western-Riverfront Hotel at 1835 Rose St.

Wednesday December 1, 2010 in Eau Claire at the Best Western-Trail Lodge Hotel 3340 Mondovi Rd.

Thursday December 2, 2010 in Fond du Lac at UW-Fond du Lac

Tuesday December 7, 2010 in Madison at the WisDOT Southwest Region Office 2101 Wright St.

If you can make it, stand up for high speed rail in Wisconsin and make sure that the $810 million budgeted for it, as well as the 13,000 jobs this is expected to create, STAY in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee County Board approves transit cuts

The Milwaukee County Board approved the elimination of Routes 39, 45 & 47 on Monday November 8, as well as Saturday schedule reductions on Routes 10, 11, 12, 14, 31, 33, 35, 51, 53, 54 ,57, 67 and 80. Sunday schedules will be run all weekend on these routes.

This is a rather drastic cut, since it will affect all who ride the bus on Saturdays, especially affecting those who work on Saturdays.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Spreadsheet of all County Board-approved cuts to the Milwaukee County Transit System

Milwaukee County Transit Cuts 2010

Milwaukee County will not raise fares this year, however it will eliminate 3 routes.

The routes that are to be eliminated are:
39 Timmerman Flyer
45 Watertown Plank Flyer
47 S. 27th St./Holt Flyer

If you ride any of these routes, you can voice your opinion by making a call to your County supervisor at (414) 278-4222.

Voice your support for transit

Tonight at 7:00pm there is a hearing on the 2011 County Budget. Transit is one of the issues being discussed.

The meeting is at
Washington Park Senior Center
4420 W. Vliet St. (Routes 30, 31 & 33)

Updated list of MCTS’s Service Cuts

The final word is in. These cuts are not as severe as the ones previously mentioned, but they will definitely hurt bus riders.

The BusLine – (414) 344-6711

The BusLine will no longer feature live operators. The phone line will be completely automated. Milwaukee will be the only major city in America without live operators on it’s mass transit system’s phone line to assist with trip planning.

Route Modifications to go into effect January 3, 2010:

14 Forest Home/Howard – The entire 43rd and Howard branch of the Rt. 14 will be eliminated.

35 35th Street – All Rt. 35 service to Southridge will be eliminated. Rt. 35 will only go as far as 35th & Loomis at Howard.

Increased wait times on various routes – The County has decreased the number of buses put into service each day. Less buses on the street results in longer waits. The County has not been forthcoming on just what routes will be affected.

Storm Clouds on the horizon for transit users: preliminary budget proposal cuts routes, adds fees

In July, the transit system submitted it’s initial budget proposal to the county executive. The county executive cut the amount of the tax levy $3.7 million, and instructed the bus system to find a way to work that into it’s budget. This is why the transit system has so many cuts in it’s proposal.

The highlights of this proposal:
Route Eliminations:
39 Timmerman Flyer
40 Holt-College Flyer
43 Whitnall Flyer
44 National-Fair Park Flyer
45 Watertown Plank Flyer
46 Loomis-Southridge Flyer
47 S. 27th Street Flyer
48 South Shore Flyer
49 Brown Deer-Northshore Flyer
68 Port Washington Road
79 Menomonee Falls Flyer
219 Oak Creek Shuttle

Six bus routes will be shortened and night service will be eliminated on four bus routes.

Also, bus transfers will no longer be free. According to this budget proposal, riders will be charged a 25 cent fee for transfers.

The Milwaukee Transit Riders Union will continue to keep you informed on the latest threats to public transit in Milwaukee. The next step in the budget process is the release of the County Executive’s Recommended Operating Budget, which is scheduled to occur on September 24, 2009. Once it is released, it will be linked here and a guide to the cuts, including in-depth information like maps, will be posted here as well.

Walker’s BRT Plan: consolidate Rts 18 & 23

Scott Walker has been touting express buses as an alternative to rail transit. His plan has  been released, and you can download it here. (PDF)

It is important to note that this express route will replace, not supplement local service.  Under this plan, the existing routes 18 & 23 will be replaced by a gigantic route called  Route 18/23X, that will run between 60th & Congress & Fond du Lac and 67th & Greenfield.  The new route will only stop at transfer points. The problem with this is that local service is not  being preserved, so people who live in these neighborhoods will have no choice but to walk  further to get to bus stops.

Businesses are also going to be impacted by this drastic route modification, for example:  those who use the bus to go to the grocery store will have to walk several blocks with their  bags, since both the Lena’s on Fond du Lac, and the Pick & Save on National will no longer  have bus stops.

It’s also questionable whether this will save anyone any time at all. People going to work on  the northwest side will have to get off the bus at 60th & Congress and wait for another bus.  People on the south side will have to get off at 67th & Greenfield to wait for another bus as  well. So any time saved on the bus trip will be lost by having to wait for another bus just to  continue traveling west from these areas. And that’s assuming that the county follows through  on creating the shuttles that will replace the western portions of Routes 18 & 23.

Another concern we have is that this plan does not do anything to solve the bus-bunching and  over-crowding  problems on both of these routes. Wait times will remain the same, and with  local neighborhood riders sharing the same bus as people going further distances it’s likely  that these buses will be just as overcrowded as the current Routes 18 & 23, and much less  reliable since this route is so long and the layovers are so far apart.

The county is applying for a grant from the federal government in Spring to implement  this plan. We need the County to know that these neighborhoods and their people matter,  and that any plans for express bus service should not shortchange local transit and the  people who need it most.

You can call the county’s switchboard at (414) 278-4222

You can also visit the County Transit (TPWT) Committee’s web page at:

Find out who your county supervisor is, and how to contact him or her at:

Subscribe to the mailing list about this project at:

Be sure that you say in your message that you wish to subscribe to their mailing list for the ‘Fondy-National Bus Rapid Transit Project’.

Milwaukee Transit Riders Union Position Statement: Milwaukee County Board Task Force on the RTA

The Milwaukee Transit Riders Union is very much in favor of a regional approach to transit, however we do have some concerns about the proposed RTA, and the recommendations of its report to Governor Doyle.


Unfortunately, democracy is missing from the RTA plan.


The Milwaukee Transit Riders Union supports the idea of regional co-operation in public transportation, however, we do not support transferring power in decision making from one body to another if that body is not democratically run and publicly accountable.


We believe that both the SEWISRTA and SEWRPC must undergo significant reform before either is in a position to control any of the Milwaukee area’s public bus systems. This reform must include proportional representation on the boards of both agencies based on the population of each individual county, representation from the larger cities in the region, also based on population, and the moving of both agencies’ offices from Pewaukee, where they are far removed from the center of the area’s population and inaccessible via public transportation, to the city of Milwaukee, where they can be accessed by bus riders. Both agencies must also develop plans for civilian oversight, such as civilian committee members or a people’s oversight commission, as well as public involvement in the planning process.


Furthermore, although we support new transit service such as rail, we think that the top priority should be saving, restoring, and expanding local bus service. Before the RTA gives any consideration to new projects, such as the KRM Metra Commuter Rail extension, a dedicated source of funding must be established for local bus services such as the Milwaukee County Transit System, whose future is very much in question. On November 4, 2008 voters passed a referendum to save the Milwaukee County Transit System.


We would also like to see Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha Counties brought into the RTA as soon as possible, to facilitate easy and seamless transfers for passengers who utilize those transit systems.

We believe that the best place to start reinvesting in public transit is the bus system.  Accordingly, a strong bus system is a good base for strong local and regional rail projects and demonstrates Milwaukee County’s commitment to stable quality mass public transit.


As we know, opportunities for increased Federal funding for mass transit will greater than we have seen in a generation.  Milwaukee should not pass up this chance to demonstrate it’s commitment to public transit to its people, and to incoming President Barack Obama’s administration, so that we will be in a strong position to receive any federal money that becomes available for transit.


In many of the city’s poorest census tracts, over 45% of households do not have access to an automobile.  Access to good quality public transportation is a Civil Right and has a distinct impact on addressing racial, economic, and social inequality in our community. All Milwaukeeans deserve access to good quality public transportation and the ability to be active members in the planning of that system of public transportation.  Only after that is achieved will we see serious improvements in the economic stability of our community.

County Board shows leadership, overrides Walker’s vetos and restores the Route 11 on Vliet Street

In a show of leadership on Wednesday November 19, 2008; the Milwaukee County Board voted to override Scott Walker’s vetos of budget amendments that alter the fare increase and restore a much needed segment of a bus route in innercity Milwaukee. They deserve our thanks and support.

Starting April 1, 2008 bus service will return to Vliet Street between 60th Street and downtown. Route 11 will serve Washington Park, the Cold Spring Park neighborhood, the Doctor Martin Luther King Junior  Community Center as well as the Marcia CoggsHuman Services Building. (Yes-Walker did cut the bus that people took to get their benefits.)

In the upcoming months we will be finding out what MCTS plans to do with the Holton Street portion of Rt. 11 that was, up until last March served by Rt. 14. It would be devastating to that neighborhood to lose Holton Street bus service, and would deepen the problem of overcrowding on the two bus routes that parallel Holton: Rt. 19 on Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. and Rt. 10 on Humboldt Bd.

Public to be hit with hidden fare increase

Milwaukee will have the highest bus fare in the entire nation if County Executive Scott Walker’s proposed budget is passed. Under the new plan, regular adult cash fares will rise to $2.25, Freeway Flyers will rise to $3.00, and Half Fares will rise to $1.10. People who buy passes and tickets will be hit as well, with a 50 cent increase to $16.50.

The public was not notified of this increase ahead of time, although Walker repeatedly stated in the months leading up to the budget that ‘no bus service will be reduced’. This was a blatantly dishonest approach to the transit budget.

The Milwaukee Transit Riders Union reiterates it’s position on fare hikes. We want a fare freeze, so that working people aren’t forced to pay even more for less and less transit service.