Op Ed

“Job Lines” Buses Under Threat

Funding for buses that transport 28,000 workers to suburban jobs will soon be lost.

By - Apr 13th, 2018 11:03 am
Milwaukee County Transit System

Milwaukee County Transit System

Milwaukee residents living in zip codes 53205, 53206, 53208, 53209, 53210, 53212, 53216, 53218, 53233 are in danger of losing an important lifeline. The Milwaukee County Transit System’s (MCTS) bus routes 6 and 61 – also known as the JobLines – will disappear from these nine urban zip codes at the end of 2018, unless new funding sources are found.

The JobLines routes were established in 2014 as a settlement with the Wisconsin and U.S. Departments of Transportation, the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin (BHCW) and Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) to aid in transporting individuals living in urban neighborhoods to employment opportunities in Waukesha and Washington Counties.

Route 6 runs west along Capitol Drive to Moorland Rd. and south through several New Berlin industrial parks. Route 61 runs northwest along W. Appleton Avenue into a busy business district in Menomonee Falls.

If you are unsure about the impact of losing these two bus lines, consider this:

  • The JobLines routes provide reliable transportation to 28,000 residents in these zip codes where nearly 20 percent do not have access to a car for work.
  • Ridership on the JobLines is healthy and is growing. Currently, about 1,000 daily riders depend on the JobLines to connect them with good-paying jobs at over 150 employers in New Berlin, Brookfield and Menomonee Falls.
  • Residents also rely on the routes to get them to shopping, doctor appointments, workforce training centers, church, job interviews, child care, school, and more.
  • Businesses in the New Berlin industrial parks, which already need workers for current jobs, expect to expand and hire more workers as they begin filling orders for Foxconn.
  • The JobLines routes would be excellent feeder lines for the proposed Milwaukee-to-Foxconn commuter bus route.

In short, transportation has a ripple effect on the economic health of the entire area it serves. Imagine the crippling effect on your daily routine if you did not have access to a car. It’s something most of us take for granted.

So, what do we tell the inner-city residents at the end of 2018 when their transportation lifeline is cut off? What do we tell businesses that suffer due to losing access to employees and customers? What do we tell taxpayers who become disenchanted with the area’s growing blight?

What we can tell people and business owners is to speak up NOW:

  1. Sign the online petition to keep the JobLines routes alive: http://bit.ly/SaveOurJobLines
  2. Attend “THE JOBS ARE ON THE LINE” Community Rally on May 19, 2018 at The Wisconsin Black Historical Society from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Encourage others to attend to build community support for the JobLines.
  3. Spread the word about the importance of JobLines to our communities. Talk often with elected officials, faith leaders, activists and local community organizations.The Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin and Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope meet regularly with MCTS to discuss the JobLines bus routes and other transportation issues. We invite area businesses and community leaders to invest in and commit to JobLines as well.

The Rev. Marilyn Miller is the Pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church and President of the Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope, and Jim Addison is the President & CEO of the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin.

10 thoughts on “Op Ed: “Job Lines” Buses Under Threat”

  1. Troll says:

    Raise the wheel tax, make the suckers pay for it. This idea was brought to you by multi millionaire Chris Abele.

  2. Steve says:

    Yeah right!Raise the Wheel tax and I am calling a Real Estate agent and selling my Condo on the southwest of Milwaukee and move west of 124th street where vehicle registration is 50 dollars less per year!

  3. dragonkat says:

    So, what do we tell the inner-city residents at the end of 2018 when their transportation lifeline is cut off?

    Sorry, you should’ve move to Illinois when you had the chance!

  4. sharon pendleton says:

    HANG IN THERE, YOU FOOLS. In 50 years or more, there will be a streetcar line to take you to work! Americans are being RIPPED off with these government subsidized programs that suddenly disappear and leave a half-finished strategy lying on the tracks.

  5. Bill Sell says:

    The bus is a working person’s working tool. No less than a shovel for a gardener, a drill for a dentist, a “black (white)” board for a teacher. The bus for some, or a car for others, is a tool without which the many workers cannot work.

    The fact is car owners purchase a car “for work” as one way of justifying the cost. But for many it’s an essential tool – just to be able to arrive at their work site.

    The financing of transit has a solution that was figured out ten years ago; the County Board supported the effort; county voters approved it. But it failed in state government, even before bus-cutting Governor Scott Walker was sworn in.

    We have the power to change this – with a reduction in property taxes, while garnering millions from visitors – millions of dollars that we skip because “we” insist on funding too many services (parks, buses, schools, safety, development, sports, even our water) with property taxes.

  6. John says:

    These are the same people who complain about how high there taxes are. They all have cars, own homes and are ( selfish of people less fortunate.) But when times get BAD or a RECESSION comes along, they are the first to HOLLER, WHERE IS THE MILWAUKEE COUNTY TRANSIT SYSTEM !!! Yes by raising the property taxes a few bucks , it will force them into poverty and they just might,,,,just might have to depend on the bus service also to survive in the future. HA,HA.
    Yes I have a car and owned a home. And proud to say my second car is a MILWAUKEE COUNTY BUS,,,,, ” AND IS THERE WHEN I NEED IT.” . THANK YOU MILWAUKEE COUNTY FOR YOUR DEPENDABLE SERVICE AND ON TIME SCHEDULE. I’ve been riding public transportation in Milwaukee since the early 50’s when they had the Street Cars and the North Shore Line went to Great Lakes and Chicago. I hope they bring back the Street car. People don’t know what there missing. PS, I hope they have great Bus service in heaven as they do in Milwaukee.

  7. dragonkat says:

    this is why SE WI will always suck, how do you work with retards like sharon pendleton?


    the ? been asked: what do YOU tell the inner-city residents at the end of 2018 when their transportation lifeline is cut off?


  8. John says:

    So we give Foxconn a 4.1 billion subsidy to possibly, maybe, no guarantee, create 13,000 jobs, no guarantee and many will be from Illinois, but we will no help out tax paying working Milwaukee people who don’t have cars. WTF!

  9. sharon pendleton says:

    Dragonkat : Don’t you recognize sarcasm when you read it? The bus system is a true measure of a city’s intent to include all in a prosperous community. The Streetcar, is the nemesis of this, and will drain funds into a system that takes forever to build out to serve the public. Sorry you did not get the message, but anyone who calls another “retard” is not likely to read and think very thoughtfully. Keep your nastiness out of commentary and participate like a grown up.

  10. JPKMKE says:

    $1.6B in unfunded pension and benefits liabilities, and they are cutting transportation services.

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