Joblines Bus Will End After August
Funding for bus to Waukesha County jobs ending and Waukesha doesn't seem to care.
Route 57, referred to as a jobline, is running out of funding and by the end of August the buses will stop rolling.
The joblines are bus routes that bring county residents to jobs in Waukesha County. During budgeting process for 2019 it looked as though Milwaukee County would have to shutter the service. But a last-minute amendment saved the line through most of 2019, and bought the county time to look for new revenue for it.
More than half a million in transportation aid revenue was shifted to cover route 57 with the budget amendment. But that money is running out. Dan Boehm, director of MCTS, recently went before the committee on Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee and said route 57 into Waukesha County would be discontinued at the end of August.
The joblines were started thanks to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) and the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin. In 2014 these groups won a $13 million settlement after arguing the state ignored disadvantaged residents in Milwaukee’s central city during the planning for the Zoo Interchange. That $13 million was used to fund the joblines until the money ran out in 2019.
Hundreds of Milwaukeeans use the bus service to access jobs in Waukesha. But it’s still not enough to justify any spending by Waukesha County, said Brian Engelking, transit manager for Waukesha Metro. The number of passengers per revenue hour for the line isn’t even half what Waukesha County’s standard is: 10 passengers per revenue hour.
Waukesha County Executive Paul Decker previously told Urban Milwaukee the joblines don’t have much support in Waukesha County, even at a time when many businesses in the region say they are having trouble finding workers.“Employers from that area have not approached us overwhelmingly to say we need it,” Decker said.
Which means hundreds of mostly city residents using the bus to connect to Waukesha County jobs could be looking for new work in August, or sooner. In addition, some high schoolers could be looking for new schools. Menomonee Falls School district allows enrollment for some Milwaukee students, some of whom rely on route 57 to get to school every day.
Theoretically, Milwaukee County has a little over two months to find funding. But MCTS has informed the county board it is starting to plan the new schedule without the jobline.
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