Graham Kilmer

Next Phase of Bus Route Changes Begin June 6th

MCTS is implementing a newly designed transit system over three phases in 2021.

By - May 7th, 2021 03:09 pm
MCTS bus on N. Van Buren St. Photo by Dave Reid.

MCTS bus on N. Van Buren St. File photo by Dave Reid.

Next month, the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) will begin implementing the next phase of a system-wide overhaul of bus routes in the county.

The newly designed bus system is called MCTS NEXT. MCTS is implementing the new system in three phases. The first phase went into service in March. The upcoming phase will begin June 6th. The third and final phase will be implemented in September

The phases are being implemented to line up with the bus operators’ schedule changes, or “picks”, when the operators have the option to pick which routes they’d like to drive.

The effect of MCTS NEXT, once implementation is complete, will be a system rebalanced to have 60% high-frequency routes and 40% low frequency routes. The new system was planned as a cost-neutral redesign. So the funding for new routes was made up with cuts and reduced service on existing routes.

MCTS didn’t eliminate any routes entirely. Instead, cuts were made to sections of low-ridership routes, while some others were shifted to daytime only service as data showed they had very low ridership during evening hours, according to MCTS. The transit system has said they managed to plan the new system without cutting any routes entirely and only negatively impact .5% of riders access to transit.

Under MCTS NEXT, 85% of riders will still he able to catch the bus at the stop they used before the redesign, and 15% that are losing their preferred bus stop will have to walk an extra one to two blocks, according to the transit system. Part of this is due to the system balancing bus stops, so that they are more evenly spaced out leading to fewer stops on the route and faster travel times.

The route changes going into effect in June include changes to three existing routes and the addition of four new routes.

Existing Route Changes

Route 12: This route along N. Teutonia Ave. will have high-frequency service extended to N. Brown Deer Rd. The bus will come twice as often as before for residents that live north of W. Hampton Ave., according to MCTS.

Purple Line: This high-frequency service which primarily runs along N. 27th St. will be extended to Bayshore Town Center along W. Silver Spring Rd. and N. Port Washington Rd.

Route 80: High-frequency service will will be extended to W. Florist Ave. along N. 6th St. and N. Green Bay Ave.

New Routes

Route 11: This service will replace what was the Route 12 branch service along W. Hampton Ave. It will travel along W. Hampton Ave. from N. Green Bay Ave. to N. 124th St. It will provide more frequent service on the weekends than the Route 12 branch, and it will run from 5 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Route 88: This line will replace service on W. Brown Deer Rd. after changes to Route 12. It will run between N. Green Bay Rd. and N. 107th St. Once it hits 107th, it will turn and run to W. Bradley Rd. then along W. Bradley Rd. to N. 124th St. providing service to a shopping center that includes a Woodman’s, Sam’s Club and Aldi.

Route 34: This route will run from the intersection of N. 5th St. and W. Clybourn St. to the intersection of N. 92nd St. and W. Congress St. It will do this by replacing Route 80 along N. 6th St. to W. Locust St., and W. Hopkins St. to W. Capitol Dr.; Then it will replace the RedLine along W. Capitol Dr. to N. Fond du Lac Ave.; Then it will replace the Blue Line on N. Fond du Lac Ave. and W. Congress St. to N. 92nd St.

Route 58: This new service will also replace a section of Route 80 running along W. Villard Ave. The service will run from W. Hampton Ave. to W. Villard Ave. along N. Green Bay Ave., then it will run along W. Villard Ave. to W. Appleton Ave., then to W. Silver Spring Dr..

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