Graham Kilmer

Buses Returning To Full Capacity

All county buildings also return to full capacity. But masks still required on buses and in buildings.

By - Jun 29th, 2021 04:52 pm
MCTS bus on E. Brady St. Photo by Dave Reid.

MCTS bus on E. Brady St. Photo by Dave Reid.

Buses in Milwaukee County are returning to full capacity Thursday.

On April 8th, 2020, the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) reduced bus capacity to 10 riders per bus.

This was less than a month after the first cases of COVID-19 were discovered in the Milwaukee-area. The transit system was attempting to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on buses as much as possible without shutting down transit service.

The announcement followed the Shelter-In-Place order from Governor Tony Evers, which limited public gatherings to no more than 10 people.

Now, more than 14 months later, with vaccinations proving effective at limiting the spread of disease and COVID-19 related restrictions dropping away, the buses will once again operate at full capacity. 

However, a federal mask mandate for all riders of public transit, regardless of vaccination status, remains in effect. MCTS buses will offer free masks to any passengers that need them.

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said the return to full capacity will allow the transit system to better serve residents that need “reliable, on time transportation.”

The transit system will continue enhanced disinfection processes it adopted at the beginning of the pandemic, and every bus will have hand sanitizer on board. The bus system is also using a disinfectant coating on its air filters that is supposed to limit the spread of bacteria and pathogens — like COVID-19. 

Buses are also maintaining one-way entrance and exit. Passengers should enter through the front door and exit through the back door. They’re also still encouraged to use contactless fare payment through the MCTS App or an M-CARD.

This expansion to full capacity is the latest in a stepped transition back to normal that has occurred in every sector of public life. Crowley said return to normal capacity reflects “national transit trends, reopening plans and relaxed guidelines from health officials.”

The transit system changed the capacity two times during the pandemic, after the initial 10 passenger limit, inching up to 15 and then 20 passengers per bus.

Also beginning Thursday, all county facilities, like the courthouse and the Mitchell Park Domes will return to full capacity. Face masks will also be required by everyone inside a county facility, regardless of vaccine status.

Private events in county facilities will not require masking, as long as everyone is vaccinated, Crowley said. But the county will not be asking for proof of vaccination.

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Categories: Health, Transportation

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