Graham Kilmer

MCTS Freeway Flyers Return

Express service between suburbs and Downtown will return, but with fewer trips.

By - Aug 2nd, 2021 02:06 pm
MCTS Bus. Photo by Michael Horne.

MCTS Bus. Photo by Michael Horne.

Freeway Flyers are returning to the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) as of Aug. 30th.

These buses provide express service between downtown Milwaukee and the suburbs. The service runs during peak travel times in the county to serve riders commuting to and from the city for work.

The transit system announced Monday that the service was being brought back, after being cancelled at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as more workers returned to downtown office buildings.

Many workers in white collar professions that populate office buildings in Downtown transitioned to working from home or remotely at the start of the pandemic. Now many are returning to offices.

MCTS said it is not expecting demand for the service to be where it was before the pandemic, so it’s going to operate the service with fewer trips. The new service schedule can be found on the MCTS website.

The returning bus service includes routes 40, 43, 44, 46, 48, 49, 79 and 143.

Freeway Flyers disappeared in March shortly after the pandemic hit the Milwaukee area and the transit system saw ridership collapse. The system began running a weekend service schedule all week long, and began implementing policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on the buses.

There are no longer passenger limits on the buses, but, per federal regulations, passengers are still required to wear face masks when riding.

One thought on “Transportation: MCTS Freeway Flyers Return”

  1. 45 years in the City says:

    I’m surprised the Freeway Fliers are coming back, and I don’t expect them to last long – especially once the 2022 budget is done.

    The model of suburb to central business district commuting has been in decline for years. Given that this service is mostly limited to operating in Milwaukee County, it has an even smaller subset of commuters from which to draw customers.

    This service is also expensive to operate, involving many deadhead equipment moves.

    Regretfully our region has never (and likely never will) effectively address the need for inter-county transport. MCTS (in my opinion) should concentrate on its core network.

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