BRT Line Slated for June 4 Start
MCTS still must stripe dedicated lanes, add equipment to stations.
The final pieces are coming together for Milwaukee County’s East-West Bus Rapid Transit Service.
The Milwaukee County Transit System‘s nine-mile, $55 million bus rapid transit (BRT) line — branded “CONNECT” — will be the first of its kind in Milwaukee County when service begins rolling on June 4. The service will run between downtown Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Complex in Wauwatosa.
Construction began in 2021 with the elevated platforms. By the end of 2022, all 32 had been built. David Locher, MCTS transportation manager, told the county board’s Committee on Transportation and Transit on Tuesday that MCTS is still working to install necessary utilities and energize the platforms, but they are “pretty much ready to have all the bells and whistles installed.”
Those bells and whistles include four new cameras at every stop, off-board fare validators, ticket vending machines and real-time signs. Procuring these features and the 11 battery electric buses (BEBs) for the service contributed to one of several delays in the completion of the BRT project.
Transit officials said in early 2022 disruptions to the global supply chain caused by the global pandemic made many of the technological features difficult to source. This delayed the launch of the BRT to 2023. Brittany Bertsch, MCTS project manager, said some of the new features have already been delivered and the transit system is waiting until the harsh winter weather begins to wane for installation.
The buses are the Nova LFSe+ built by Nova Bus, a Canadian manufacturer owned by the Volvo Group. They can run 247 miles on a single charge and have a traction motor and next-generation powertrain produced by BAE Systems, an aerospace company based in the United Kingdom.
One component of the BRT line is the dedicated bus lanes. Striping for these new lanes will begin in April and MCTS is planning a public outreach and marketing campaign to educate drivers and pedestrians on what the new dedicated lanes mean and how to operate in traffic along the BRT route.
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Read more about East-West BRT Line here