Graham Kilmer

Off-Board Fare Collection Begins on Connect 1

Transit system adds final piece to its east-west bus rapid transit route.

By - Apr 16th, 2024 11:47 am

Off-bus fare validator. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) began collecting fares along the county’s first bus rapid transit route using new off-bus ticket validators Monday.

The transit system launched the Connect 1, a nine-mile bus rapid transit service that travels from Downtown to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa, in June last year. From its launch until April 8 all rides on the Connect 1 were sponsored by Umo, the software platform that hosts the MCTS mobile app called WisGO. MCTS began charging fares on April 8.

The off-bus fare validators are the last rapid transit element of the service to fall into place. Processing fares off the bus saves time during stops, speeding up the service in aggregate.

In March, the first off-bus fare collector was installed at the Watertown Plank park-and-ride in Wauwatosa, which is a charging and turnaround point for the Connect 1’s battery electric buses. Currently there are 32 off-bus fare validators installed at stations along the route. Once the Vel R. Phillips Plaza in Downtown is developed — which will include a Connect 1 stop — there will be 34.

Riders with a WisGo card can scan the silver terminal at Connect 1 stops. Riders using cash can purchase a $2 fare from the blue ticket vending machine. The machine will also take debit or credit cards. Whether paying with a WisGo Card or a ticket, each $2 fare buys a rider 90 minutes on Connect 1.

“My advice would be to use the real time sign that’s featured above there to keep a pulse on when your Connect 1 bus would be arriving,” said Jennifer Ortega, MCTS director of business services. “That way, when it’s within two minutes or so, my recommendation would be to scan your fare media… because that way, it gives you the optimal time to use your 90 minutes worth of transfer.”

MCTS is once again sending out employees as ambassadors to help riders with the new fare system.

“We understand as MCTS, that pre-board or off-board fare collection is new for a variety of people in the public here,” Ortega said.

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One thought on “Transportation: Off-Board Fare Collection Begins on Connect 1”

  1. 45 years in the City says:

    How is payment/validation enforced?

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