Graham Kilmer

MCTS Expands Summerfest Service

MCTS will run three park-and-ride shuttles to and from Summerfest this year.

By - Apr 30th, 2024 10:34 am
Long Lines at Summerfest's Opening. Photo by Alison Peterson.

Long Lines at Summerfest’s 2017 opening. File photo by Alison Peterson.

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) is adding another shuttle to and from Summerfest this year.

The transit system announced Tuesday that it will run three park-and-ride shuttles to and from the festival grounds. Last year, only two park-and- ride shuttles were offered.

Shuttles will run between the Henry Maier Festival Grounds and the Hales Corners (S. 108th St.), Brown Deer (851 W. Brown Deer Rd.) and College Avenue (1400 W. College Ave.) park-and-ride lots. Rides will begin from the park-and-ride lots at 11:30 a.m. each day during the festival, with the last shuttle leaving the Summerfest Gate at 12:30 a.m.

The shuttles will leave and arrive approximately every 15 minutes. Round trip fares will be $10, but the shuttles will not accept cash fares. MCTS is encouraging festival-goers riding the shuttles to download the MCTS mobile app WisGo. Otherwise, riders can pay with VISA, Mastercard, Discover card, Google Pay or Apple Pay.

The transit system is also once again promoting the new bus rapid transit line called the Connect 1 as a viable transportation option for the festival. The nine-mile route runs east and west between Wauwatosa and downtown Milwaukee. The final stop is at the base of the new Couture high-rise apartment building, 909 E. Michigan St, which is about one block from the Summerfest grounds. Riders can also catch the city’s streetcar, called The Hop, in the concourse at the Couture.

MCTS can also bring riders within walking distance of the festival with regular routes like the GreenLineRoute 15Route 18 and Route 30.

The Summerfest shuttle returned in 2023 after being suspended in 2020 when the Big Gig was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021 and 2022, the transit system maintained that it did not have enough bus operators or buses to spare for the festival shuttles. When it did return last year, it was in a diminished capacity. In 2019, MCTS operated 10 park-and-ride shuttles with 70 buses. Last year, it was two shuttles with 15 buses.

The Summerfest service is emblematic of the general shrinking of the transit system. Without adequate funding for more than a decade, the system watched its bus fleet dwindle and had to cut away at the daily route network.

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One thought on “Transportation: MCTS Expands Summerfest Service”

  1. lobk says:

    A great big and much-needed welcome back, MCTS! However, I think the Park & Ride SummerFest shuttles could easily charge up to twice $10 for the extra convenience. I mean it’s not like County Transit is rolling in dollars.

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