Milwaukee County Transit System
Press Release

An End of an Era – MCTS Produces Last Paper Passes

The final weekly pass includes an image of the first pass from May 4, 1930 on the back side.

By - Jan 26th, 2016 10:40 am

MILWAUKEE – Eighty-six years after the first Milwaukee transit paper passes came into existence, the last passes rolled out of the MCTS Print Shop on Tuesday, January 26, 2016. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele helped commemorate the historic moment by unveiling a special series of four weekly passes that will be used leading up to Leap Day, February 29, 2016. That’s when MCTS is going paperless and will no longer sell or issue paper passes, tickets and transfers.

“Since taking office we’ve worked hard to improve and modernize the transit system so it’s easily accessible for those who depend on it as well as those who use it to get to work, school and doctor appointments,” Abele said. “As we add technology like the M•CARD and Real-Time Information we’re strengthening MCTS as an economic development tool and making the bus a viable alternative to driving that is less expensive, more efficient and better for the environment.”

The design of each of the final four passes were inspired by passes from past decades. The final weekly pass includes an image of the first pass from May 4, 1930 on the back side; the front side is inspired by the MCTS M•CARD. The last weekly pass has another special feature, it can be used to ride for eight days, from February 21 – 28th.

Click here to see images of the special series of last passes.

The special series of passes are sure to become a collector’s item, according to Tom Poliak. Poliak has been collecting passes for decades and has nearly every Milwaukee weekly bus pass put out since 1930.

“In its own way, each pass tells a really interesting story. As you look at these passes, you realize here is a pass from 1941 that was in someone’s pocket when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and another pass that was used to board a bus on September 11, 2001. You can’t put a price on this type of history,” said Poliak.

Poliak is frequent bus rider and said he already has his M•CARD. MCTS is making it easy for riders like Poliak to transition from paper passes, tickets and transfers to the M•CARD. There is a Frequently Asked Questions section available at and a special issue of the Bus Lines newsletter on all buses that explains what riders need to do to prepare for the transition.

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