The Route 48 Freeway Flyer is being eliminated, and service on Route 52 will soon be “modified … due to very low ridership,” the Milwaukee County Transit System announced on Monday.
See the full press release here. From it …
MCTS announces changes to service approved by Milwaukee County in the 2023 annual budget. These changes are due to a combination of several factors, including a projected 2025 transit funding gap and a COVID-19-induced transition to hybrid work schedules downtown which led to reduced ridership on Freeway Flyer routes.
According to a Milwaukee County Comptroller report released earlier this year, federal stimulus funds used by MCTS to maintain transit service will no longer by available in 2025. The result will be a need to increase funding to MCTS by approximately $30 million simply to maintain service. As such, MCTS has been directed to begin to reduce service to chip away at the future fiscal gap. In addition, MCTS, like many transit agencies across the country, faces a smaller bus operator workforce despite an ongoing approach to recruiting and retaining bus drivers.
MCTS shared the following service changes and when these changes occur.
- Freeway Flyer Routes 40, 43, 44, 46, 48, and 49: These six routes, which have been suspended since January 2022, will be eliminated due to previously low levels of ridership. Many downtown employers have moved to hybrid work models due to COVID-19 and reduced the demand for this service. MCTS outlined these changes in a public hearing at the County Board’s Committee on Transportation and Transit earlier this year. NOTE: U-Bus Routes 40U, 44U, and 49U are not affected and will continue as scheduled.
- Route 52: Service will be modified in March 2023 due to very low ridership. Additional information will be provided next year.