MILWAUKEE — Starting next Sunday, riders who take the bus in Milwaukee County will see some major changes including new and extended routes, and even faster arrival times. Changes transit officials say were desperately needed.
"Hundreds of thousands of our residents will be seeing improvements," said Jeff Sponcia, planning manager for the Milwaukee County Transit System.
Milwaukee County Transit System officials are prepping the public for the changes they'll soon see, as they begin to implement phase one of their NEXT system redesign. A project they say will provide new and improved changes to bus riders county-wide.
"We are providing more service to areas that need it," said Jacqueline Zeledon, outreach, and internal communications coordinator for MCTS.
For nearly three years transit officials have been working on new ways to improve the rider experience while also keeping up with the demand and growth the county has seen. And Starting March 7th, riders can expect to see those improvements which include buses on routes 15, 19, 35, and 51 that will arrive every 15 minutes or less, and extended routes that will better connect people to jobs, grocery stores, doctors offices, and more.
"They are going to see more frequency, which means less wait time. Route 20 on South 20th will be connected to the Walmart on South 27th," said Sponcia.
Those who worked on the project said one of their main goals with these improvements was to advance racial equity and provide better transit access to communities of color.
"We've asked ourselves as planners and there's an agency, what can we do for people of color or people in these neighborhoods that historically have a disadvantage," said Sponcia.
With two more phases of transit changes and improvements to come, officials say riders can expect to see even faster service- more connections and easier-to-understand routing in the coming months.
"We have listened to the community and responded to their needs," said Zeledon.
Phase two of the transit system's redesign plan will be implemented starting on June 6th and the third and final phase will begin on August 29th. To see a full list of changes starting on March 7th, click here.