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'FlexRide' service offers $1.50 rides for Milwaukee residents to job opportunities

Posted at 4:24 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 18:44:55-04

MILWAUKEE — A transportation service connects Milwaukee neighborhoods with businesses in the Menomonee Falls and the Butler area.

FlexRide Milwaukeeheld a demonstration event at Employ Milwaukee on Wednesday to show people how the service works.

Employers were in attendance, as well as drivers for test rides. Those who attended were able to complete the registration process on the spot.

The event also helped people get connected with jobs that you can get to with FlexRide.

FlexRide zones

At first glance, it looks like you're on the Uber or Lyft app, but FlexRide connects residents that live on Milwaukee's North Side to jobs in northwest suburbs.

One of those jobs is atArandell Corporation.

Carolynn Schmidt heads the human resource department and said she's seen the benefits of the program for two employees that utilize FlexRide.

"If they're using FlexRide, they're going to be dedicated because they want to work and they have the opportunity to get to work," she said.

UW Milwaukee professor Robert Schneider researches ridership with FlexRide and has seen a significant increase.

"It provides good opportunity to get to jobs that harder to reach without a vehicle," Schneider said.

He believes high gas prices are leading to more people signing up.

"The last few weeks have broken the record for ridership," he added.

According to AAA, a gallon for gas in Milwaukee County is at $5.20. A one-way ticket with FlexRide costs $1.50 each way or free depending on your zone. It is a saving grace for employees.

"If they know they don't have the extra funds, we say have you heard about FlexRide? We have those conversations with them," Schmidt said. "You can see that they perk up and go 'oh, oh.'"

With hundreds of rides completed, developers hope this program sticks around.

"Long term vision for this type of micro-transit service in Milwaukee is to hopefully expand it to other suburbs," Schneider said.

WATCH: Carolynn Schmidt, HR Manager at Arandell Corporation, talk about FlexRide as an option to get to work.

FlexRide connects Milwaukee residents with job opportunities

The pilot program was backed by a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission conducting research into how different modes of transportation can create new employment opportunities.

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