Milwaukee County Transit System

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Milwaukee County Transit System
Parent Milwaukee County Government
Founded June 1, 1975
Headquarters 1942 North 17th St.Coordinates: 43°03′18.5″N 87°55′59″W / 43.055139°N 87.93306°W / 43.055139; -87.93306
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Service area Milwaukee, Ozaukee and Waukesha counties
Service type bus service
Routes 50
Hubs Downtown Transit Center
Fleet 416 buses
Daily ridership 166,600
(Q2 2008 avg. weekday)
Fuel type Diesel
Operator Milwaukee Transport Services, Inc.

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) is the largest transit agency in Wisconsin, and is the primary transit provider for Milwaukee county. It ranks among the top 50 transit agencies in the United States. The county-run agency was formed in 1975 after it took over the assets of the Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Company, a private operator. Milwaukee Transport Service, Inc.(MTS)is the current operator of the system. Its contract with Milwaukee County was extended for one year and will continue to operate MCTS through 2014.[1]

Bus fleet[edit]

MCTS bus 4413, a 2001 New Flyer D40LF

MCTS operates a fleet of 416 New Flyer low floor buses. 387 (384 active; three inactive) are 40 feet (12 m) long, and 29 (12 active; 17 inactive) of them are 30 feet (9.1 m), including five Gillig Advantage low floor buses dedicated to the Ozaukee County Express (Route 143).

Fleet numbers[edit]


Numbers Builder Model Delivered
1000-1004 Gillig Advantage 2002
4600-4639 New Flyer D40LF 2002 4608 & 4613 inactive. Most still in service
4700-4750 New Flyer D40LF 2003
4800-4829 New Flyer D40LF 2004
4900-4914 New Flyer D40LF late 2004 officially “2005” as that is when they were paid for
5000-5008 New Flyer D40LF January 2006
5100-5189 New Flyer D40LFR July 2010 first to feature near-zero emissions
5200-5234 New Flyer D40LFR May 2011
5300-5354 New Flyer D40LFR 2012
5400-5454 New Flyer Xcelsior 2013 Clean air buses; first fleet in MCTS' history to feature rear destination signs on the back of the bus
5500-5534 New Flyer Xcelsior 2014 Clean air buses


Numbers Builder Model Delivered Withdrawn
Pre-MCTS (ex Transport Co. fleet)
1320-1483 GMC TDH-5105 1953-1957 & 1959 1980
1484-1503 GMC TDH-5301 1960 1985
1504-1586 GMC TDH-5301 1962 1985
1601-1675 GMC TDH-5303 1963 1986
1701-1730 GMC TDH-5303 1964 1986
1751-1760 GMC TDH-5301 1960 1985 Originally operated by Triboro Coach
1761-1770 GMC TDH-5302 1960 1985 Originally operated by Triboro Coach; 1761 and 1762 were used as sightseeing buses and can be distinguished by their scenic windows.
1801-1863 GMC TDH-5303 1965 1987
1901-1960 GMC TDH-5303 1966 2001 Refurbished in 1982-1987 and repainted into MCTS' white with green stripe
2001-2030 GMC TDH-5303 1967 2001 Refurbished in 1982-1987 and repainted into MCTS colors; 2001 was converted into a special bus that was used for handicapped and elderly use; Bus 2003 was used as a shuttle at Mitchell International airport.
Post-MCTS (1975 to present)
3000-3099 Flxible 53102-8-1 1978 1991 First order to feature handicapped seating and lifts and first with air conditioning; introduced MCTS' new color scheme.
3100-3249 GMC RTS-II 1980 2000 First group to display route numbers on right end rear windows. Refurbished in 1987-1990 to add new vertically opening windows and new air conditioning units.
3300-3325 Neoplan N416 1982 1996 40-ft. Ordered with wheelchair lifts which were removed before entering service. Only 76 of this model built and only MCTS and Atlanta (MARTA) had them plus one demo.
3326-3343 Neoplan N416 1982 1991 35-ft. Only 18 built and for MCTS
3400–3439 Crown-Ikarus 286 1984[2] 2000 60-foot articulated buses
3500-3571 Neoplan AN440 1985-1986 2002 Second generation; non-wheelchair
3600-3656 Neoplan AN440 1987 2002 Third generation: longer wheelbase moved rear axle further away from exit door; non-wheelchair.
3700-3816 Orion 05.501 1990-1991 2004 3700-3801 was the last order without wheelchair lifts; 3802-3816 were assigned to the Metrolink route and were identified by an orange stripe adjacent to MCTS's green; wheelchair lifts; last buses to display route destination numbers on right side rear windows.
4000-4145 New Flyer D40LF 1996-1997 2011
4200-4208 New Flyer D30LF 1997 2010
4300-4389 New Flyer D40LF 2000 2014
4400-4468 New Flyer D40LF 2001 2014 4418 was the only bus in MCTS' history in which a homicide took place on board.[3]
4500-4519 New Flyer D30LF 2002 2012

Relationship with New Flyer[edit]

MCTS' has had a very long and exclusive relationship with New Flyer since 1996, as their buses have all been first and second generation D40LFs.[4][5] In Summer 2013 MCTS will add 90 New Flyer Excelsiors to its lineup, thus continuing their partnership with NFI as their coach of choice.[6]

Bus routes and fares[edit]

See List of MCTS Bus Routes

Most of the year, MCTS operates more than 50 bus routes covering about 90% of Milwaukee County and parts of Waukesha County and Ozaukee County. In addition, special routes are run for certain festivals, sports games, and other special events.

As of September 2013, the adult, regular, non-discounted bus fare on MCTS is $2.25. 10 pack tickets or a weekly pass can be purchased for $17.50. A monthly pass is $64. Free transfers are given within 1 hour of paying fare.[7]

Other transit services[edit]

MCTS is a partner in the Southeast Wisconsin Transit System, a joint-venture transit partnership that also includes Waukesha Metro Transit and Wisconsin Coach Lines in Waukesha, Washington County Commuter Express operated by Riteway Bus Service in Richfield, Belle Urban System (THE BUS) in Racine and Kenosha Area Transit (KAT) in Kenosha.

Other projects[edit]

Milwaukee Streetcar[edit]

MCTS is currently involved in the Milwaukee Streetcar project, which is planning a streetcar line between Milwaukee's downtown and East Side neighborhoods. The streetcar project is being led by the city of Milwaukee after the failure of earlier guided bus and BRT proposals to gain political approval. The City Council approved the project on July 26, 2011, with construction to begin in the fall of 2012, and new streetcars to arrive in 2015. The service is scheduled for a 2016 launch.[8]

Regional Transit Authority[edit]

In 2010, a proposal to form a regional transit authority that would incorporate MCTS was made in the Wisconsin State Legislature. The move faced opposition from some lawmakers, and was vetoed by then Governor Doyle.[9]


  1. ^ [1] from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel(October 25, 2013)
  2. ^ Schultz, Russell E. (May–June 1986). "Milwaukee Part V [of history of transit in that city]: Milwaukee County Transit System, 1975 to 1985". Motor Coach Age, pp. 3–36. Motor Bus Society. ISSN 0739-117X.
  3. ^ "End of the line for city bus No. 4418" from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (July 20, 2013)
  4. ^ Press release from New Flyer (July 21, 2009)
  5. ^ From New Flyer (November 5, 2009)
  7. ^ "Transfers - Milwaukee County Transit System". 
  8. ^ Milwaukee Streetcar
  9. ^ Sandler, Larry; Stein, Jason (2012-03-03). "Bill could have public paying again for buses" from] Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (March 3, 2010). Retrieved from

External links[edit]