Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) will resume fare collection and front-door loading on all buses beginning June 1 at 4 a.m. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the bus system has been temporarily free, loading passengers via back doors, operating on a limited schedule, and suggesting riders use the bus for essential travel only.

While things will kinda-sorta be back to normal beginning June 1, MCTS will continue to allow only 10 riders per bus. Riders are encouraged to wear masks, use contactless fare forms, and limit interactions with drivers.

Here’s a press release:

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) announced today that it will resume fare collection and front door boarding on all buses starting at 4:00 a.m. on June 1, 2020.

MCTS is recommending that riders who are medically able wear a face mask or face covering over their nose and mouth while on board. To help maintain social distancing, MCTS will continue to limit riders to 10 per bus.

Please be respectful to bus drivers and other passengers by remembering the following:

• Health officials say wearing masks or other types of face coverings while in public settings helps prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

• Riders should enter through the front door, pay the fare and then move away from the farebox and the driver. The use of contactless fare forms, like the M-CARD and Ride MCTS app, is strongly encouraged. Please limit conversation and interaction with the driver.

• Follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for social distancing, washing hands often, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding public transportation when sick.

• Allow for extra travel time. If a bus has 10 people on board, the driver will not pick up additional riders. To reduce wait times, MCTS will monitor bus loads and add extra buses when possible.

• All buses undergo a daily disinfection process using EPA-approved and CDC-recommended cleaning products. That’s in addition to the standard cleaning vehicles receive on a regular basis.

• Buses that operate Mondays-Fridays are running on a weekday schedule, with the exception of Freeway Flyers, which are still suspended. Saturday and Sunday schedules remain unchanged.

• Anyone with questions about fares or bus passes can contact the MCTS Customer Service Center by phone at 414-937-3218 (Voice), 711 (TRS), or email “[email protected].”

• The MCTS Administration Building, 1942 N. 17th Street, remains closed to visitors, but accommodations are being made to serve customers remotely.

Fares are needed given the rising costs and lost revenue resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. MCTS is an essential service that has been proven indispensable for people to reach essential jobs and critical destinations since COVID-19 became prevalent in Milwaukee County.

The fiscal impact of COVID-19 on Milwaukee County will be catastrophic. Overall, Milwaukee County has seen $40 million in costs directly associated with COVID-19, such as providing personal protective equipment for employees, enhancing cleaning and sanitation practices, and setting up a temporary shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness. Milwaukee County projects $100 million in lost revenues by the end of 2020. This includes revenue from sales tax, property taxes, and program revenues from the zoo, parks, airport and transit. Meanwhile, the need for County services has increased significantly as a consequence of COVID-19, which has disproportionately impacted Milwaukee County residents and communities of color. Milwaukee County continues to work with our State and Federal partners to secure funding for these essential services, including transit.

More information about MCTS and COVID-19 is posted at