The Great Milwaukee Summer ™ may be back on (well, mostly), but the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) won’t be a part of it. Well, mostly.
For the first time in decades, MCTS will not be offering special bus services to and from Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair, or other lakefront cultural festivals. Gone are the MCTS shuttles and Freeway Flyers for Summerfest. Gone are the MCTS shuttles and Freeway Flyers for the State Fair. Gone are the MCTS shuttles and Freeway Flyers for whatever lakefront cultural fests are still happening (Irish Fest and Mexican Fiesta). You’ll just have to take the regular buses—many of which get you pretty darn close to the festival grounds—instead.
You can also utilize festival shuttles offered by local bars and restaurants. Not that we’d know anything about that, of course.
So what gives? NOT ENOUGH DRIVERS, says MCTS. Oh, and [motions at everything else].
“Despite nearly non-stop hiring and training of new bus operators in the past 12 months, our bus operator count has declined to a five-year low; we went from 772 to 714,” MCTS Managing Director Dan Boehm wrote in an email addressed to the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, and obtained by Urban Milwaukee. That email was in relation to Summerfest.
“Unfortunately, this summer’s activities come amidst a tight labor market that’s hampering the transportation, governmental, tourism, restaurant, and service industries—as well as many other businesses,” MCTS told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That statement was in relation to the State Fair and other cultural fests.
Both Summerfest (September 2-4, 9-11, 16-18) and the State Fair (August 5-15) are currently working on alternatives to the canceled services. In the meantime, per the Journal Sentinel:
MCTS advised that those trying to get to Henry Maier Festival Park can ride the MCTS GoldLine, GreenLine, Route 14, Route 15, Route 30, or Route 33.
Those wishing to ride to State Fair Park can ride Route 33, Route 56, or Route 67 (S. 84th Street Branch).
The news comes at an up-and-down time for Milwaukee public transportation. On one hand, a groundbreaking ceremony was recently held for MCTS’ highly touted East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line, a nine-mile route that will utilize battery-electric buses to better connect the areas between Downtown Milwaukee and Wauwatosa. Great! On the other hand, Wisconsin’s Republican/ghoul/traitor-controlled Legislature recently voted to slash funding for public transportation in Milwaukee (and Madison) by 50% over the next two years. Fuck you! Enjoy this corgi video!
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