MCTS M•CARD

The MCTS M•CARD is a high tech, affordable and reusable way to pay for bus service. 

Once you get an M•CARD you can reload it with 1-, 7- or a 31-day pass or Stored Cash Value of any amount between $2 and $100. With the M•CARD you’ll never need to worry about having the exact change. Everything you need is on one powerful card! 

Not only is using the M•CARD easy, it also saves you money! Each ride is $1.75 vs $2.25 when you pay with cash.

With M•CARD Online - riders can check their balance, add money to their M•CARD or even order a new card, all from a computer or smartphone. You can also pick an M•CARD up at more than 90 locations across Milwaukee County.

How the MCTS M•CARD works:

Simply touch your M•CARD to the orange target on the farebox.

  • The passenger display will show information about the transaction.
  • The farebox will beep once for full fare or twice for reduced fare cards. 
M•CARD Terminology
  • Pass – When you put a pass on your M•CARD, you can ride as much as your want during the time you bought the pass (1-,7- or 31-days).
  • Stored Cash Value – The amount of money on your M•CARD. When you get on the bus $1.75 is deducted from your card (unless you use a transfer).
  • Transfer - a 90 minute transfer is automatically added to your card after you pay your fare when you board the bus. After 90 minutes you have to buy another ride ($1.75).

For more information see our FAQ section below.

MCTS M•CARD Frequently Asked Questions

If any of your questions aren't covered here, please call MCTS M•CARD Services during normal business hours (414-937-0470) or send an email to mcardservices@mcts.org.

What are the M•CARD fares?
What do I pay as a Senior (age 65 & older) or as a person with disabilities?
Does it cost anything to buy an MCTS M•CARD?
What is stored cash value?
What if I'm paying for more than one person?
How do I use MCTS M•CARD to pay my fare?
What are MCTS M•CARD Fares?
What do I do if my MCTS M∙CARD is lost or stolen?
What is M∙CARD Online?
What if I have questions about my card?
How does the M•CARD affect my bus travel to Waukesha County?
How do I pay the Route 79 Zone Fare with an MCTS M•CARD?

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What are the M•CARD fares?

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What do I pay as a Senior (age 65 & older) or as a person with disabilities?

The reduced fare M•CARD also offers 1-, 7- and 31-Day passes. Stored Cash Value amounts can be added to reduced fare cards. Seniors must show a valid ID and persons with disabilities must show their Medicare or TransitPlus ID card when going to purchase a reduced fare M•CARD. Children ages 6 to 11 are also eligible for the reduced fare card.

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Does it cost anything to buy an MCTS M•CARD?

Yes. MCTS charges a $2 fee for the M•CARD. This is in addition to the fare you put on the card (i.e. 1-, 7- & 31-Day passes).

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What is Stored Cash Value?

Stored Cash Value is cash value that you may load onto your MCTS M•CARD to pay for transit rides. Load any amount between $2 and $100 and the cash value stored on your M•CARD is deducted to pay your fare when you tap your card at a farebox. For example, if you load $20 of stored cash value onto your M•CARD, $1.75 (for adult regular fare) will be deducted from your card when you board a bus. Also, a free 90-minute transfer will be encoded on your card, so you do not have to pay any additional fare when transferring to other buses for the next one and a half hours.

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What if I’m paying for more than one person?

Let the driver know you are paying as a group fare BEFORE you touch the card to the farebox. Wait until the bus operator tells you it is okay to place the card on the farebox. The farebox will deduct the appropriate amount from your MCTS M•CARD.

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How do I use MCTS M•CARD to pay my fare?

Touch your MCTS M•CARD on the farebox's card reader, which looks like a rectangular orange pad. A green light and a single beep indicate that the card has been accepted. If you use cash, you will insert bills and coins into the farebox.

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What do I do if my MCTS M∙CARD is lost or stolen?

We recommend you register your card at M∙CARD Online or write down the serial number which is located on the lower left hand side on the back of the card (starts with 05), and keep this number in a safe place. In the event your card is lost or stolen, contact M∙CARD Services and they can transfer whatever value you had onto a new M•CARD.

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What is M•CARD Online?

With M•CARD Online, riders can check their balance, add money (passes or Stored Cash Value) to their M•CARD or even order a new card, all from a computer or smartphone. The new service also allows people to register their cards in case they are lost or stolen.

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What If I Have Questions About My Card?

Customers with questions about their MCTS M•CARD can contact MCTS MCARD Services at (414) 937-0470 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Customers can also email their questions to mcardservices@mcts.org.

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How does the M•CARD affect my bus travel to Waukesha County?

MCTS  fare can be used toward Waukesha County Express fare as long as the premium is paid in cash or through the Stored Cash Value on the MCTS M•CARD.

For transfers between Waukesha Metro Transit System (WMTS) - MCTS GoldLine Route (Wisconsin Avenue - UWM) Passengers may transfer between WMTS and MCTS at Brookfield Square, or other locations that would be normal transfer locations between the systems with a valid transfer or pass from either system (e.g. Waukesha Metro Transit monthly, MCTS monthly, weekly etc.) with no extra cost unless a transfer is requested. Waukesha Metro will have a hand held device which will read your MCTS M•CARD to see if it is valid.

If requesting a transfer from MCTS: Passengers transferring from Waukesha Metro to MCTS must pay full MCTS fare when requesting a transfer.

If requesting a transfer from Waukesha:  Passenger transferring from MCTS GoldLine to Waukesha Metro upon showing a valid MCTS
M•CARD, must pay 50 cents to receive a Waukesha Metro transfer.

 

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How do I pay the Route 79 Zone Fare with an MCTS M•CARD?

Pursuant to the agreement with Waukesha County, a 35 cent zone fare is charged to customers traveling in either direction EXCEPT for customers traveling only between Downtown and Mayfair Collection/Watertown Plank Road:

  • A 35 cent zone charge is paid by all passengers traveling to or from Waukesha County, including adults, children and those qualifying for reduced fare in addition to any form of acceptable premium (Freeway Flyer) fare.

  • The zone fare does NOT apply to passengers with a valid Commuter Value Pass, U-PASS or New Freedom Pass.

  • The zone fare can be paid in cash or Stored Cash Value, but never a combination of both for the same zone fare.
  • Passengers who pay their fare with Stored Cash Value or an M•CARD pass will use their M•CARD to pay the applicable premium fare while boarding as usual. Zone fare procedures are as follows:

Inbound (to Downtown)

  • If paying the zone fare in cash – Any passenger boarding in Waukesha County should pay the zone fare in cash while boarding.
  • If paying the zone fare in Stored Cash Value –Passengers who board in Waukesha County will use their M•CARD a second time while boarding to pay the 35 cent zone fare.  

    Outbound (from Downtown)
  • If paying the zone fare in cash – Passengers who board in Milwaukee County and alight in Waukesha County will exit through the front door and pay the 35 cent zone fare. 

  • If paying the zone fare in Stored Cash Value – Passengers who board in Milwaukee County and alight in Waukesha County will exit through the front door and use their M•CARD a second time to pay the 35 cent zone fare. 

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