Update on COVID-19 | View Alert

MCTS has suspended fare collection. Riders must now enter and exit the bus through the back door only, unless ADA access is needed. Remember, only ride the bus if you HAVE to. Read more here.

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our customers and employees. That’s why the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) is constantly in contact with local, state, and federal officials in regards to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Check this page often for updates.

To our Passengers:

Please respect the important work our employees are doing and support them during this challenging time. If you are sick, stay home. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are currently awaiting test results, stay home. If you think you may have been exposed to someone who has the virus, stay home. Wash hands, practice social distancing, and please be considerate of our bus drivers and the essential work they do every day for our community.

To our Operators, Mechanics, and Operations Staff:

We stand behind you and are working hard every day to keep you safe. Thank you for the critical service you’re providing our community.

 

The Latest:

  • Buses that run on weekdays are now using a Saturday schedule.
  • Buses are for essential trips only. This means you should only ride the bus to and from work or critical destinations like hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies or other places that are allowed to stay open under the state’s ‘Safer at Home’ order.
  • You must enter and exit the bus through the back door, unless you need help with a mobility device or other ADA accommodation.
  • We are not collecting fare.
  • The MCTS Administration Building, 1942 N. 17th Street, is closed to visitors.

How You Can Help:

  • Only ride the bus if you HAVE to.
  • Stay home as much as possible (especially when you are sick).
  • Leave extra room between yourself and others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.
Summary of Current MCTS Service
  • Starting Monday, March 23 and lasting until further notice, buses that operate Mondays through Fridays are using a Saturday schedule. This adjustment means that Freeway Flyers – including Route 143: Ozaukee County Express and Route 79: Menomonee Falls Flyer – are not in operation. Weekend schedules remain unchanged with one exception; Route 137 is not operating to the House of Correction. Click here to read more. 
  • To help ensure that passengers can still practice social distancing while on board, MCTS is starting to add extra buses onto our most utilized routes. 
  • Note About Route 54: MCTS has temporarily added five Route 54 trips per day extended to UMOS at 8:30 A.M., 10:30 A.M., 12:50 P.M., 2:50 P.M. and 5 P.M.
  • Note About Route 56: MCTS has temporarily added two Route 56 trips per day to serve the Industries for the Blind: one morning trip headed to the Industries for the Blind, leaving 1st and Maple at 6:27 A.M, and one afternoon trip leaving Industries for the Blind at 4:02 P.M.
  • Note About UBUS Routes (40U, 44U 49U): UBUS routes only operate to colleges and universities when those institutions are in session. Since they are currently not in session due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UBUS routes are not running.
Steps We’re Taking
  • MCTS buses go through an extra daily disinfection process using EPA-approved and CDC-recommended products. That’s in addition to the standard cleaning that vehicles receive on a regular basis.
  • MCTS is reminding riders that buses are for essential trips only. This means people should only utilize the bus to get to and from work or critical destinations like hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies or other places that are allowed to stay open under the state’s current ‘Safer at Home’ order.
  • MCTS is no longer collecting fare. Riders are required to enter and exit the bus through the back door only, unless ADA access or other accommodations are needed. This helps limit the amount of interaction between riders and drivers.
  • MCTS previously encouraged riders to use contactless fare payment methods (like the M-CARD or Ride MCTS App) rather than paying with cash.
  • MCTS is using all available communication channels -- including on-bus audio announcements and signage -- to inform riders and employees of steps they can take to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 (proper hygiene tips, the importance of social distancing, etc.).
  • MCTS provides disinfectant solutions and cleaning cloths to bus drivers to ensure that they can clean their workspace throughout the day. There is a global shortage for common supplies, like gloves, sanitizing wipes and sanitizing hand gels. As these items become available, they will continue to be distributed to employees.
  • MCTS reduced the level of weekday bus service. This means fewer bus drivers need to be on the road at any given time. To help ensure that riders can still practice social distancing while on board our most utilized routes, MCTS is adding additional buses to those routes.
  • MCTS has closed its MCTS Administration Building, 1942 N. 17th Street, to visitors. Click here to learn about accomodations being made to serve visitors remotely.
Frequently Asked Questions

Why haven’t you shut down the bus system?

Public transportation is considered ‘essential infrastructure’ by federal, state and local officials. Transit agencies like MCTS provide a critical service to people who depend on the bus to get to and from essential jobs and important destinations like hospitals, pharmacies, and grocery stores.

Why did you reduce the amount of service on weekdays?

As an increasing number of businesses have closed or started allowing employees to work from home, MCTS is seeing a significant decrease in ridership. This means fewer buses are needed on the road.

Are buses really free?

Yes, MCTS stopped collecting fare on March 28, 2020 and this will continue until further notice. The goal is not to encourage more people to ride the bus, but rather to facilitate important social distancing practices that will help slow the spread of COVID-19. The suspension of fare collection allows the majority of passengers to enter and exit the bus through the back door only – which significantly decreases the amount of passenger/bus driver interaction.

Are buses crowded?

Overall, MCTS has seen a significant decrease in ridership since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. However, some of our most utilized bus routes still occasionally see a moderate number of passengers. To help ensure that passengers can still practice social distancing while on board, MCTS is starting to add extra buses onto select routes. Remember, if you ever see a bus that seems too crowded to allow for proper social distancing, please consider waiting for the next bus to arrive.

Who can I contact with questions about my unused Pass?

Please contact our Customer Service Center by phone at 414-937-3218 (Voice), 711 (TRS), or email "customerservice@mcts.org".

What has changed about the boarding/exiting process?

Until further notice, riders must enter and exit the bus through the back door only, unless they need assistance with a mobility device or other ADA accommodation. If you still need to use the front door and the ramp, please let the bus driver know.

What are you doing to keep your passengers safe?

Please see the ‘Steps We’re Taking’ section of RideMCTS.com/Coronavirus for a listing of actions we’re taking to protect our passengers and employees.

What are you doing to keep your drivers safe?

Please see the ‘Steps We’re Taking’ section of RideMCTS.com/Coronavirus for a listing of actions we’re taking to protect our passengers and employees.

Are you able to provide your drivers with face masks?

There is currently a global shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is desperately needed by doctors, nurses, paramedics, and EMTs who provide care for the sick and dying. Healthcare workers and first responders currently have priority access to any available PPE. That said, since the beginning of the pandemic, MCTS communicated to our bus drivers that any employee who wants to wear their own mask may do so.

Archive of Press Releases

March 26, 2020: MCTS Suspends Fare Collection

Starting Saturday, March 28 and lasting until further notice, MCTS is suspending fare collection and informing riders that they must enter and exit the bus through the back door only, unless they need assistance with a mobility device or other ADA accommodation. Suspending fare collection limits the interaction between passengers and bus drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember, only ride the bus if you HAVE to. Read more here.

March 20, 2020: Reduced Service

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, MCTS buses that run on weekdays are now using a Saturday schedule. This reduction in service includes the suspension of all Freeway Flyer routes. Read more here.

March 19, 2020: Admin Building Closed

In an effort to focus on public safety and help prevent further community spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) is closing its MCTS Administration Building - 1942 North 17th Street - to visitors effective at 4:30 p.m. on March 19, 2020, lasting until further notice. Click here to read more.

March 16, 2020: Limit Non-Essential Travel

MCTS requests that riders limit their non-essential bus travel until further notice. For those who must travel out of necessity, please click here to read more about ‘social distancing’ and steps you can take to limit your interactions with the bus driver and help prevent the spread of the virus while on the bus.

March 13, 2020: Help Stop the Spread

MCTS remains fully operational. Riders can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by following the recommendations of health officials – including leaving plenty of distance between yourself and others. Click here to read more.

March 11, 2020: Extra Cleaning

MCTS has proactively implemented an extra daily disinfection process on all buses using EPA-approved and CDC-recommended cleaning products. That’s in addition to the standard cleaning our vehicles receive on a regular basis. Click here to read more.

Employee COVID-19 Cases

MCTS is closely monitoring the latest developments regarding COVID-19 and following guidance from the Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) to proactively implement measures that help protect the safety of our employees and customers. In the interest of protecting our employees' medical privacy, we treat health information in strict confidence. MCTS and Milwaukee County will not release names or any other personal information that may compromise the privacy of any member of our workforce.

On March 20, MHD confirmed to MCTS that a bus operator tested positive for COVID-19. Employees and the public were made aware of this finding the same day. Additional cases of COVID-19 among the MCTS workforce will be identified in the table below, which will be updated as necessary. MCTS has more than 1,000 employees and there is no evidence of the virus being widespread among the workforce. The MHD has asserted that MCTS passengers are not considered to be 'at risk' from a bus operator who later tested positive for COVID-19, due to the driver’s shield and their minimal interaction.

This chart will be updated if additional employees test positive for COVID-19:

Position Work Location MCTS Notified Case Status Last Worked Employees in Close Contact* Close Contacts Notified* Disinfection Process Complete
Bus Operator Fond du Lac Station 3/20/20 Recovering & Back at Work 3/17/20 Yes (7) Yes Yes
Bus Operator Trainee Fond du Lac Station 3/25/20 Recovering at Home 3/25/20 Yes (4) Yes Yes
Bus Operator Fond du Lac Station 4/1/20 Recovering at Home 3/20/20 No N/A Yes

 

*The MHD advises that Close Contact is defined as 10 minutes of time spent closer than 6-feet away from the patient that tested positive, or a shared workspace. The MHD will contact those who may have had prolonged exposure with employees who have tested positive.

Activity Guide for Kids and Families

To help brighten your day, we put together a digital MCTS coloring & activity book you can download. It includes a bus-related coloring page, a maze and a bus word search.

Download the coloring & activity book here!

If you'd like to show off your child's artwork, send a pic of a completed page and your family to marketing@mcts.org 

Contact Us

Many questions can be answered by visiting RideMCTS.com or by calling our 24/7 automated information hotline at 414-344-6711.

You can also contact our Customer Service Center by phone at 414-937-3218 (Voice), 711 (TRS), or email "customerservice@mcts.org". Representatives are available to answer your questions Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Customers may retrieve lost articles left on the bus by appointment only. Please contact Customer Service Center at 414-937-3218 to arrange pickup.

For questions regarding Transit Plus service, please call 414-343-1700 (Voice), 711 (TRS), or email tpcomments@mcts.org.