Message to Our Riders and App Users

Dear Riders,

With projects like MCTS NEXT and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), MCTS has been working hard to bring a new focus on the value of transit in our community and welcome a new generation of transit riders to the ease and convenience of taking the bus. Our hope for our passengers with the BRT is an improved transit service thanks to the utilization of all-electric buses. And with the new BRT comes the need to modernize MCTS’s fare collection system.

The search for a new fare collection system began in May 2021. After meeting with several transportation solutions companies during our RFP process, a dedicated panel of MCTS and County staff reviewed RFP submissions, listened to presentations, and participated in technology demonstrations to select the best value for you, our riders. We announced that we selected the Umo Mobility Platform by Cubic Systems in February 2022. Next, we named our entire new system WisGo – a comprehensive mobility platform. Our vision is that WisGo will be the singular mobility travel platform for Milwaukee County and the region. While an app is the first step in a long journey, we are excited the complete WisGo fare collection system will go live later this year.

So, why did we launch the Umo App™ so early? In late February, we were informed that our current app vendor, the creator of the Ride MCTS app, was leaving the market and the RideMCTS app would no longer be supported. This was nine months before the Umo App would be tested and ready for our riders. Rather than wait until the full rollout in fall, and with no app for riders in the meantime, we decided to provide our riders with a temporary solution and did so within a matter of weeks! The result was that we launched a scaled-down version of the Umo App. We want you to know that a partial version was never our intent, and we apologize for any inconvenience it has caused, but it was important to us to provide our riders with a mobile solution because we know many of you rely on the app to plan your trips, track your bus, and pay your fare.

As of today, all of the key features are functioning properly (yes, you can track your bus live now!). We know the app rollout was rushed, and it certainly wasn’t perfect. We truly value all the feedback you’ve given us because the Umo development team was able to incorporate some of your suggestions right away such as the live bus tracking map. With the full rollout of the new fare collection coming this fall, MCTS will add even more great features including digital touchless on-bus validators, more in-app payment options, and connections to all the ways our riders travel our region: bus, bike, streetcar, and rideshare services.

For now, please note these changes to fares purchased via the app:

  • The 105-minute pass and 24-hour pass will activate immediately. (Note the previous 90-minute pass was extended to 105-minutes to allow for immediate activation.) So please wait to purchase your fare until you are ready to board the bus. Many of you have asked about this, and please note that stored value will return to the app in the fall with the full rollout.
  • There will be more ways to pay in the fall. For now, pay your fare with the Umo App by loading a credit card or debit card to your account.
  • If you have an unused balance on the previous app, contact MCTS Customer Service at 414-937-3218 (Voice) or 711 (TRS) to transfer the remaining balance to an M-Card.

Leading up to the full rollout in the fall, we’ll have lots of advertising, communications, and events to educate riders about what’s next with account-based SMART cards that will eventually replace the M-Card. For now, riders can still use their M-Cards and pay by cash. There will be plenty of transition time built into the timeline, so riders are comfortable with the new system before any big changes take place.

To conclude this long explanation, we want to thank you for your patience. And thank you for the 13,000 app downloads to date! We value your continued support of public transit. We want you to know that these temporary inconveniences will get resolved with the rollout of WisGo this fall.

Your MCTS Team