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MCTS cuts bus routes servicing students who live within two-mile radius of their school

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CUDAHY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Parents in Cudahy are scrambling to find their kids a ride to school. Students living within two miles of the high school and middle school can no longer take a bus.

As part of the 2019 budget, five local morning and afternoon school routes provided by Milwaukee County Transit System were cut, affecting not only Cudahy, but St. Francis, South Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and West Allis schools.

The cancelled bus route was a special service provided by MCTS. A spokesperson says the cut was made due to higher ridership costs. The cut includes MCTS Route 50, 85, 87, 88 and 89.

"These school routes that are impacted carry many fewer riders than some of our fixed routes, so that is a factor that goes into our decision-making process," said Matt Sliker, Integrated Marketing Manager for MCTS.

Cudahy School District Superintendent Jim Heiden says the majority of their students live within the two-mile radius.

People who live near Cudahy High School say it's upsetting to know public transportation in the area is dwindling.

"It's kind of a bummer,” said Diana Carter, who lives near Cudahy High School. “For a lot of these kids I feel like that might be the only way to get to school, especially in the winter time when it's not so nice to like go on foot or by bike.”

"There was a $3 million deficit in the 2019 budget,  and these school route eliminations helped balance that out," adds Sliker.

The school district says there are options to still use MCTS buses by using a different route, but it may require extra walking to get to bus stops.

"Route 88 is being eliminated, however Route 55 will continue to serve Cudahy High School, it stops right in front of the door,” said Sliker.  

Carter has a young child, and hopes Milwaukee County will one day restore its local school routes.

"It'd be nice knowing that my kid had a safe, warm ride to school," said Carter.

MCTS will face a $6 million budget deficit in the 2020 budget. Bus routes for some Milwaukee Area Technical College students will be affected.

"What we need is a new solution from the state that's going to help provide a sustainable future for the transit system," Sliker says.

The district says MCTS will be at the Cudahy High School and Cudahy Middle School open house to speak with those affected by the school bus route elimination. Heiden says they will continue to provide alternative transportation to students who live outside the two-mile radius of either the high school or the middle school.

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