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Suburban Milwaukee bus route set to end, riders worry about job transportation

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A popular Milwaukee County bus route is set to shut down by the end of this year. Bus route 61 runs in Milwaukee County and also takes riders to Waukesha County. The Milwaukee County Transit System says they have a plan in place to help riders, but some say it’s not enough.

Student Cydney Hughlett-Crawford rides Milwaukee County Transit System, MCTS, bus route 61, also called the ‘JobLine’, from her home on Milwaukee’s north side to her job at Firehouse Sub’s in Menomonee Falls.

“I don’t know any other route that’s quicker for me to get home from my job. So it’s really important,” Hughlett-Crawford said.

But, route 61 is set to end in January and she says her only other option to get to work would be Uber or Lyft.

“I would be out of a job in a way,” Hughlett-Crawford said. “Because there’s no other way. I can’t spent more money just to come to work.”

MCTS says when route 61 started it was temporary and the money has run out, but they have a plan that’s awaiting final approval. The plan says route 61 would merge with another bus route and continue making stops in Milwaukee County, but any service in Waukesha County would end. That’s unless Waukesha officials fund the transit services there.

“I think people in Milwaukee County would say, 'Should I be paying my tax dollars to send a bus to serve businesses in Waukesha County?'” MCTS spokesman Brendan Conway said.

The bus route is set to end on January 5th, and if MCTS’s plan is approved, the new route would start on January 6th.

Conway said that about 85 percent of riders on Route 61 stay in Milwaukee County anyway.

“We’ve come up with a really good plan that will continue to serve the vast, vast, vast majority of Milwaukee Co. and actually increase their access downtown,” Conway said.

Route 61 has about 850 riders a day. A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study found there’s a need for transit services between Milwaukee and the suburbs outside of Milwaukee County. In their report they write:

This study has identified a pressing need for transit service between Milwaukee’s inner-city neighborhoods and suburban areas outside Milwaukee County.

As for Hughlett-Crawford, she hopes something is done.

“You have to find some other way because you’re putting a lot of people out of work,” Hughlett-Crawford said.

The Milwaukee County Supervisor plans to hold a public hearing Monday at 6 p.m. at the Marcus Center for Performing Arts. According to a press release, Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic plans to recommend a budget amendment to continue the bus service to Menomonee Falls.


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