‘Less time waiting’: MCTS to increase rider capacity limit beginning April 12

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Updated: 11:39 a.m. on April 9

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – The Milwaukee County Transit System is increasing its capacity limit to 20 riders on Monday, April 12.

Despite the change, several COVID-19 precautions will remain in place.

“I ride at least four times a week, maybe five,” Rider Jerry Perkins said. “I take the bus across the city to my physical therapist.”

Riders like Perkins are part of the reason MCTS is increasing the capacity.

“That means they have less time waiting for the next bus in case the bus was already full,” MCTS Director of Marketing and Communications Kristina Hoffman said. “It’s going to really help our peak riding times.”

Hoffman said the increase was approved by county health officials as more people become vaccinated.

“This is the time of the year, spring and summer where we have the highest ridership so the timing is great for us,” she said. “Since the very beginning we put all sorts of precautions in place.”

Precautions include a mask requirement and social distancing. All buses also have mask and hand sanitizer dispensers.

“The virus is still around and we still have issues,” Perkins said. “It’s a good thing to protect me and protect you, so that’s the way it is.”

The new capacity limit is still below the total bus capacity which ranges from 35-42 riders.

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Posted: 3:56 p.m. on April 8

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - -The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) announced Thursday, April 9, it will increase its capacity limit from 15 to 20 passengers per bus starting next week, April 12. 

According to a news release from MCTS, this adjustment -- which comes as a growing number of people in Milwaukee County become vaccinated -- aligns with phased reopening plans and relaxed restrictions from health officials.

Permitting additional passengers on board enables MCTS to better serve those who need reliable, on-time transportation to work, school, medical appointments, pharmacies, grocery stores, and other important destinations.

MCTS buses, which are 40-feet long, normally have a capacity of between 35-42 customers. Even with the revised limit of 20 passengers per bus, there is still plenty of room to be spaced apart.

Since the start of the pandemic, MCTS has worked tirelessly to keep passengers and employees safe while still offering essential transit services that the community depends on. Continuing to wear masks and getting vaccinated are the most effective steps we can all take moving forward.

“While we are making significant progress vaccinating residents as quickly as possible, it is important that we continue working together to crush COVID-19 once and for all,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “Becoming vaccinated, masking up, staying physically distant, washing hands, and getting tested are all crucial tools for protecting ourselves and our families.”

Below are reminders of current MCTS policies and procedures related to COVID-19:

  • Federal law requires the use of masks while riding public transit.
  • MCTS has mask and hand sanitizer dispensers positioned at the front of every bus in the fleet.
  • Passengers are encouraged to wash hands, cover coughs and sneezes, stay home when sick, limit unnecessary conversations and interaction, and use staggered seating when possible.
  • Passengers are encouraged to use contactless fare payment methods like the M-CARD and Ride MCTS app to ensure fast, touch-free experiences while boarding.
  • Passengers should enter the bus through the front door and exit via the rear door (unless the ramp or ‘kneeling feature’ of the bus is needed).
  • Bus drivers are positioned behind an industry-leading plexiglass shield and are supplied with masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and sanitizing wipes to clean their workspace.
  • Buses go through an extra daily disinfection process using EPA-approved and CDC-recommended products in addition to the standard cleaning that vehicles receive regularly.
  • Each of our facilities (bus stations, garages, and administrative offices) are thoroughly cleaned regularly. Signage at all work locations offers reminders and important information.
  • MCTS continues to use on-board signage, audio announcements, and other communications channels to make sure passengers are aware of all relevant information
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