MCTS to launch new fare collection system in mid-2023
The phased transition to the new WisGo system will allow MCTS to test the fare collection system and make any necessary adjustments before rolling it out in the coming year.
Credit: Milwaukee County Transit System
Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) has announced the three phases in its transition to the new fare collection system it has been been working on over the past year. This phased approach includes estimated timeframes provided there are no further supply chain delays. The new system is expected to launch in mid-2023, alongside Milwaukee County’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) service.
“Metropolitan Milwaukee is transforming into a world class city, with more conventions, cruise lines to our port, internationally recognised sports teams, additional airline services, leading hospital systems and institutions of higher learning. That’s why modern transit is a necessity – to meet the changing needs of employers and residents alike – and MCTS is ready to deliver it,” said Kristina Hoffman, Spokesperson for MCTS.
During Phase I, after an extensive review of requirements and completing the proposal process, MCTS has chosen Cubic’s Umo Mobility Platform. MCTS switched to a new mobile app to accommodate the account-based system and is set to begin installation of validators on buses throughout the winter.
The rider experience will include the full benefits of the new fare collection system via the Umo app once the system is available in 2023. Until the full WisGo system launches, MCTS encourages riders to continue downloading the Umo app in the Google Play and Apple Store. By creating an account via the app, riders will be able to transition to the new system more smoothly. To date, more than 34,000 riders have downloaded the app to plan their trip, track their bus and pay their fare.
Phase II kicks off the pilot, slated for spring 2023. Select social service agencies, Commuter Value Pass customers, U-Pass university participants, and MCTS employees will test the new system and provide feedback. MCTS will make necessary adjustments and then roll-out the live system in Phase III.
The full WisGo system and bus rapid transit line (BRT) are expected to go live by Phase III, in mid-2023. Through the mobile app and contactless smart cards, riders will be able to create accounts that will automatically track rides, deduct the amounts from their online accounts and cap total costs at the lowest daily, weekly and monthly rates. This fare capping provides equitable pricing for everyone, as costs are adjusted based on rider frequency- the more passengers ride, the more they save.
The launch of the new fare system will coincide with the start of MCTS’s new BRT service. The BRT E-W line will re-imagine travel to and from downtown, change the entire pedestrian environment, foster cleaner air and connect thousands of employees to jobs through high-frequency electric bus service. Federal, state, city and county government officials have embraced the shared goal to bring about these changes through enhanced public transit.
“We can’t wait to roll-out a modern fare collection system for our riders. Our intent is to make not only taking the bus easier but getting to wherever riders want to go more convenient,” said Kristina Hoffman MCTS Spokesperson. “The simple name, ‘WisGo’ means we connect you to where you’d like to go.”
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