The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) announced that it will temporarily suspend Freeway Flyer Routes 40, 43, 44, 46, 48, 49, 79, and 143 from January 10 through March 6, due to a shortage of bus drivers.
The pandemic has made it difficult for MCTS to retain and hire new drivers, a problem affecting all industries as the pandemic evolves with new and more deadly variants. Freeway Flyers are buses that operate primarily between Park & Ride lots and downtown Milwaukee on weekday mornings and afternoons. Riders will still be able to park at a Park & Ride lot and take a local route service to their destinations.
“We’re on track to hire the drivers we need to bring the Freeway Flyers back in early March,” said Kristina Hoffman, MCTS Marketing and Communications Director. “We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the changes in service and encourage Freeway Flyer passengers to ride the regular bus service until the Flyers return on March 7th.”
The following routes will be temporarily suspended:
Route 40 (College Avenue Flyer)
Route 43 (Hales Corners Flyer)
Route 44 (State Fair Park Flyer)
Route 46 (Loomis Flyer)
Route 48 (South Shore Flyer)
Route 49 (Brown Deer-Bayshore Flyer)
Route 79 (Menomonee Falls Flyer)
Route 143 (Ozaukee County Express Flyer)
University routes (40U, 44U, and 49U) are not affected and will continue as scheduled.
To meet the ongoing need for more drivers, MCTS is developing Phase II of its “What Drives Me” advertising campaign. That next phase spotlights employees who began their careers as drivers and moved up to instructor, supervisor, and director positions throughout MCTS. To further encourage applicants, MCTS is offering a $1,000 signing bonus for new drivers who are hired. The labor shortage extends to mechanics as well. MCTS is offering a $2,000 sign-on bonus for some mechanic positions upon hire.
Since the start of the pandemic, MCTS has worked to keep passengers and employees safe while still offering essential transit services that the community depends on. Updates on COVID-19-related transit policies and procedures can be found on RideMCTS.com.