The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) introduced circulator service along two downtown routes as part of a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant.
“The program was initiated as a trial to see if the public would embrace the service to help cut down on traffic congestion and pollution,” said Tom Kujawa, GM of MCTS.
The service uses trolleys with six to nine minute headways, operating from 9 a.m. till 10 p.m., and until 1 a.m. on weekends. Fares are 50 cents, and the trolleys accept MCTS passes and transfers. There are also intra-circulator transfers for movement between the two routes.
MCTS markets the service to tourists and natives, emphasizing its utility in accessing special events and venues. The Lake and River routes run past several museums and the convention center.
“Needless to say, visitors, local residents and members of the Milwaukee business community are all equally pleased with the trolleys,” Kujawa said. He said that the program is sufficiently successful for the property to continue circulator service beyond the duration of the federal grant.
MCTS purchased the vehicles from Chance Coach. The less than 30-foot air conditioned trolleys are American Heritage Streetcars and accommodate 28 passengers.
CMAQ funding originated in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Equity Act of 1991 as a way for states to apply flexible funds toward transportation projects that reduce pollution. Renewed in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), CMAQ dollars are available based on a state’s non-attainment status, according to the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration administer funding.