Washington County’s bus service to Milwaukee will add stops at a pair of office parks.
“It’s not taking anything away from anyone else,” said Chairman Daniel Goetz, a county supervisor from Richfield. “It makes sense. “Overall, it’s going to help our economy.”
The Schlitz Park stop would be added to the Commuter Express routes to downtown Milwaukee. The Summit Place stop will be tacked on to the WCCCE’s medical center routes, Wondra said.
Those stops could start sooner than next year, Wondra said. The Highway Department’s Transit Division has the hours to add them now, Wondra said, and he recommended that the stops be added starting Aug. 1.
“We already have requests for this,” he said.
State and federal grants would cover half of the estimated $13,000 additional cost for the new stops, the highway commissioner said, with rider fares expected to pay the remainder.
“This would essentially break even in our budget,” Wondra said.
The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, based in Waukesha, estimates up to 1,200 passengers could take the WCCE to Schlitz Park and another 600 to Summit Place.
“So, if SEWRPC is right, it would be a (budgetary) wash,” County Supervisor Brian Krebs, town of Hartford, said.
SEWRPC is finishing up the next five-year Transit Development Plan for the county on the future of the WCCE and the Countywide Shared Taxi Service. Adding stops to both Milwaukee County office complexes are among a handful of recommendations included in that report.
The committee also recommended that the Countywide Shared-Ride Taxi Service continue its extended night hours through 2015.
This year the county extended its taxi service on Fridays and Saturdays as well as some holidays, to 1 a.m. Normal operating hours are until 10 p.m. The extended hours were suggested by hospitality business owners.
“I don’t think one year is enough (of a test),” County Supervisor Mel Ewert, Germantown, said. “Continue it for another year.”
The added hours are expected to increase taxi service expenses by $31,000, requiring an increase of $14,000 to the county’s property tax levy, according to data provided by Transit Division Manager Joseph Stier III. Goetz suggested that the night hours be extended to 3 a.m.
“The problem is, we’re trying to provide on-demand service,” Wondra said. The county’s taxi program is based on an advanced reservation system. “We are offering a quasi-on-demand service with this late night service.”
SEWRPC estimated that if the county were to switch to a fully on-demand taxi service, that would require an additional annual county levy of $800,000, Wondra said.
This year, Washington County’s Transit Division has a $3.8 million budget, which includes a $668,000 county property tax levy. Additional revenue comes from federal and state aids and rider fares.
Added stops. Two new stops in Milwaukee County planned for the Washington County Commuter Express:
■ Schlitz Park office complex is the redevelopment of the Schlitz Brewery property, 1555 N. Rivercenter Drive, Milwaukee, and has more than 1 million square feet of leasable space.Tenants include AECOM, American Heart Association, Aurora Health Care, BizStarts Milwaukee, College Possible, CorvisaCloud LLC, HSA Bank, iCare, Manpower, Reader’s Digest Association, Schools That Can Milwaukee, Security MicroImaging Corporation Inc.,Tempo Milwaukee, Time Warner Cable Business Class, TransPerfect, UMB Fund Services and US Bank.
■ Summit Place office complex, 6737 W.Washington St.,West Allis, is a redevelopment in part of the former Allis Chalmers manufacturing site and other properties, offering 630,000 square feet of office space. Among its more than 50 tenants are Adecco USA Inc., Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Community Health Charities of Wisconsin, Compuware Corp., Meridian IT Inc., National Government Services LLC, Siemens Power Generation, Siemens Building Technology,Toshiba,Verizon/MCI, Whitnall Summit Co./Allis Communications,Wisconsin Dental Association and the Wisconsin Medical Society Insurance & Financial Services Inc.
Sources: Schlitz Park and Summit Place websites