Report offers future paths for public transit
By DAVE RANK Daily News Staff
An updated list of ideas to develop public transportation in Washington County now will head for public review and comment in the next few weeks.
The Transit Development Plan Advisory Committee, organized by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, approved the revised list Thursday in West Bend. When completed this spring, the Transit Development Plan will provide specific recommendations to develop the county’s Commuter Express bus and shared-ride taxi services in 2015-19.
Right now, the plan contains a listing of all ideas suggested by the 20-member advisory group. Those suggestions will be presented to the public for comments, after which the advisory committee will prepare a final report with its recommendations, Muhs said.
Included in the list of proposals are various service expansion ideas as well as possible reductions in service, committee Chairman Daniel Stoffel said. He is a county supervisor from the town of Kewaskum and a county representative on SEWRPC.
Among the suggestions:
■ Maintain the county bus and taxi services as they are now.
■ Reduce the number of daily bus routes offered by the Washington County Commuter Express to Milwaukee, which would cut $73,000 from the county’s annual subsidy and maintaining the county’s budget contribution to less that $150,000 a year.
■ Increase bus service frequency so a bus route is available every 30 minutes during peak demand.
■ Merge the shared-ride taxi services of Ozaukee and Washington counties.
■ Merge the Hartford and West Bend shared-ride taxi services into the county service, which would provide some administrative savings. But decisions would have to be made on blending services and whether other municipalities should have equal service.
■ Open a county shared-ride taxi service depot in Germantown. This could reduce operating expenses but raises the question on what level of service should be offered to both Germantown and Richfield.
■ Add a Commuter Express bus service between West Bend and Fond du Lac to serve Moraine Park Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac, Marian University, St. Mary’s Spring Catholic High School, Winnebago Lutheran Academy and connect with Fond du Lac’s public bus service.
■ Create direct Commuter Express bus service routes from Hartford and Slinger to Milwaukee.
■ Expand Commuter Express bus service to Mayfair Mall area in Wauwatosa, University of WisconsinMilwaukee, General Mitchell International Airport, Kohl’s corporate headquarters and the surrounding business park in Menomonee Falls, and the Park Place Office Complex in northwest Milwaukee.
■ Offer a commuter bus service to bring employees from Milwaukee into Washington County, in particular to the Germantown Industrial Park and West Bend. County businesses would have to determine if they are interested.
Any changes to the county’s transit services would have to be approved by the County Board following recommendations by its Transportation Committee, Stoffel said.
The advisory committee has been meeting for a year to revise a plan SEWRPC first compiled in 1996 that led to the creation of the county’s taxi and bus services in 1998 and 1999, respectively.
Committee members come from county government, Hartford, Richfield, West Bend, the state’s Department of Transportation, SEWRPC, private transportation providers and nonprofits offering transit services.