Seniors, persons with disabilities can ride the bus for free in Milwaukee starting in April

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic is applauding committee passage of a proposal that will allow seniors and persons with disabilities to ride Milwaukee County Transit System buses for free starting April 1st. The budget amendment also extends transit service to growing job centers in Oak Creek and Brown Deer.

“GO”, or “Growing Opportunities” passes will allow seniors and persons with disabilities to ride the bus for free.

“The time is now to take the largest transit system in the state to the next level,” Dimitrijevic said. “In 2015, our riders will be using smart cards to travel throughout and outside of Milwaukee County. Our county is growing and we need to grow opportunities to match it. Under our proposal seniors and persons with disabilities will ride for free with the GO pass while we add new services to important job centers."

"The status quo of freezing fares that are some of the highest in the region, while the disconnect to growing job centers remains, simply isn't good enough,” Dimitrijevic added. “We know that a healthy public transit system fuels Milwaukee County, Wisconsin's economic engine. I rode the bus to each of the 19 municipalities and heard from riders trying to access jobs and remain independent. Now is the time for action and progress in our county."

She said that other metro areas, including Chicago; Pittsburgh; Jacksonville, Florida; Pittsburgh; and Providence, RI already offer free bus rides for seniors and low-income people with disabilities.

Nino Amato, President of the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups, wrote: “Public transportation also provides freedom and independence to seniors and people with disabilities, so they can stay connected with family, friends and the community. Moreover, public transit is a local economic development tool for our communities. Seniors and persons with disabilities are major contributors to the local economies in Milwaukee County.”

Supervisor Patricia Jursik cited the importance of transit to all residents of Milwaukee County, and she said the County must constantly work to improve it.

“The new transit service to the south shore will go through the MATC Campus through Howell Avenue and the business park along 6th Street to new development along Drexel Avenue,” Jursik said. “The extension will provide service to new areas of commerce. We need to make sure we are connecting riders to growing job centers across our county.”