A new on-demand shuttle service connecting Milwaukee residents with jobs in the city’s northern suburbs is set to launch next month. The project is funded by a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.
“We are excited to be collaborating with our partners on a technology-driven solution to a longstanding problem for our region – access to jobs,” said Kevin Muhs, Executive Director of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. “Lack of transportation is too often a barrier for workers wanting to get to jobs and employers wanting to attract new employees, made worse during the pandemic. This is one step toward closing that gap and making us stronger as a region.”
FlexRide Milwaukee has started the pilot with the aim of closing first- and last-mile transit gaps for local workers. 15 vehicles will make up an on-demand shuttle service to transport passengers from five city locations served by the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) to employers located on the outskirts of the city. Trips from two of the five stops will be free, while journeys from the other three stops will cost US$1.50 for a one-way ride, increasing to US$3 later in the pilot. Users must be at least 18 years old, City of Milwaukee residents, and working or willing to work within the service areas. They must first register to use the service, and then can request pick-ups by using a smartphone app or by phone.
“We encourage anyone who currently works in one of the service areas – or is hoping to – to consider signing up for FlexRide,” said Chytania Brown, President and CEO of Employ Milwaukee. “As Milwaukee County’s workforce development board, we work every day to develop workforce solutions that promote regional economic growth and employment opportunities for all job-seekers. FlexRide Milwaukee does just that.”