Milwaukee County gets first all-electric bus

It's specifically designed for the buses to be used on BRT route

The Milwaukee County Transit System on Thursday celebrated the arrival of its first battery electric bus.

The all-electric vehicles will be used on the county’s Bus Rapid Transit route, set to begin service next year.

It is the first of 15 battery electric buses the county is getting. They emit zero emissions.

The buses are quiet, so chimes will ring as the bus nears a stop so that riders with visual impairments will know the bus is arriving. A Quantum system on each bus assists with mobility devices in a more convenient way. Wider doors and a wider aisle give passengers more space to enter and exit the bus. USB charging ports are at each seat location.

The county’s East-West BRT project – a nine-mile-long bus route aimed at connecting downtown Milwaukee, the Near West Side, Marquette University, Wauwatosa, and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, is expected to open for service in June of 2023. The roughly $55 million project formally received funding in December of 2020.

The new BRT band will be called “MCTS Connect” MCTS announced Thursday.

Before the BRT service launches, bus operators, route supervisors, mechanics, and dispatchers will undergo a total of 5,100 hours of training to prepare for riders.

MCTS maintenance director Ron McCorkel, who began his MCTS career as a bus operator 31 years ago, led the vendor selection and manufacturing process. “We put thousands of hours into the project, really challenging ourselves to give riders a great experience,” said McCorkel. “This has been a very exciting project for everyone involved, both inside and outside of MCTS.”

See more from WISN-TV Channel 12, a media partner of BizTimes Milwaukee.

Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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