MCTS unveils MCTS CONNECT, its new BRT brand that will operate using electric buses

Nov. 11, 2022
A launch event in Milwaukee showcased the first of MCTS’s electric vehicles that will enter service in June 2023.

Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) held an event Nov. 10, 2022, to introduce its bus rapid transit brand, as well as showcase the first of its electric buses that will operate along the corridor when it opens for service in June 2023.

The MCTS CONNECT brand will operate on MCTS’ East-West BRT nine-mile route that will connect downtown Milwaukee and the lakefront to Watertown Plank Road Park & Ride lot.

“The quest to bring the East-West Bus Rapid Transit System to Milwaukee began years ago. Many stakeholders played a vital role in making the idea a reality for our community,” said MCTS Interim President and Managing Director Denise Wandke. “We can’t wait to share the fruits of all this labor when CONNECT begins next year.”

MCTS says the brand, MCTS CONNECT, was specifically designed for the battery electric buses that will be used on the route. The vehicles feature what MCTS describes as a sleek new look to highlight their advanced technology. The light blue color scheme is a natural extension of the existing MCTS blue, a larger than life “C” logo and the phrase “Clean Energy. Clean Air.” further distinguishes the brand. The name CONNECT fits MCTS’s mission to connect the community to jobs, education and life via essential transit services. The graphic elements connote rapid movement and the reflective decals are eye-catching at night.

“For us, the word ‘connect’ means community and togetherness. The bus is an integral part of Milwaukee – you can’t think of one without the other, and the look of the BEB is so new and interesting that it truly invites people to ride,” said MCTS Marketing Director Kristina Hoffman. “I can’t believe we successfully kept this design under wraps for two years. It’s so exciting to finally get to share CONNECT with our riders.”

Nova Bus was awarded a contract to supply 15 electric buses to MCTS, 11 of which will be used for MCTS CONNECT service. The vehicles will improve air quality and will be equipped with amenities to improve the rider experience, including chimes that will ring as the bus nears a stop, so riders with visual impairments will know the bus is arriving, a Quantum system on each bus to assist with mobility devices in a more convenient way, wider doors and a wider aisle to give passengers more space to enter and exit the bus and USB charging ports at each seat.

Construction on the BRT line began in June 2021 and earlier this fall, MCTS installed its first charging station at the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa. MCTS’s charge management plan calls for topping off each bus battery every third lap of the 18-mile roundtrip and then an additional two hours each night.

“We put thousands of hours into the project, really challenging ourselves to give riders a great experience,” said Maintenance Director Ron McCorkel. “This has been a very exciting project for everyone involved, both inside and outside of MCTS.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.