MCTS marks progress toward WisGo launch in April

Feb. 14, 2023
The account-based ticketing platform will offer riders more flexible ways to pay for trips and offer fare capping - a move transit and city leaders hail as a key step toward greater equity in transportation.

Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) is preparing to launch its new fare management system, WisGo, in April. The phased launch includes outreach efforts to educate transit riders on the new app platform, including installing validators on MCTS vehicles and testing the system before it launches. The existing fare media, M-Card, will be phased out.

In February 2022, MCTS selected the Umo Mobility Platform by Cubic Transportation Systems as its new system. The new system will allow riders several ways to pay their fare, including through the Umo mobile app which takes credit cards and debit cards along with Apple Pay and Google Pay and WisGo cards. A key feature the new fare management system will bring to Milwaukee County is fare capping.

“Milwaukee County deserves what transit-savvy cities around the globe offer: A flexible, easy-to-use fare collection system. With WisGo’s account-based system, riders get access to the best price through fare capping, a simpler fare structure and the convenience of multiple ways to pay,” said MCTS Interim Managing Director Denise Wandke. “We are always looking at ways to enhance the rider experience and introducing Milwaukee to a more regional and national travel planning system is not only going to do that, but make it easier for new riders to try public transit.”

MCTS will implement a new fare structure that will be $2 per ride for regular fare riders that caps at $4 per day; and $1 per ride for reduced fare riders with a cap of $2 per day. MCTS will cease use of the daily, weekly or monthly passes previously required to earn a discount.

“I’m glad to see MCTS removing cost barriers and improving the transit experience for riders. This is a key piece of transportation equity, and a way to grow loyalty among riders at time when residents are looking for alternative transportation options,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.

MCTS will function under a transition period between the launch of the WisGo system in April and September where riders will be able to use M-Cards on existing fare boxes. As of September, the M-Card will no longer be accepted on the bus and it will not be accepted on MCTS’s new bus rapid transit line, MCTS CONNECT, which is set to begin service in June.

MCTS is encouraging riders download the Umo app to set up an account. MCTS says that starting on March 1 Umo app users will be able to load stored value into their Umo wallets and begin receiving the perks of WisGo before the full launch April 1.

“Our partnership with MCTS gives riders a more equitable travel experience and we are proud to be part of the evolution of mobility in Milwaukee,” Vice President and General Manager of Umo Bonnie Crawford said.

Cash will be allowed for fare payment on all MCTS routes, but the agency explains riders who use this option will not be able to take advantage of fare capping.

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.