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No more paper bus passes for MCTS; you must have an M•CARD to ride: “An easier way to go”

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MILWAUKEE -- Big changes for bus riders in Milwaukee County kicked in on Monday, February 29th. If you don't have an M•CARD, now is the time to get one. MCTS will no longer sell or issue paper passes, tickets and transfers.



"It's just easy to pull out of your pocket, and you hit the machine," said MCTS rider Jean-Louis Bolar.

Riders will still be able to pay with cash, but are encouraged to get the MCTS M•CARD, the reusable electronic smart card that makes riding easier and cheaper.

Riders can load an M•CARD with passes or Stored Cash Value. When you register your M•CARD at M•CARD Online, the value on the card is protected from loss or theft and each ride is cheaper than paying with cash ($1.75 vs $2.25).

"Every ride is like 50 cents cheaper, plus with every ride you get that 90-minute transfer," said Brendan Conway, MCTS spokesman.

"There were some people a little confused by it, but for the most part I think it is an easier way to go," said Bolar.


Drivers say the M•CARD will speed up boarding.

"We try our hardest to get you there on time, but there are things that slow us down and the money, the cash part really does. It's hard to get it in there, so it takes a while," said Karen Martinez-Casper, bus driver.

Eliminating paper transfers also means people can't cheat the system.

"With transfers, there can be fraud because you can get on, get a transfer and just give it to your buddy who didn't ride," said Conway.

The M•CARD also allows MCTS to gather better data about where and when people are riding the most. So eventually, they can adjust routes.

Individual paper tickets that have already been purchased can be used through the end of the year. You can trade them at the MCTS administration building at 1942 N. 17th Street for an M•CARD with the value of your tickets added.

MCTS has created a special web page with more information on the transition to paperless, including Frequently Asked Questions in English and Spanish.

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