By the end of the month, bus Route 18, a popular transportation option for south side commuters, will be eliminated. The route, which serves the Clarke Square and Layton Boulevard West neighborhoods, has run on National Avenue between South 2nd Street and South 124th Street for decades.
The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) cited budget concerns and a 10 percent ($6.8 million) reduction in state aid for the cuts in local public transportation. Most of Route 18, will be replaced by a combination of Routes 23, 54, 56 and a new Blue Line MetroEXpress service.
The changes will result in varying increases in commuting times. For example, riding the Route 18 bus from 2nd Street and National Avenue to 124th Street and Greenfield Avenue at about 9 a.m. currently takes 43 minutes. That time will increase by 10 minutes after the changes.
Those traveling from 2nd Street to work at the Pick N’ Save grocery store at 108th and Cleveland about 9 a.m. could have more than 15 minutes added to their commute, though catching an earlier bus can cut the delay to less than 10 minutes.
The new Blue Line will run from Fond Du Lac Avenue on the north side to 70th and National Avenue on the south side. Express bus routes will typically have stops every half-mile, compared to the one-eighth mile between stops for standard buses, according to an MCTS newsletter describing the changes.
Route 23 also will run from 2nd to 70th Street, replacing the majority of Route 18 bus service on the south side.
Route 56, a new bus line, will pick up where Route 23 and Blue Line service ends on South 70th and go to 124th Street and Greenfield Avenue. Route 54 will pick up service from W. Cleveland Avenue between 92nd and 108th.
Completely eliminated is a segment that carried passengers south on 92nd Street between West National Avenue and West Greenfield Avenue.