Public Policy Forum Blog

New pass simplifies “last mile” bike trips for transit riders

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) and Bublr Bikes just took a significant step forward in integrating their two systems by partnering on a new “Buslr” pass. The pass allows users to swipe the same card when boarding an MCTS bus as when checking out a Bublr bike, making trips that involve both modes of transportation more convenient and seamless. Urban Milwaukee has a full description of how the new pass works.

This development piqued our interest as one of the recommendations of our March 2017 report, The Last Mile, was to build on recent efforts to improve connections between MCTS and Bublr. We described how the two systems already had begun to collaborate by adding Bublr station locations to the transfer announcements made on MCTS buses and by listing Bublr station locations on the MCTS Real-Time website for trip planning purposes. We also recommended that Bublr and MCTS further coordinate by strategically locating future bike share stations near transit stops.

The introduction of the Buslr pass and Bublr’s expansion plan both support our recommendation. Bublr was already among the 20 largest bike share systems in the U.S. as of January 2017 with 57 stations, and the system will further expand to at least 85 stations by the end of the year. Many of those new stations will be added in Shorewood, Wauwatosa, and West Allis near existing bus stops. The growing geographic reach of the Bublr system, along with the proximity of its planned stations to bus stops, will add to the system’s value as a first mile/last mile option for transit riders. 

We acknowledge that not everyone has the ability to ride a bike and that bike share is only available in certain locations in the Milwaukee area. Despite these limitations, we applaud this low-cost partnership between MCTS and Bublr Bikes and encourage ongoing coordination between local governments and the private sector to develop integrated solutions to the “last mile” problem.     

Joe Peterangelo