Monday - Friday
8:00am to 4:30pm
121 S. Pinckney St.,
Madison, WI 53703
Tel: (608) 266-4336
Fax: (608) 261-9967
Metro Fixed-Route Service
Metro Transit (Metro), which is owned by the City of Madison, is the area’s major transit operator. Metro operates within the oversight of the Mayor, Common Council, and the City’s Transit & Parking Commission. Metro contracts with local units of government, UW-Madison, Madison Area Technical College, and the Madison Metropolitan School District to provide service.
Metro operates a timed transfer system utilizing core, commuter, peripheral, connecting, and circulator routes. Metro also operates school-oriented routes. In addition to the four major transfer points (east, west, north, and south) and the Capitol Square, a fifth minor transfer point was opened in 2007 in Middleton.
Metro’s fixed route service consists of 57 mainline and 4 UW campus routes. Of the mainline routes, 17 operate throughout each day, 9 weekday only, 19 peak-period only, 6 mid-day weekday only, and 6 weekend only. There are two UW campus circulators and 2 late evening campus routes. In addition, Metro operates many school-oriented routes within Madison Metropolitan School District boundaries, designed primarily to transport students in grades 6-12 who do not have access to regular fixed-routes and also to reduce overcrowding on mainline routes during peak commute times. Metro has a total of 168 buses running at the system’s maximum peak weekday service periods.
The service span for the mainline routes is generally from 6:00 am to 12:00 am on weekdays and 6:30 am to 11:00 pm on weekends with some trips beginning and ending outside of those times.
Metro operates most routes as local service with frequent stop spacing. However, Metro does provide some limited stop bus service. Routes 18, 25, 29, 44, 48, 52, 56, 57, 59, 74, and 78 skip stops that are served by overlapping routes. All are peak-period commuter routes except Routes 18 and 52 (all day), Route 59 (weekends), and Route 78 (Saturday only). For the most part, limited stop service outside peak periods is provided in order to complete a route within a 30- or 60-minute cycle time or because the service is funded exclusively by cities other than Madison. In addition, several routes operate on roadways without bus stops, in some cases to provide faster service. Route 55 was added in 2005, providing direct commuter service from the West Transfer Point to Verona and the Epic campus via USH 18/151 (Verona Road). Routes 11, 12, and 16 operate on Monona Drive and Broadway without stops. Routes 12, 18, 55, and 59 operate on the Beltline Highway, and Route 17 operates on STH 30. Routes 1, 12, 14, 15, 56, 57, 70, 71, 72, and 74 operate on Campus Drive without stops, bypassing Old University Avenue. Route 25 uses Highway 151 in northeast Madison as East Washington Avenue transitions from an urban arterial to a limited access expressway.
Metro has an average weekday regular fixed-route ridership of 38,000 to 40,000 with school in session. The UW-Madison campus and supplemental school service boost the average weekday total for the system to 53,000 to 55,000. The average weekday ridership during the summer is 28,000 to 29,000. According to the 2008 Metro on-board survey, over 90% of weekday transit trips were for work, school (K-12), or college/university/tech purposes. The trip purpose distribution is more even for weekend trips with 40% for work or school, 22% shopping, and 38% other purposes. The figure below shows the distribution of trip purposes for Metro mainline weekday passengers.
Metro Paratransit Service
Metro provides demand responsive paratransit service within ¾ mile of fixed route service (excluding peak only commuter routes) for persons who are unable to use Metro’s regular fixed-route service. The service is available during the same time span as the fixed route service in the vicinity. Riders must be certified as eligible to receive the service in accordance with ADA guidelines. Some individuals are only qualified during certain events such as wintery weather. Trips must be scheduled at least one day in advance and, unlike fixed-route service, riders are charged a higher fare during peak periods.
Monona Transit Service
The City of Monona contracts with a private provider to operate one fixed-route transit route, called the Monona Express, providing four trips to the downtown Madison/UW campus area during each weekday peak period. The city also contracts for a service called Monona Lift. It is a scheduled service operating a similar route during mid-day weekdays only with demand-response capabilities for qualified riders. Some trips go to downtown Madison and others circulate within the City of Monona. The 2010 ridership for both services was 21,200.
Sun Prairie and Stoughton Shared-Ride Taxi Service
The Cities of Sun Prairie and Stoughton contract with private providers for shared ride taxi service that is available to the general public. The service is a form of door-to-door, demand responsive transit whereby passengers with different origins and/or destinations may be transported simultaneously. The City of Sun Prairie also provides one fixed-route, the Sun Prairie to Madison Shuttle Service. The route makes three round trips on weekdays between a few locations in Sun Prairie and East Towne Mall, where riders can transfer to Madison Metro service. In 2010, the Sun Prairie service provided 81,000 passenger trips and the Stoughton provided 37,900 trips.
Other Transit and Private Taxi Services
Portage Transit operates a commuter shuttle service with one weekday trip between downtown Portage and Metro’s North Transfer Point where riders can transfer to Metro service.
The YW Transit Program provides employment related transportation to low-income persons for trips not served by Metro Transit such as night shifts and safe night-time rides for potential victims of sexual assault. Community assistance day-time rides are also provided to persons with no viable options due to poverty, disability, or language barriers.
Five private taxicab operators (Badger Cab, Green Cab, Madison Taxi, Union Cab, Van Go Taxi) provide individually arranged transportation services for the general public throughout the metro area. Two of the operators (Badger, Green) provide shared-ride service, while the others are metered cab operations. They operate without public funding and the fares reflect this.
Specialized Transportation Services
The Adult Community Services Division of the Dane County Department of Human Services (DCHS) administers several accessible group ride and demand-responsive services for the elderly and persons with physical or developmental disabilities in the metro area and countywide. DCHS contracts with private provides for these services. The services are generally provided as a supplement to Metro services for persons residing or traveling outside Metro’s service area, and transport people to necessary support and medical services, jobs, and training.
Using volunteer drivers in private vehicles, the Retired Senior Volunteer Driver Escort Program (RSVP) provides individual, and in a few cases, small group rides for the elderly when other options are not available. Most trips are for medical purposes. Dane County and Metro Transit provide funding assistance for the RSVP service. The UW Hospital and MATC provide shuttle service between facilities and campuses. The City of Madison, Dane County, and various non-profit organizations provide other program specific transportation services, which are targeted mostly at low-income persons.