Madison leads state in bus ridership, Eau Claire running behind

James Johonnott, V1 Staff

A recent WPR report on Wisconsin mass transit in 2014 has found that Madison has had a notable uptick in bus ridership over the past year. Madison Metro has observed that this is due to an increase in millennial bus ridership and implementation of smartphone apps that are used to track bus schedules and locations. The top complaint about Madison Metro over the last year has been that busses are too full, which they feel is a good problem to have. Eau Claire, on the other hand, saw a slight downtick in bus ridership. However, this downtick is within the range that ridership fluctuates yearly. A smartphone app was recently implemented to help boost ridership, but Eau Claire Transit believes the (much discussed) new transfer station would be the best next step.

Compared with the other multi-million dollar downtown projects, a new bus transfer center may seem like small potatoes, but it’s something that’s badly needed. The current shack-like transfer center on Farwell Street was meant to be temporary when it was built over 30 years ago. In the fall of 2013, the Eau Claire City Council finally set aside $125,000 in its 2015 budget for plans and a location study. Several million dollars to actually build the center still would have to be found.