SOMERS — For the past month, University of Wisconsin-Parkside third-year student Ashlee Willis has been happy to leave her car at home, in Milwaukee, in favor of the new bus line which drops her off just outside of class.

The new line has been running since early September and is intended to offer university commuters from Racine and Milwaukee an alternative to driving to school each day.

“It’s really convenient,” Willis, 21, said. “I didn’t even know about it. For the first month of school I was driving back and forth, and then my friend told me about it.”

On Tuesday the Racine Interfaith Coalition held a press conference at the University’s Tallent Hall bus stop, hoping to raise more awareness of the new line among students and faculty.

“I think this is a step in the right direction,” Al Stanek, director of parking and transit for the City of Racine, said Tuesday. “Now we have to do everything we can to let people know this is here.”

Wisconsin Coach Lines, a private company funded by state and federal dollars, is operating the intercity commuter bus service, Stanek said.

The university-funded Belle Urban System route was eliminated in 2006 after it lost Parkside funding amid concerns of student fees and low ridership, according to Journal Times’ archives.

“This is a vital and important stop to us,” Parkside interim director of student life Steve Wallner said Tuesday. “Not only for our local community, but for our faculty and staff and our students, who come from all over the state of Wisconsin. This stop and partnership gives them the ability not to have a car on campus.”

Earlier this year the City of Racine, which has been administering the funds for the commuter service since the ’90s, was told by the state to put the contract out for bid, which included the new Parkside bus line. Wisconsin Coach Lines, the current operator, was the only one to submit a proposal, according to Stanek.

Stanek described the current bus line schedule as “very modest,” arriving at two separate times in the morning and departing at two separate times in the evening.

Also in attendance Tuesday at Parkside was Racine Mayor John Dickert, who stressed the importance of public transportation to economic development.

(3) comments

kevinsmom68
kevinsmom68

"jaminjoesgarage - 2 hours ago
Jerry54, if you care about this bus as little as your comment portrays, you'd know Racine had a bus that went to Parkside for almost as many years as it's been in existence. It stopped service only a few years ago because there weren't enough riders."

so almost 7 years is only a few years?

" I abhor people who make comments and accusations who have no knowledge of what they're talking about."

now you know how people who read your comments feel.

the issue was about money. there were people riding the bus to parkside. there werent busloads but there were several.

the problem is, the bus SUCKS. and it keeps getting worse. 10% of the people stopped riding the bus last year.

Jerry54
Jerry54

Nice to know that there is now a bus from Racine to Parkside. It would have been nicer to know how Racine residents can go about utilizing it. If I'm reading this article, I obviously have an interest in the subject matter, but no details are given about the procedure for using it.
Whatever happened to "who, what, when, where and how?"

jaminjoesgarage
jaminjoesgarage

Jerry54, if you care about this bus as little as your comment portrays, you'd know Racine had a bus that went to Parkside for almost as many years as it's been in existence. It stopped service only a few years ago because there weren't enough riders.

I abhor people who make comments and accusations who have no knowledge of what they're talking about.

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