By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 18, 2023 at 7:20 AM

Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) and its fare payment service provider, Umo Mobility, have extended free rides on the CONNECT 1 BRT line into early 2024.

Rides on the 9-mile route were free for the first four months after it launched in June.

The extension is due to a delay in the arrival of the necessary fare-collection equipment, according to MCTS.

"One of the new features of Milwaukee County’s new Bus Rapid Transit line (BRT) is pre-board payment," reads a statement. "Due to a supply chain delay, the pre-board fare equipment will not be ready as planned this fall.

"MCTS will announce the timeline when WisGo pre-board fare collection will begin on the BRT sometime in early 2024."

The MCTS CONNECT 1 route connects the County Regional Medical Center in Wauwatosa with Downtown Milwaukee, passing near American Family Field and through the Marquette University campus.

Ridership on MCTS’s new Bus Rapid Transit line currently stands at 3,600 rides a day, according to the transit operator.

In August, when the bus manufacturer, Nova Bus, announced a potential issue with the vehicle batteries, the route's electric buses were temporarily replaced with standard buses until the batteries could be replaced.

For more information about the route, visit

When BRT debuted, I took this ride to test it out.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.