By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 12, 2021 at 10:30 AM

After the first phase of Milwaukee County Transit System’s MCTS NEXT system redesign, which started in March and included a 13 percent boost in high frequency service and 5 percent more trips across the system, the County has announced that phase two will begin on June 6.

According to MCTS, this second set of changes will include improvements, additions and adjustments to Routes 11, 12, 14, 21, 34, 53, 57, 58, 80, 88 and PurpleLine.

According to a statement released this week, “Milwaukee County has evolved over the years, especially when it comes to the locations of job centers, shopping destinations, schools and residential areas.

“MCTS NEXT is an exciting effort to update the route network, improve the rider experience, and meet the community’s modern needs. The project aligns with Milwaukee County’s mission to advance racial equity and enhance the quality of life through great public service.”

MCTS held 14 open house events and more than 40 stakeholder meetings as it conducted a comprehensive review of the system, seeking ways to make improvements, speed up service and boost efficiency.

Phaset three, which will affect 11 routes, is expected to be implemented on Aug. 29.

Here are some of the Phase two updates, in text provided by MCTS...

More high-frequency service.     

  • Route 80’s high frequency service will be extended north of Locust Street (including 7th Street/8th Street, Dr. M.L.K. Drive and Green Bay Avenue) to Florist Avenue.
  • Route 12’s high frequency service will be extended north of Hampton Avenue all the way to Brown Deer Road (via Teutonia Avenue and Green Bay Road).
  • The PurpleLine’s high frequency service will be extended to include new routing on the northern end to Bayshore.
  • There will also be more frequent service on Hampton Avenue (Route 11), Hopkins Street (Route 34), Villard Avenue (Route 58) and Brown Deer Road (Route 88) compared to what is currently available along these corridors.

Better connections to jobs and grocery stores.     

  • Four new routes – Routes 11, 34, 58 and 88 – will provide additional routing options for passengers. Visit to see maps showing where these routes will operate.
  • Route 88 will provide brand new service to and from Woodman’s, Sam’s Club and Aldi at 124th & Bradley as well as Briggs & Stratton nearby. This is the first time employees and shoppers will be able to access these destinations by MCTS bus.
  • Route 12 will now provide more direct service to destinations like the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Milwaukee County Courthouse and MATC.
  • Improved service on weekends.     
  • Improvements to weekend service on Routes 11, 12, 34, 58, 80, and 88. For example, Route 12 buses north of Hampton Avenue will now arrive every 20-25 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays (vs. 40 minutes today). Route 58 buses will run approximately every 30 minutes on weekends (vs. 60 minutes today).

Simpler routing that is more direct and easier-to-understand.     

  • Routes 12 and 80 will be adjusted to provide more frequent service along a single corridor instead of being “branched” onto multiple streets with low frequency service like they are today.
  • Route 12 service on the Hampton Avenue branch will be replaced by a new route, Route 11. Service on Brown Deer Road between Green Bay Road and 66th-Park Plaza will be replaced by a new, expanded route, Route 88.
  • Route 80 service on the Hopkins Street branch will be replaced by a new, expanded route, Route 34. Service on the Villard Avenue branch will be replaced by a new, expanded route, Route 58.
  • Faster service by properly-balancing bus stops.     
  • We are working to make sure bus stops along Routes 12, 14, 21, 53, 57, and 80 are properly balanced. Bus stop balancing means shortening many riders’ travel times by removing some stops that are too close to each other, are not used often, or do not meet standards for being accessible to persons with disabilities.

Passengers can find more specific route, timetable and other information at or by calling (414) 344-6711.


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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.