MCTS Awards Long Time Local Partner First Transit with 7-Year Paratransit Van Contract

Following Federal Transit Administration guidelines, an evaluation panel representing Milwaukee County and Milwaukee Transport Services unanimously chose First Transit as its next paratransit van service provider. First Transit has served Milwaukee County for over 30 years. Transit Plus riders are familiar with the timely performance of First Transit: in 2022, First Transit provided over 275,000 rides with an on-time pick up rate of 98.4 percent.  In addition to timely service, First Transit will bring new technology much needed by the paratransit community.

“We’re excited to award to a partner with deep roots in the local paratransit community, one that has served Milwaukee County since 1991, but yet brings the extensive resources and forward thinking of a national organization,” said MCTS Transit Plus Director Fran Musci. “I’m especially excited about the opportunities their technology will bring our riders.”

Improved Rider Experience
MCTS chose to consolidate service with one vendor, First Transit, for a simpler, more straightforward path to modernizing service for riders with disabilities. Instead of the complexities, costs, and delays of improving service across multiple vendors, MCTS has set high standards for a single vendor to meet.

Beyond the high service level requirements outlined in the Request for Proposal (RFP), First Transit will provide Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology, which gives riders automated reminder calls and advanced arrival alerts that consumers have come to expect from other ride services.

“By consolidating service with one vendor, we can more quickly implement improvements and offer consistent performance across our diverse ridership,” said Musci.

A One-Year Transition Plan
The contract begins next year in November 2023. Until that time, First Transit, which has experience transitioning service across dozens of locations around the country, is committed to hiring staff from the exiting provider. With a robust staffing plan that includes retention rewards for staff in good standing who transition from the exiting provider, First Transit is dedicated to providing stable service during the transition period and into the next contract.

“First Transit shares our goal to improve quality of life by connecting riders to the places they want to go. And ease of mobility is key to that goal. I look forward to continuing our partnership as we implement our new contract,” said Musci.