Why is the Transit Commission recommending a move to Madison Metro and what process will it follow?

The Transit Commission develops and recommends to the City Council policies on the various elements of public transportation and transportation facilities. The purpose of the Transit Commission is to provide for the safe and efficient transport of persons and goods within the community. It regularly weighs public transit options, evaluates transit operation monthly, and gives any proposals due consideration in relation to citizen needs, while also understanding operating budget constraints.  Put another way, the Commission’s responsibility is to get the “biggest bang for the buck” in service and dollars, for Monona residents and businesses.    

 A few other “datapoints” may be helpful:  

  •  Monona’s Sustainability Plan (2015), calls for improvements to alternative transportation networks in Monona and to support increased use of alternative transport within the community.  These goals are based on a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; increased alternative transportation reduces automobile traffic.
  • Through a survey completed in 2021 and anecdotally for years, the Transit Commission has heard from some in the community that they need or would like more transit, or want Monona to contract with Madison Metro, finding the private service offered to be too expensive or too limited in scope/range.
  • In the City’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Report, completed in 2022, there are two recommendations specific to expanding transit: 8) Make it a priority to secure public transit to serve affordable and senior housing developments, 9) Consider transit options that are alternatives to automobile ownership when reviewing housing development proposals. 
  • The City’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Implementation Committee, which began meeting in January 2023, has reiterated the need to expand public transit to equitably serve more of Monona. 
  • The American Community Survey (ACS), which collects data not unlike the US Census, estimates that 15% of adults in Monona do not drive or own a car.     

To gather more input from the community, the Transit Commission held three Public Information Meetings, accepted comments online and on paper, and conducted a comprehensive survey.  The Commission also created these FAQ’s and posted all relevant documents.  After thorough and careful consideration, and many more discussions with both Madison Metro and our current transit provider, the Commission made a recommendation to the City Council on December 4, 2023.  

The Commission has weighed Madison Metro’s proposal, in contrast to our current public transit service, for more than two years. The Metro route now recommended is different than what was initially offered by Metro and we believe more responsive to both resident feedback and Monona needs.  

Show All Answers

1. Why is the Transit Commission recommending a move to Madison Metro and what process will it follow?
2. First Student (Monona’s current Express and Lift provider) or Madison Metro can’t be the only bus options. Aren’t there other bus companies who could offer service?
3. Can Monona just expand the service hours of Monona Express or Lift to serve those who need transport at different times or on weekends?
4. Can Madison Metro just add stops on Broadway and Monona Drive and not offer service through Monona’s neighborhoods?
5. Can Monona do a mix including what it has now? Run Express through Monona neighborhoods, run the Lift, and connect up to Madison Metro at various places? Even use Paratransit too?
6. Can Madison Metro use a smaller bus to serve our residential neighborhoods?
7. Can Madison Metro use electric buses in Monona instead of diesel buses?
8. Is Monona going to be locked into a long-term contract with Madison Metro or with our current provider - First Student - dependent on the decision Monona makes now?
9. I’m concerned about safety. What training, safety protocols and records do Madison Metro and Monona Express and Lift (First Student) have in place?
10. Schedules can change or buses can be delayed. Under the current and proposed services, can I track the bus I need in real time?
11. Under the current and proposed services, can I use a credit card to buy a pass or a ticket?
12. How much do each of the bus services cost for adults, seniors and students?
13. Does Monona Express, Lift or Madison Metro have a bus Pass Program for UW or other employers?
14. I understand that Monona used to have Madison Metro servicing its transit needs, including stops in the neighborhoods. Why did the City switch to offering our own?
15. What is the current route of the Monona Express?
16. What routes are being proposed by Madison Metro to serve all or part of Monona?
17. Will it take longer to get downtown or to campus on Madison Metro than it does on Monona Express?
18. How many transfers will be required by Monona Express or Madison Metro to get to some key spots around town?
19. What is the current route, process for scheduling, and availability for Monona Lift?
20. What is the process for scheduling rides on Madison Paratransit?
21. I’ve heard that it is hard to get approved for Paratransit. How many seniors or others are denied access?
22. There is no approval process for the Monona Lift. What if I don’t have a condition that qualifies for Metro Paratransit but I still need bus service?
23. Do seniors or others have to take a physical to qualify for Madison Paratransit?
24. I depend on Monona Lift to get me around town. Where can Madison Paratransit take me?
25. What will my transit options be if we switch to Madison Metro and I just need to go to the grocery store or some other service nearby?
26. Does Madison Metro use big buses for Paratransit?