© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Milwaukee County Transit says first battery electric bus back on BRT route

This Wauwatosa charging station for battery electric buses on the BRT will apparently go unused until October, when the buses start returning to service.
Chuck Quirmbach
This is a charging station for battery electric buses on the BRT in Wauwatosa.

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) says starting Tuesday, September 26 battery electric buses will return to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Connect 1 line one at a time as each battery is replaced.

The buses were only used on the line between downtown Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center from early June through late August.

The battery electric buses were removed from service in August, after Nova Bus, the manufacturer, recalled the batteries. Nova Bus told the transit system of a potential problem with how the batteries were installed at the factory.

Clean diesel buses continued BRT service while the batteries are being replaced. Nova Bus, which is part of the Volvo Group, has issued all new batteries at no charge to MCTS, as the buses remain under warranty.

MCTS says all battery electric buses taken out of service should be back on the street by late November.

System official David Locher told the Milwaukee County Transportation and Transit Committee earlier this month that MCTS decided to take the nine electric buses out of service because the BRT is so high-profile.

"Recalls are fairly routine, you know, regardless of what part it is. But when you are talking about something that is sensitive from a media standpoint, as the batteries, even though the possibility of any kind of event tied to the battery is very, very remote, perception is reality and we did not want to spook anybody," Locher said.

In addition, two new battery electric buses have arrived, bringing the total number serving the BRT to 11. The two vehicles will go into service on Thursday, September 28. The next four electric buses on order to complete the fleet of 15 are expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2024.

MCTS also recently announced that due to a supply chain issue, the pre-board payment equipment on BRT platforms has been delayed. Riders can continue to ride the Connect free into early 2024, until the new pre-board payment validators are installed.

Related Content