Popular service will continue to use Saukville lot
The Summerfest bus stop in Saukville has been saved.
Ozaukee County’s Public Works Committee last week agreed to keep the bus stop after getting input from the manager of one of the businesses that would have been affected if it was discontinued.
If eliminated, the county’s only stop for a bus to the world’s largest music festival would have been at the Home Depot and Target parking lot in Grafton.
Transit Supt. Jason Wittek told the committee he talked to the manager of Home Depot and “it went about as well as I thought.”
Wittek said the manager told him he did not like the idea of occupying the extra riders in his parking lot during late June and early July since the Fourth of July is one of the peak times for the big-box retailer.
Of riders using the Ozaukee County service, 63% use the Target and Home Depot lot. The parking capacity of the combined lot is about 900 spaces. The Walmart stop in Saukville has 500.
Wittek said he estimated an additional 200 parking spaces at the Grafton stop could be occupied if the Saukville stop was eliminated.
“If I told him 50 spaces, I don’t think he would go for that either,” Wittek said.
Committee member LeRoy Haeuser suggested respecting the manager’s wishes.
“Our businesses pay a lot of taxes,” he said.
Wittek said he hadn’t yet contacted the manager of Target.
Eliminating the Saukville stop would have saved the county an estimated $26,000.
At the committee’s meeting in December, Wittek said that if the Saukville stop was eliminated, Summerfest buses would have stopped in Grafton every 15 minutes instead of every 20.
In Wittek’s report to the committee, the Milwaukee County Transit System, which operates the bus, said eliminating the Saukville stop would streamline service while decreasing costs, increasing bus frequency and shortening ride times.
Due to the popularity of the service, MCTS had provided paid staff at both stops to help with payment and boarding. An online ticket purchase system implemented last year helped reduce costs.
Operating costs and maintenance for the two-stop service last year totaled $126,500, which was offset by $87,000 in ridership fees. That left the county paying MCTS $39,500.