MILWAUKEE (January 11, 2024) — FlexRide Milwaukee has completed its 50,000th ride, as it continues to deliver on its mission of connecting Milwaukee workers to suburban jobs out of the reach of public transit.
The on-demand transportation service is celebrating the milestone on January 12 by offering Milwaukee residents free rides to FlexRide employment zones in Franklin, Oak Creek, New Berlin and Menomonee Falls. Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson has also declared January 11 “FlexRide Milwaukee Day” in the city.
“We are proud of the work so many have put in to make FlexRide a reality, and to see its continued growth,” MobiliSE Executive Director Dave Steele said. “We set out to help address a real problem in the region, providing affordable and reliable transportation for Milwaukee residents working or looking to work at employers beyond the reach of transit. We have delivered on that mission – and hope to for years to come.”
FlexRide was launched in 2022 as a pilot study through a National Science Foundation grant won by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning with the support of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. MobiliSE began leading the service in 2023, with financial support from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Milwaukee County, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, and Bader Philanthropies. Additional community partners include Employ Milwaukee, the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS), and the Waukesha County Business Alliance.
FlexRide initially connected riders from Milwaukee’s north and northwest sides with employers in Menomonee Falls and Butler. Backed by a more than $4.2 million Wisconsin Workforce Innovation Grant and more than $1.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding through Milwaukee County, FlexRide added South and West Zones in 2023 and now offers 24-7, weekday service, using a new fleet of branded vehicles.
The additional funding will support FlexRide through 2024. MobiliSE and its partners are working to find sustainable funding for 2025 and beyond.
Lifted by the expanded service, ridership increased significantly in 2023, with FlexRide delivering more than 41,000 rides last year alone. More than 4,000 of those were unique riders, as the service delivered more than 200 per day at times in 2023. Nearly 200 employers were served by FlexRide. FlexRide for Working Parents also launched last fall; the partnership with Employ Milwaukee connects Milwaukeeans with free rides to qualified childcare centers and to work and back.
FlexRide Milwaukee Day
In declaring Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024, FlexRide Milwaukee Day, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson shared a proclamation with FlexRide leaders, writing: “The city of Milwaukee commends FlexRide Milwaukee and all of its partner organizations, employers, riders and drivers in celebrating the service’s 50,000th ride milestone and outstanding contributions to our vibrant community and wishes them continued success.”
Free Rides Promotion
FlexRide is also offering free rides to and from work or job interviews for all existing and new users on Friday, January 12. To access the free rides, Milwaukee residents can download the app and book rides between existing North, South and West Neighborhood and Employment Zones. The discount will be automatically applied.
“Milwaukee County is a proud partner with FlexRide Milwaukee in expanding job connections and transit options for workers and commuters across our region. We worked together to deploy smart investments that are supporting this effort, meeting community needs, and helping advance our vision to achieve race and health equity in Milwaukee County. Congratulations to FlexRide Milwaukee, MobiliSE, and all of its partners on this major milestone, and I look forward to celebrating many more successes in the years ahead.” – Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley
“The lack of affordable and reliable transportation options in many suburban areas, as well as in urban areas with limited access to public transportation, acts as a barrier to employment opportunities and economic stability. FlexRide has provided a new option for Milwaukee workers that is convenient and reliable, and we are proud to be a partner.” – Chytania Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer
Milwaukee County Transit System
“FlexRide has done an excellent job of helping riders by closing the first- and last-mile gaps in transit in our region. MCTS has been a partner of FlexRide from the start and congratulates them on achieving this significant milestone. We can’t wait to see what’s next as we both continue to modernize transportation in southeastern Wisconsin.” – Denise Wandke, President and Managing Director
Waukesha County Business Alliance
“The Alliance has been proud to be a partner in the success of FlexRide since its launch, and it is incredible to celebrate the milestone of 50,000 completed rides. This flexible, on-demand transportation service is providing a workforce solution by connecting employees with jobs. We look forward to the continued growth of the program in our region.” – Amanda Payne, Senior Vice President
FlexRide is operated by Via and overseen by MobiliSE, which is committed to using innovative transportation solutions to create a more equitable and connected city for all. For more information, please visit: https://www.flexridemke.com/ and https://www.mobilisewi.org/.