Express Commuter Bus Service

Express commuter bus service is fixed-route transit service that operates during peak commuting times on routes between the largest city in a metro and a suburb.  The routes are usually longer and have a limited number of stops.  An express commuter bus route between the Capitol Square and Sun Prairie is currently being planned.  The route is slated to open in late August 2019.


Express Commuter Bus Survey

In 2018, the City contracted with UW-River Falls to conduct a scientific survey of residents to determine the demand for commuter bus service.  The final report can be found here.  Key findings from this report include:

  • 47% of residents have interest in commuter bus service
  • 31% of residents with interest in the service would use it 4-5 days per week; 15% 2-3 days
  • Destinations residents wish to reach include Downtown Madison, East Towne Mall, the UW Campus, and Madison College
  • 79% of residents that would take the service currently drive alone to their destination
  • 69% percent of residents would be willing to access the service via car; 61% via walking

Where Would the Route Go?

The exact routing of the express commuter bus is still being planned; however, it is anticipated that the route would provide express service between the Capitol Square and a Sun Prairie park-and-ride.  The service will include a short local “circulator” loop that will operate before reaching the park-and-ride in the mornings and after dropping passengers off at the park-and-ride in the evening.   The local portion of the route is planned to include Grand Avenue, portions of West Main Street, O’Keeffe Avenue, and Reiner Road.  The entire draft route, revised 3/20/19, can be viewed here (simplified schedule).  This route is subject to change.


Why Was This “Circulator” Loop Created?

The circulator loop was created to ensure that the bus could operate at regular, predictable intervals (e.g. 7:30, 8:00, 8:30, etc.)  Because the total route length (out and back) is longer than 60 minutes, the route must be extended to 90 minutes to ensure a regular interval.  Rather than choosing to let the bus idle at a park-and-ride, the City has committed to increasing access to the service by creating a short “circulator” loop.  The specific loop that has been recommended serves more households per mile and has a better configuration for transit service than all other loop routes that were explored.


Express Commuter Bus Resources

Resources related to the coming transit services can be found below: