Innovation Express service schedule for 2014 takes a 23 percent cut
JANESVILLE — The Janesville-Milton-Whitewater Innovation Express will take about a 23 percent cut in services starting Thursday, Jan. 2.
The decision to reduce services comes after sponsors were unable to make up the difference after losing the financial support of a non-renewable Wisconsin Department of Transportation grant. The grant covered 67 percent of the program's cost.
“The trips that support employee access to jobs in Milton and Whitewater and student travel to UW-W for morning classes will continue as part of the service plan,” Dave Mumma, Janesville Transit System director, said in an email.
Based on available funding and anticipated farebox revenue, the bus service will make 23 round trips per week during the school year in 2014. When school is not in session it will drop to 16 round trips per week.
This year, the bus service made 30 trips per week, with five round trips per weekday, three on Saturdays and two on Sundays. But because sponsors were unable to come up with the estimated $395,000 in operational costs to keep the same level of service for 2014, reductions had to be made.
During the school year, the 2014 services include four round trips per weekday, two on Saturday and one on Sunday. The two Saturday services are funded by a donation from UW-Whitewater's Residence Hall Association. Additional Fall services will be added for Milton and its new Blackhawk Technical College.
During the summer months, the service will offer three round trips per weekday and one on Sunday.
Milton Mayor Brett Frazier is pleased with plans that maintain the services offered in his community.
“Milton is concerned about Milton,” Frazier said. “We want to be a part of the regional service, but our priority is preserving that service for the city of Milton.”
The Innovation Express bus service began in April 2012 at the request of Generac to improve access to public transportation for employees from outside Whitewater.
Milton, Whitewater, UW-Whitewater and Generac fund the service. Janesville Transit Services provides equipment, maintenance and administrative services.
In November, the city of Whitewater and Generac Power Systems in Whitewater said they would fund less money for the coming year's service than had been requested by JTS.
The Whitewater City Council voted to provide $12,000 in funding for the service, about $6,000 less than what was requested. Generac is providing $18,000, which is about $30,000 short of what was requested.
Milton provided about $15,000 for 2013 and is providing the requested $27,000 for 2014.
Historically, UW-W matches the city of Whitewater's funding. Frazier said this has not changed.
All service times have been determined with the exception of Saturday services and fall services for Milton and Blackhawk Technical College.
The goal is to align Saturday trips with the needs of UW-Whitewater students. A definitive decision should be made after students return from winter break, Mumma said. For now, the bus will have 12:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Saturday departures from Janesville.