New bus route implemented to reduce UW-La Crosse parking congestion

10-minute route circulates between UW-La Crosse and Western Technical College

With construction season still underway and school just picking back up parking around La Crosse is a hot commodity but a new route is expected to free up some of those spots.

Michael Tomkinson, a junior at UW-La Crosse, is new to riding the city bus to school.

“Just one other time last week,” said Tomkinson.

But thanks to a new route, Tomkinson said he just couldn’t let the bus pass him by this time.

“My roommate actually told me about the route so I took advantage,” said Tomkinson.

La Crosse’s Municipal Transit Utility manager hopes more people see it the same way as Tomkinson does because it was designed with students in mind.

“Hoping to get a lot of students to ride the bus and make it more convenient to get to classes … leaving their cars at home and help with parking issues around the campus area,” said Keith Lee, manager of La Crosse’s Municipal Transit Utility.

It’s a 10-minute route that circulates between 7th Street, near Western Technical College, and UWL’s campus.

“You don’t have to worry about the schedule. You just walk out and within 10 minutes another bus should be there,” said Lee.

“We are really excited to see a service like this come around when we are very big advocates of alternative transportation in this area, especially when downtown is so close by,” said Victor Hill, parking and transportation services manager at UWL.

Plus, Hill said, it might encourage prospective students to leave their cars at home.

“This is one more opportunity for them to give some more thought about whether they really need to bring a car to campus,” said Hill.

“I am hoping that it really catches on. If it works we will expand it to go more for the core residential (areas) and extend it all the way to downtown,” said Lee.

But for Tomkinson, the new bus route is enticing enough for him to give it another ride.

“Yeah definitely, especially during the winter months,” said Tomkinson.

The new route runs every 10 minutes from about 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. After that it runs every 20 minutes until 10 p.m.

It’s made possible by the city of La Crosse and federal and state funding. The total cost of the route for an entire year is about $171,000 and of that, the city pays $75,000.

Anyone can ride the bus at a normal fare charge but students from a local college can ride for free when they show their student ID.