Type of Jurisdictions Involved
Specific Jurisdictions Involved
- La Crosse County;
- Vernon County;
- Crawford County;
- City of Prairie du Chien
Others involved in planning, development, and administration include:
- Wisconsin Department of Transportation;
- City of Prairie du Chien;
- Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission;
- Running, Inc. Transit Services;
- Federal Transit Administration;
- Gundersen Lutheran Health System;
- Organic Valley;
- Vernon Memorial Healthcare;
- Dairyland Power
Type of Agreement
Shared service delivery - regional transit system
Implementation and Incubation
Southwest Wisconsin is a rugged, sparsely populated area with small Towns set far apart amidst the driftless region of this part of the state and along the banks of the Mississippi River. Rural county roads connect centers of population in the area. The large cities of Viroqua, Prairie du Chien, and especially La Crosse are the primary centers of employment, commerce, education, medical, and other needs and services in the region. Individuals are often forced to travel long distances to access these resources. Transportation limitations exist, especially for the elderly, disabled, and low-income population.
County and municipal officials have attempted to meet the demand for public transportation with county-run mini-bus systems, volunteer drivey programs, and coordination with local and regional taxi services.
The Crawford County Transportation Coordination Committee, in collaboration with officials from Vernon and La Crosse Counties, and with grant funding from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, conducted a commuter bus feasibility in 2010 to determine the feasibility of a regular and reliable commuter bus service in the region geared toward employees, but serving other users as well.
This service would also be designed to supplement the existing transportation provisions available for the elderly and disabled community, and those with other specific transportation needs.
A consultant was hired by the City of Prairie du Chien and the Crawford County TCC to conduct this feasibility study, assessing potential routes, costs, and ridership. Following completion of the study, the TCC was able to secure Supplemental Rural Transit Assistance Program (STRAP) funds from the Federal Transit Administration to help operate the service.
County and municipal officials in the region have long recognized the transportation limitations in the region, and the difficulty for individuals getting to jobs, medical appointments, and other destinations. Transportation limitations are especially profound for the elderly, disabled, and low-income population in the region where single-occupancy vehicle travel is near impossible.
Enhanced transportation and mobility for commuting, medical, personal, and other trips in Southwestern Wisconsin, and area with transportation limitations and the demand for public transportation options.
Running, Inc. Transit Services will operate the system using extended passenger vans. The service is called the Scenic Mississippi River Transit.
Three routes will operate Monday through Friday, with four round trips per day. All trips are $3.00 one way.
The blue and yellow routes will operate opposite of each other and will serve Viroqua, Westby, Coon Valley, La Crosse, Stoddard, and Genoa in Vernon and La Crosse Counties.
The red route will operate back and forth between Viroqua and Prairie du Chien in Vernon and Crawford Counties, with stops in Readstown, Soldiers Grove, Gays Mills, Mt. Sterling, Seneca, and Eastman.
Peter Fletcher, Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission
Lynda Wilke, Vernon County
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