Public transportation is often the target of complaints. Usually because it is not on schedule. Or the arduous task of connecting with one service and the next. For example, on the East Coast, if the red line bus was five minutes late that meant that you would miss the green line bus at the transit center and have to wait 30 minutes to an hour to get to work. Or continue on foot.
But the Milwaukee street car, The Hop, remains consistently on time. At least that is my experience. For commuters traveling into the city from the south, it is convenient to exit the train station walk across the street and around the corner to catch a ride on The Hop. From there the street car delivers commuters to Historic Third Ward and East Town stops within 5 to 15 minutes.
The cost of commuting by train and street car is the same and sometimes less than the cost of commuting by automobile. And no need to hunt for expensive parking solutions. Avoiding the danger and hassle of traffic congestion on the interstate is a bonus. Especially during unfavorable weather conditions. The train has WiFi and outlets allowing commuters to work while they ride. And, for people like me who prefer no-Fi, the train has a quiet car (like library quiet) for commuters.
There are some downsides. If the first train is late or delayed in some way, commuters have to wait two hours or more for the second train. A difference of starting work at eight o’clock or ten o’clock. One commuter bemoaned the fact that she would like a train that came in from the west, or that connected Madison and Milwaukee. Maybe that will happen someday. Maybe people will see the advantage of commuting by train.
Most days when I commute by rail, train cars are comfortably full. By that I mean, each row has four seats separated by an aisle. Many choose a seat by the window. Like myself. On rare occasions I shared the two seats with another commuter. Similarly, the street car is modestly full during commutes to work. Did I mention that both the train and street car are heated? A wonderful feature for Wisconsin winters.
Public transportation can be a nightmarish hassle. And some days it still is. But for the most part, the Milwaukee rail services, train and street car, are relatively free of stress.