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Paratransit driver shortage, Milwaukee County riders frustrated

A disabled woman was left waiting for hours, and another kept missing appointments, all because they could not get a ride with Milwaukee County‘s contracted paratransit company.

Emily Cadman and her service dog, Venus, go everywhere together. That used to include her bus ride to work, but lately, she said she can’t rely on the county’s bus service anymore.

“I would be late for appointments, I would constantly be waiting,” she said.

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Cadman works at Independence First, a social services organization that serves people with disabilities. 

“Paratransit is super imperative to our lives in order to function and live like everyone else,” she said. “I’m lucky enough to have support that I need to get around, but not everyone is that lucky.” 

Julie Alexander has ridden the paratransit bus for a long time, but a few weeks ago, she says she waited three hours to be picked up from work. She’s one of many frustrated riders.

“I haven’t really taken it since then,” she said. “I feel for the transit company right now, but it’s really frustrating for the rider though.” 

FOX6 News went to the county’s paratransit provider, Transdev, to ask what’s going on. The general manager, Brian Kading, said a lack of staffing is the reason for the issues. 

“We are aware of the need for additional drivers, and we’re doing everything in our power to recruit and bring them on as quickly as possible,” said Kading.

Transdev has 75 drivers right now and is looking to hire another 30. 

“You need to be a caring person, concern and respect to the disabled community, and want to provide an essential service,” Kading said.

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Paratransit buses are non-CDL vehicles – meaning they are easier to drive and get trained on. Wages start at $19-$21 per hour.

If you would like to apply for a drivers position, you can do so online or attend a job fair at Transdev’s office – 4524 S. 13th St. – later on this month:

  • Sept. 21, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 26, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


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