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Valley Transit’s connector service celebrates 15 years

Microtransit service continues to support employment in Fox Cities

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October 20, 2022

FOX CITIES – Created through a partnership between Valley Transit, the public transportation service in the Fox Cities, and Fox Valley United Way to help individuals overcome transportation barriers, the VT Connector is celebrating its 15th anniversary.

Ron McDonald, Valley Transit’s general manager, said the supplemental microtransit service, helps fill gaps in the traditional, fixed-route bus service.

Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford said the connector service is yet another area where the local transit system has been ahead of the curve.

“While other communities are just setting up micro and paratransit programs in the wake of the (COVID-19) pandemic, we are celebrating 15 years of providing this essential resource for the Fox Cities,” he said.

Ron McDonald, Valley Transit’s general manager, said though he wasn’t with Valley Transit when the decision was made to launch the services, he’s proud Valley Transit was among the first microtransit services offered in the country.

“I’m glad the Fox Cities had the foresight to get ahead of the curve and be a model to what is out there,” he said. “Micro transit is the new buzzword that’s out there in the transit industry. And, again, I’m proud we’ve been doing this for up to 15 years already in the Fox Cities.”

A win-win-win
Seen as a connector for job seekers, employees and businesses, McDonald said VT Connector’s ridership consists mostly of employment-related destinations.

“Right now, I think it’s more than 90% of ridership,” he said.

McDonald said the connector service provides trips to riders living or working outside of Valley Transit’s regular bus route locations or when transportation is needed before or after normal operating hours of the bus.

“I have one individual that I talked to, he was using the bus to get to work at a large foundry in Neenah,” he said. “He was able to use the bus to get to work, but because of his shift, the bus wasn’t an option for him to get home. So, he used the connector service to get home from work. Without that, he wouldn’t have been able to keep his job.”


Ron McDonald

?McDonald said from its start in 2007 through mid-2021, VT Connector has provided more than 227,000 rides.

He said through information gathered from VT Connector users – 84% of them said they were able to apply for more jobs in outlying areas of the Fox Cities and 75% were successful at obtaining a job because of VT Connector.

“By helping individuals overcome transportation barriers, we are providing an important connection between job seekers, employees and businesses,” McDonald said.

McDonald said the service area for the VT Connector consists of six key transfer points in the Fox Cities.

“The service area basically is from Highway 76 on the west to Hardwood Road on the east, Highway Double J on the north and Highway G and 10 around Lake Winnebago on the south side of it,” he said.

McDonald said VT Connector’s late evening service operates from 10 p.m. to midnight, and its early morning service is from 4-6 a.m.

He said ride fares vary, ranging between $4-$6.

COVID-19 changes
McDonald said interest in the connector service continued for a number of years but took a small dip when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“Things changed for us, but it’s continuing to pick back up again,” he said. “We’re transporting between 1,000-1,200 people a month right now with the connector service. I think COVID changed a lot of how people are looking at things.”

McDonald said the pandemic has prompted other communities to look at connector options as well.

More information on Valley Transit, or its VT Connector service can be found at

Similar options
Green Bay Metro (GBM) Transit launched a similar microtransit service – GBM On Demand – in August 2021 to complement its existing transit infrastructure with shared rides near residential neighborhoods, key transit hubs and designated commercial and medical destinations.

Metro Connection provides on-demand service for customers of all abilities in conjunction with Sheboygan’s fixed-route transit system, Shoreline Metro.

Door County Connect-Public Transit offers a shared-ride taxi service – Door 2 Door Rides – that provides rides throughout much of the county, broken down by zone areas.

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