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La Crosse transit starts replacing fleet, seeks to educate public

Kaitlyn Riley

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The city of La Crosse will unveil four new buses Wednesday. Electric buses could be in the city's near future.

La Crosse Transit drove towards environmental change Monday when four new buses hit the road. In total, the city plans to replace its outdated fleet with 11 new buses within the next few years.

“They are better on the environment,” transit manager Adam Lorentz said. “The buses are clean diesel compared to the old ones that we have which are regular diesel. They give an easier, enhanced ridership. It makes it more accessible for people. Obviously, they don’t have the same smells. They’re quieter. They are more reliable. There is less maintenance cost.”

Lorentz said the word transportation carries heavy weight when talking about having safe, reliable roads that do not cause issues in the community.

“A lot of those can be eliminated with the use of mass transit,” Lorentz said. “You think of 1,000 cars going up and down the road every single day which are single occupant vehicles, compared to everybody boarding a bus which is going into one vehicle.”

The wheels of those buses are going round to the community this week as part of Transportation Week of Action. Events are being hosted by the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation, Coulee Region Sierra Club and La Cross Area Transit Advocates to help educate the public about the municipal transit system. They hope to help guide people who have questions about reading bus routes or using the transit app. Lorentz said they are trying to engage the public to learn how they can better serve the area.

“The stigma in the past for transit is that it is just for people who have to have it,” Lorentz said. “They don’t have a vehicle or are unable to drive. That’s just not the case. If you look at any major community, the focal point of their community is always transit. Everybody always has the right to be part of their community. Transportation allows people to have that.”

The events for the week are as follows:

Tuesday, July 9: Party in the Park, 5:30-8:00 p.m. at Poage Park with free MTU bus tours
Wednesday, July 10: Love our Transit Open House, 4-6:00 p.m. At Grand River Station Transit Center (new buses will be unveiled.)
Sunday, July 14: Share your transit story, 12-2:00 p.m. At Grant River Station Transit Center.