Grand Rapids to Milwaukee By Transit

Plotting out a trip from Grand Rapids to Milwaukee by transit is an interesting experience. It clearly illustrates the two primary issues with American transportation services and companies:

  1. Isolation. Transit service providers ignore each other. Other than at "multimodal" stations, such as a transit center, there is no mention of adjacent or connecting transportation services. MATS (Muskegon Area Transit Service) fails to mention connectivity to the ferry. The Lake Express ferry service fails to mention connectivity to MATS route#10. To add insult to injury maps of Muskegon do no include transit stop information, and the only available maps on the MATS website are images or PDFs; not even a nearest-stop finder.
  2. Frequency. In this test case it wouldn't take much more in terms of frequency to beat driving point-to-point. 53% of the trip - a total of 237 minutes - will be spent waiting. Just cutting that value in half would make transit notably faster than driving.

The Trip

Total time: 440 minutes. Wait Time: 237 minutes (53% of trip) vs. Driving: -140 minutes (300 minute estimate)

The frequency problem needs to be addressed. But the isolation problem could be fixed quickly and for very little cost. The isolation problem cannot be ignored as merely a convenience problem - it was challenging to figure this out. It is unreasonable to expect people to try that hard.