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RACINE – Starting in February, the Racine Transit System (RYDE) will be directly managed by the City of Racine.

The Racine Common Council on Tuesday evening voted 15-0 on a pair of proposals that will set up the bus system management under a new City Department of Transportation and to have the city assume the existing three-year labor agreement with Teamsters Union Local 200. The move affects about 90 employees.

The management change became necessary when First Transit, a private company that has managed the city transit system since 2010 opted not to renew its contract with the city. City officials were unable to find a replacement management firm. The First Transit contract is set to expire on Jan. 31.

The move was described by both Transit Director Trevor Jung and Mayor Cory Mason as “revenue neutral” because the 2022 city budget already included $200,000 to pay a private firm to manage the RYDE Racine system.

Willie McDonald, RYDE Racine general manager, will join the city in the same role. He has been a First Transit employee.

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, Mason and Teamsters Local 200 issued a news release encouraging the Common Council to approve the proposals. They stated that the planned solution would ensure no disruption in city bus service.

Mayor’s Statement

At a time when many are employers are fighting against unionization in the workplace, I am proud to honor the contract that the Teamsters negotiated in good faith and to recognize the transit workers’ desire to be represented by the Union. I come from a labor background. When I served in the Legislature, I fought to protect labor unions during the Act 10 battle. Transit workers are some of the few workers that retain legal authority to collectively bargain.

Many of our transit employees are City residents, who know this City and our residents like the backs of their hands, and I’m glad and grateful to be able to bring these unionized workers into the City’s workforce. I want to thank Tom Bennett from Local 200 for working with us and his members to make this a smooth transition. Our residents who rely on the RYDE system for transportation won’t notice anything different in terms of their bus service, but this is an important and exciting transition for us internally.

Cory Mason, Mayor, City of Racine

Union Secretary/Treasurer’s Statement

The City of Racine has set a course to proactively serve the community with a strategic plan to manage the RYDE public transit system in the near future. With the approval by the City Alders, the foresight by the City shall create opportunities for not only those that utilize the public transit system, but to secure a sound environment for the current and future Bus Operators and Employees of RYDE. Our organization and its members are excited to be part of this new path the City of Racine is undertaking.

Tom Bennett, Teamsters Local 200 secretary/treasurer

About RYDE

RYDE Hours of Operation
Monday – Friday:5 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday:5:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.        
Sunday:9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

With 10 different bus routes, RYDE is well-equipped to get passengers to their destinations. Click here to view the RYDE bus route maps.

Office hours are Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For inquiries, call: 262-637-9000, or go online to the City of Racine’s website – RYDE section.

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...