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Madison - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and County Executive Kathleen Falk were joined today by leaders from the YWCA, United Way and community service providers to announce the creation of "YW Transit." The new transportation service fills the void left by the closure of Women's Transit Authority in 2006.

YW Transit will offer daytime and nighttime transportation services in conjunction with non-profit organizations such as the Domestic Abuse Intervention Service and Mental Health Center of Dane County.

"YW Transit will fill a vital role in providing transportation options for at-risk and underserved members of our community," said Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. "I am grateful for the YWCA's willingness to step forward and offer this important program."

"Women's Transit Authority began as a nighttime ride service for women to get home safely. It was in service for more than three decades and helped countless women. It is good to have this service back in operation," Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said. "And I also welcome the YW Transit as another service in a number of transportation services supported by county taxpayers."

YW Transit is being funded through a partnership between the City of Madison, Dane County and the United Way. For 2007, Madison is providing $89,200 in funding, plus a one-time provision of $43,000 for start-up capital costs such as vehicle purchase. The YWCA is providing $43,000 in matching funds for the capital costs. In addition, Dane County is providing $5,300 for the nighttime service. United Way is providing an additional $20,000.

"We are embarking on this transit program because of our belief that this is a critical service to help prevent sexual assaults and transportation assistance to vulnerable people in our community," said Eileen Mershart, Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA Madison.

After Common Council approval of the YW Transit contract, the service is expected to begin April 1.


  • George Twigg, Mayor's Office, 608-266-4611
  • Joanne Haas, County Executive's Office, 608-267-8823
  • Eileen Mershart, YWCA, 608-257-1436