News and Updates

April 10, 2024 News

RNC will require about 400 buses, a key part of Milwaukee experience

About 400 extra buses will be cruising around the Milwaukee area when the Republican National Convention comes to downtown this July.

The transportation system for the July 15-18 event includes buses and shuttles plus golf carts and minibuses.

"Transportation is a key component of delegate and guest experience for a national convention of this size," said Elise Dickens, the chief executive officer for the Republican National Committee team that's organizing the event. "We have to move upwards of 50,000 guests throughout the week, so transportation is key to get our guests moved around from hotels and to the convention complex sites safely and securely."

Less than a half mile separates the downtown Baird Center from the Fiserv Forum, the bookends of the RNC venue "complex" with the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena in between. Convention hotels will be located in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Brookfield, Racine, Kenosha, Lake Geneva, the Sheboygan area and downtown Madison, the Journal Sentinel previously reported.

About a third of the bus fleet dubbed the "GOP Express" will come from Wisconsin, Dickens said.

Leading the effort to source vehicles is Transportation Management Services, which according to a statement from President Mike Moulton has provided services for five of the last six Republican National Conventions. The company will use as many local and regional vendors as possible, he said.

Among the local companies is Oak Creek-based GO Riteway Transportation Group.

Brad Wallace, the company's director of sales and marketing, said the company has set aside more than 50 vehicles for the event. Most of them are full-sized motor coaches and some are mini coaches.

The buses will be used primarily for delegate transportation during the RNC, but the company will also help Transportation Management Services and the RNC host committee with transportation needs before and after the four-day event, he said.

Ahead of time, buses will be on the road so drivers can practice the routes they'll be taking with delegates on board. Those dry runs are necessary to ensure that the routes that may have been planned months or a year in advance are still open and the best option, he said.

He also expected a component of taking visitors to and from airports.

He estimated 75% to 80% of the GO Riteway drivers for the RNC will be locals.

The company has invested more than $2 million this year in technology, fleet improvements and recruiting and training in preparation for the RNC and other events the company is expecting to take place in Milwaukee in the coming months and years because of the convention's international spotlight on the city, he said.