Frequently Asked Questions

Click a question for the answer

How do I know if I am eligible to use B.O.S.S.?
Since B.O.S.S. is funded solely through student segregated fees as part of their tuition, B.O.S.S. can only be utilized by current UWM students who are assessed student segregated fees. This can be a little complicated to explain, but generally as long as you are taking a class on campus you are eligible to use B.O.S.S. This means that students taking online classes or faculty members are not eligible to use B.O.S.S.

We verify this by checking a student’s ID.

For more information regarding segregated fees, visit the Bursar’s Office.

How many people can a B.O.S.S. van take?
Each B.O.S.S. van can take up to six passengers. We attempt to group multiple calls together as much as possible to decrease the wait time for all passengers and improve the responsiveness of the service.

Please note that our A.D.A. accessible van’s capacity is limited to one person in use of a mobility device and one additional passenger not in use of a mobility device.

Why can’t I get through when I call in?
During high traffic times you may get a busy signal. We have a limited number of lines, but our dispatchers are constantly taking calls. Hang up and call back until you hear the prompt.

Once you hear the hold music, don’t hang up!! You are in line to speak with a dispatcher and your call will be answered in the order it was received.

How do I cancel my ride request over the phone?
You can call us just like you did to get your ride, but hit ‘1’ instead of ‘3’ at the prompt, which will bring you to a separate line which is used to cancel rides. The cancel line is automatically placed at the top of the queue, so you won’t have to wait on hold for a long period of time. The simple act of calling in to cancel gives us 20 minutes back, which can keep wait times low for other callers.
Can I bring a guest with me?
Yes. Current students are allowed to bring 1 guest with them. The student is responsible for the guest’s behavior and well-being while using the service. Any violation of B.O.S.S. or University policies including applicable laws may result in denial of service for the student, guest or both.
Can I bring a child as a guest?
Minors are not allowed in B.O.S.S. vans under any circumstances.
Is B.O.S.S. a cab service?
No, B.O.S.S. is not a cab service. We are a safety service as part of the University’s commitment to safety. Cab services operate for profit, we do not. Our focus is also not on speedy service. Our focus is to transport as many students as possible in a safe manner, preventing unsafe situations from arising.
Is B.O.S.S. an emergency safety service?
No. If you are ever in immediate danger you must call 911. To reach the UW-Milwaukee Police using a phone located on campus, dial 9-911. On personal phones dial (414) 229-9911.

We are neither trained nor equipped to deal with a situation that is already dangerous. Our goal is to keep you safe from potential harm. If you feel threatened contact law enforcement immediately.

How long does it take to get a ride?
We do our best to give everyone a ride in the order that the request was received. With a service that is provided at no cost at point of service, B.O.S.S. transports between 600 and 800 students per night during the school year. Besides the volume of demand, there is traffic, vehicle issues, staffing, and weather that all play into our ability to operate.

The average wait time for a ride is 15-25 minutes. It is not uncommon on busy nights for wait times to exceed 45-60 minutes, so we suggest you keep alternative transportation methods in mind. Check out our Transit Resources page for a few suggestions.

It is highly recommended you do not wait until closing time to request a ride. Your chances of not getting through on the phone increase the closer to closing time you call. We are not responsible if you have to walk home alone, but we can help to prevent it.

Can I get a ride from the UWM Union?
Yes! You definitely can get a ride from the Union, but make sure to follow proper Union procedure.

Riders looking to ride from the UWM Union should not call in. Instead you should check in at our office located in Room WG25 of the Union (Transportation Services office). If the Union is closed, you may call the regular schedule line to request a ride.

We get a high volume of Union requests, and it is more efficient for us to have people check in at the Union instead of calling in. It saves you from having to call in, and it actually makes wait times shorter for everyone!

Can I make a reservation for a ride at a specific time later in the night?
B.O.S.S. strictly sends vans in the order that calls are received. If you don’t need a ride right away, you can call back later. You can always call to check the current wait time, but it frequently changes. It is recommended to begin calling at least 30 minutes before you would like a ride.
I live in the Residence Halls, can I use B.O.S.S?
Yes! B.O.S.S. is funded through student segregated fees, so anyone who is assessed student segregated fees is eligible to use B.O.S.S. This can be a little complicated to explain, but generally as long as you are taking a class on campus you are eligible to use B.O.S.S. For more information regarding segregated fees, visit the Bursar’s Office.

It should be noted that B.O.S.S. does not transport between Residence Halls and campus buildings. The University Prowl Line runs between all 4 major Residence Halls and campus, therefore University Housing residents traveling between campus and the North Avenue area housing locations are required to use the University Prowl Line. B.O.S.S. will refer students to the Prowl Line and will only accommodate these requests if the Prowl Line is not running.

How does B.O.S.S. handle inclement weather?
Weather in Wisconsin in unpredictable and we try to work through all weather. As a general rule, if the University closes due to weather, B.O.S.S. will usually be closed. University closings are announced on the UWM Weather page. In the event that B.O.S.S. does decide to close, announcements will be posted on the B.O.S.S. Facebook page. If we decide to close early, we will do our best to inform callers as well.

As road or weather conditions change, students should be prepared for reduced levels of operation. This can include closing, closing early or limiting requests such as those from campus to home. This decision is made with input from University administrators and the UWM Police Department. If transporting students becomes more dangerous due to weather, we would rather not jeopardize students safety.

Who is B.O.S.S. run by?
B.O.S.S. is proud that the vast majority of its employees are UWM students. There is usually one full-time manager, and anywhere from 55 to 65 student employees.
How is B.O.S.S. funded?
B.O.S.S. is funded through student segregated fees as appropriated by the Student Association. The amount appropriated per student varies from year to year and is determined by the SA.
How many miles does a B.O.S.S. van travel?
As an average, a B.O.S.S. van will travel 30,000 hard earned miles per year, with almost none of it being highway driving and nearly all of it being done on Milwaukee’s congested east side. To put this in perspective, the Earth at the equator is 24,901 miles. Collectively, B.O.S.S. vans travel 255,000 miles per year.
How much fuel does B.O.S.S. go through?
Collectively, B.O.S.S. vans use roughly 100 gallons per night when school is in session. As large as this number is, it is still considerably less than if everyone drove themselves.
How many people does B.O.S.S. transport?
B.O.S.S. typically transports between 600 and 800 students per evening. This number changes with the school calendar. When school is in session, it is not uncommon to transport more than 15,000 students per month.

B.O.S.S. started in the year 2000 and as of Fall 2014, we have transported nearly 1,700,000 students. To put this number in perspective, this would equal:

  • Filling the Bradley Center 90 times
  • Filling Lambeau Field 21 times
  • Filling Miller Park 40 times
  • Filling UWM Panther Arena 134 times
  • More than 300% of the population of Milwaukee
  • More than 30% of the population of Wisconsin
I’m 21 and have a case of beer, can I bring it with?
Since B.O.S.S. vans are owned by the State of Wisconsin, we cannot allow alcohol in the vans. State law dictates that alcohol cannot be present in State owned or rented vans, so even if you are old enough and the drinks aren’t opened, we cannot have it in the van.
Are carry-ons (bags, totes, backpacks, etc) allowed in B.O.S.S. vans?
Carry-ons are permitted only if they fit on your lap. We tend to group calls together in order to reduce wait times and need all the space that is available. The trunk space in the back of the van is strictly forbidden to store carry-ons. If you try to enter the van with more than what can fit in your lap, you may be denied service.
Are pets allowed in B.O.S.S. vans?
No pets are allowed in B.O.S.S. vans unless mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.