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Posts in Category: Good Question

Bus Express Bus Fares Good Question Light Rail

Good Question: Why does it cost more to ride during rush hour? 

| Tuesday, August 06, 2013 3:43:00 PM

This week’s Good Question comes from Sarah Graves (@sarahteal), who asked: Why does it cost more to ride during rush hour?

In the Twin Cities metro, transit fares are lower during off-peak hours to encourage transit use throughout the entire day and balance the demand for buses, drivers and related support. Currently, about half of Metro Transit ridership occurs during rush hours.

Since 2008, non-rush hour fares have been $1.75 on local bus routes, the METRO Blue Line and the METRO Red Line. This is 50 cents lower than $2.25 the rush hour fares in effect during the peak commuter travel periods of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. each weekday. Fares on those express bus trips that operate during rush hours are 75 cents lower during non-rush hours ($2.25 instead of $3).

Separate fares for rush hour and non-rush hour periods have been in place at Metro Transit since 1982 and are not uncommon among U.S. transit agencies. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit and King County Metro Transit, in Seattle, are among the agencies that offer reduced price fares during non-rush hour periods.  

The Metropolitan Council is responsible for establishing the fare policy and rates for all regional transit service. The agency regularly reviews fare structure and policies based on factors such as demographic trends, technology and shifts in methods of fare payment. A number of new fare tools have been introduced in recent years such as the Student Pass, 7-Day Pass. Auto Refill and advance sales of the Northstar Family Pass are other examples of how technology has changed fare payment.

> Metro Transit fares

> The proof is in the payment

> Go-To Cards used to pay fares at record rate

Have a ‘Good Question’? Email it to goodquestion@metrotransit.org.

Bus Good Question

Good Question: Why is there no Route 1? 

| Thursday, August 01, 2013 9:30:00 AM

There’s a Route 2. There are also routes 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. But there is no Route 1. Why? Good question.                      

Steve Legler, Metro Transit's assistant director of Service Development, believes the answer goes back to the mid-1950s, when Twin City Lines began numbering routes following the conversion from unnumbered streetcars to buses. At that time, the Route 1 moniker went to an infrequent route that ran between Bryn Mawr and northeast Minneapolis.

Bryn Mawr later was served by Route 9 while Route 1 began running to south Minneapolis. More service changes that took place 15 years ago led Route 1 to be renumbered as Route 25. Legler remembers that decision came because the Route 1 label inferred an importance its ridership didn’t necessarily support.

At the time, he says, planners suggested renumbering popular Route 16 as Route 1, but decided against it, believing there would be confusion and that it could be difficult to distinguish on overhead signs.

The Route 1 void has persisted ever since. Why it hasn’t been affixed to any service – or may never be – is a good question for which there is no clear answer.

One theory promoted by Manager of Route Planning Cyndi Harper: its implied status renders it unusable. Like parents with multiple children, she says, all of Metro Transit’s routes are loved equally!

Have a ‘Good Question’? Email it to goodquestion@metrotransit.org.

> WCCO's Jason DeRusha tackles a viewer's Good Question about the numbering of bus routes

Bus Good Question Light Rail Promotions

Good Question: Why are free rides offered to some events? 

| Tuesday, February 26, 2013 3:42:00 PM

With St. Patrick's Day around the corner and basketball and hockey seasons underway, customers have asked us about Metro Transit's free ride promotions.

Minnesota Wild bus light rail Metro TransitWe partner with organizations and events throughout the year to provide free trial rides in exchange for advertising and promotional opportunities. For instance, Metro Transit’s partnership with the Minnesota Timberwolves offers fans with game-day tickets free rides on buses and trains before and after games. In exchange, Metro Transit receives a valuable advertising package that promotes public transportation to fans before they get to the arena and also during games at Target Center.

Factors considered for selecting events and partnerships include the amount of value received in exchange for rides, minimum ride and attendance projections, transit service levels to the event and partnerships that are aligned with Metro Transit’s Mission Statement and Guiding Principles.

Promotions are a great way to get to know us!

Graphic promotion for TimberwolvesThe free rides are generally redeemable with a downloadable pass that is shown to bus drivers or Transit Police officers. We ask customers to answer a couple of questions before they download their pass. Last year, about 80 percent of those downloading passes said they had never tried transit or had only used it occasionally, and 75 percent said the free rides made them more likely to attend the event.

Miller Lite Free Rides promotions during St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Eve are different because rides are paid for directly by MillerCoors Brewing. In 2012, there were about 89,000 free rides given to customers during these annual programs.

Free trial rides offered through promotions or partnerships total about 0.3 percent of total annual ridership. 

Similar to sampling programs popular in the private sector (for example, free food samples in grocery stores), these trial rides provide easy opportunities for event goers to try transit. Our customer research shows that once people try buses and trains, they overwhelmingly have a good experience (90 percent) and are likely to refer our service to friends and family (95 percent). Sporting events are targeted because surveys show that fans who normally don’t take transit are willing to try it to games and then continue riding to other events. 

> See Metro Transit's Event Calendar for upcoming promotions and events

> Star Tribune: Try before you ride: free rides on the Red Line

Bus Good Question Light Rail Rider Information Winter Weather

Good Question: How does Metro Transit prioritize winter storm cleanup? 

| Thursday, February 21, 2013 10:49:00 AM

When winter weather hits, customers often ask us how Metro Transit organizes snow clearance.

photo metro transit bus in snow

 

Prioritizing the Metro Transit To-Do List

With a modest staff and large winter storm workload, snow clearance is prioritized to keep the transit system moving and safe. For a comprehensive description, visit Metro Transit's snow removal procedures.

Priority #1 – Operations

  • Clear the way for trains and buses by servicing bus garages, rail yards and support facilities. No one will be moving if our buses and trains are snowed in. 
  • Plow bus roadway at park-and-ride lots and transit centers and areas where buses layover or turn around. If a bus gets stuck, it takes a lot more than a friend to help push it out.
  • If there is a lot of a snow accumulation, plow the light rail track area.
     

Priority #2 – Passenger Movement

  • Clear snow and ice from customer areas with the highest activity including light-rail stations, Northstar stations, transit centers and park-and-ride lots. 
  • In very heavy snowfalls, clearing passenger paths is done in two stages. First, crews will clear walkways to bus loading areas and the edges on rail platforms, returning later to complete the work.photo transit center winter
 

Priority #3 – Customers with Limited Mobility

  • Clear snow and ice from customer areas that have high use by limited mobility customers. Metro Transit is able to track this information by reviewing data where those paying fares with limited mobility Go-To Cards are boarding. 
 

Priority #4 – Customer-Waiting Shelters

  • Clear the 700 Metro Transit-owned customer-waiting shelters throughout the seven-county metro area.
  • Remove snow and ice within a 6-foot radius of the Metro Transit-owned shelter.
  • Shovel a 4-foot-wide path from the curb through the plowed snow on the road side to provide a clear path for loading and unloading.
 

Priority #5 – Revisit and Groom

  • Continue to revisit areas to plow, chip ice and shovel out paths from the curb for bus loading and unloading. 
     

Partnerships are Key in Keeping Transit System Moving

 

Park & Rides, Bus Stops and Transit Centers

Not all bus stops and transit facilities are maintained by Metro Transit. Other transit agencies also maintain bus service, bus stops, transit stations and park-and-ride facilities.

Here is contact information for providers other than Metro Transit.

Clearing Sidewalks 

Clearing snow and ice from sidewalks is the responsibility of the property owner adjacent to the sidewalk. Many cities require snow and ice to be removed to bare concrete from back of sidewalk to curb within 24 hours of accumulation.

Each city has it own policy on snow removal:

Bus Shelters

Shelters or benches with advertising on them are not maintained by Metro Transit (except for Marquette & 2nd avenues in downtown Minneapolis). Shelters and benches with advertising are owned by private companies that are responsible for their maintenance. 

photo bus shelter not owned by metro transit   photo metro transit bus shelter
Maintenance of shelters with advertising is not the responsibility of Metro Transit.    Snow clearance and maintenance of Metro Transit shelters are performed by Metro Transit staff.
     

Let Us Know about Winter Cleanup Needs at Metro Transit Facilities

photo of man clearning snow in 1951 in St. Paul

Depending on the severity of winter storms, Metro Transit staff may be required to focus on the first few priorities on our to-do list to ensure that transit operations are maintained. Please be patient as our employees make the rounds to clean up after winter storms and consider conditions following a snowfall that may further hinder cleanup progress, such as freezing rain and drifting snow. 

Metro Transit wants to hear from customers if problems persist at particular locations following a snowfall. Please call Customer relations at 612-373-3333, option 3, or use the online contact form. If cleanup is needed at a Metro Transit location, we send crews to address the issue. If the cleanup needed is on property managed by a different municipality, agency or private shelter company, we will pass along the cleanup request.

 

Photo left: Snow is nothing new to our transit system. Pictured left a man clears a sidewalk in front of his business as a streetcar filled with passengers goes by in the background. Photo taken outside St. Pierre Liquor Store, 256 West Seventh Street, St. Paul, 1951. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society.

 

 

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