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Bus Community METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line State Fair

State Fair, Green Line see record ridership 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, September 07, 2017 4:55:00 PM

Metro Transit served fairgoers and fans on one of its busiest days ever, Thursday, Aug. 31.A record number of fairgoers rode to and from the Minnesota State Fair with Metro Transit and the METRO Green Line had its busiest day ever when the fair and several other events landed on the same day last week.

Metro Transit provided just over 654,000 express and regular route bus rides to the State Fair, topping last year’s record State Fair ridership by just over 21,500 rides. The ridership total accounts for just over 16 percent of State Fair attendance, which also reached an all-time high this year.

“The State Fair’s popularity shows just how eager Minnesotans are to enjoy each other and all our state has to offer,” General Manager Brian Lamb said. “It’s exciting to see that eagerness to come together extend to our buses and trains more and more every year.”

State Fair Express Bus service was offered from 13 Park & Rides throughout the Twin Cities. This was the 25th year Metro Transit provided express bus service to the State Fair. The State Fair ridership total also includes rides provided on several routes that serve the fairgrounds, including the new A Line on Snelling Avenue.

Fairgoers and fans also helped set a single-day ridership record for the Green Line on Thursday, Aug. 31. There were 68,071 Green Line rides taken that day, surpassing a previous-high of 66,018 rides, set on Oct. 3, 2016. 

Systemwide, 358,617 rides were taken on Thursday, Aug. 31, when weekday commuters were joined by fairgoers and fans traveling to Twins, Vikings, Gophers and Saints home games. The total is slightly below the single-day record of 369,626 rides set on Sept. 1, 2016, and is 37 percent higher than the year-to-date average weekday ridership.

The Aug. 31 total also includes 241,000 bus rides, 44,000 Blue Line rides and 5,500 Northstar rides.

See how it all went down in this video. Thanks for riding!

State Fair

Know before you go: Minnesota State Fair 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Tuesday, August 15, 2017 12:22:00 PM

Customers exit Metro Transit express buses at the Minnesota State Fair.Wherever you’re coming from, Metro Transit is the easiest way to get to and from the Minnesota State Fair. Even if you’re an experienced customer, though, there are a few things you should know before heading out for food, fun and farm animals this year.

There’s an app for that 

Customers who use Metro Transit’s new mobile app to purchase State Fair express bus tickets will receive a discount through the end of the State Fair. The best discount is four tickets for $15 – a $5 savings that can be put toward a bucket of Sweet Martha’s or other fair food. The free app can be downloaded through iTunes or Google Play. Round-trip fares – still $5 – can also be purchased for a discount in advance online through opening day or in cash at the time of boarding. As always, parking at Metro Transit’s Park & Ride sites is free!

Traffic? You betcha

The end of summer usually brings relief from road construction. That’s not quite the case this year. Construction on I-94 will affect all traffic coming through downtown Minneapolis from the west metro. To avoid the mess, express buses traveling to and from the I-394 & County Road 73 Park & Ride will travel through the north metro using roadways with bus-only shoulder lanes. Buses traveling to and from the Dunwoody Park & Ride may also be re-routed to avoid congestion. Due to construction in the East Metro, buses serving the Newport and Cottage Grove Park & Rides may also be diverted. Customers who know they want to arrive at a certain time should plan ahead and consider giving themselves extra time. Another date when roads might be a little busier than usual: Thursday, Aug. 31, when the Twins, Vikings, Gophers and Saints all play at home.

We’ve moved!

Due to construction, express buses will no longer be serving the National Sports Center in Blaine. Instead, customers can catch express buses from the 95th Avenue Park & Ride just a few miles east off Interstate 35W. The Park & Ride will remain open to commuters throughout the fair, but with 1,500 available parking spaces there will be room for everyone. One bonus of the new site: covered waiting areas that provide shade and shelter in the event of poor weather.

Stay informed

Metro Transit employees will be out in legion and happy to answer any questions you may have. Before leaving home, though, you may want to review schedule and location information and check Metro Transit’s Twitter feed for service updates (some Park & Rides do reach capacity). You can also find Metro Transit at the Eco Experience and the Grandstand – come say hello!

A Line BRT Bus Community METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Minneapolis St. Paul State Fair

A Line opening sparks curiosity, enthusiasm 

| Tuesday, June 14, 2016 8:38:00 AM

Customers board the A Line at Snelling and University avenues on Saturday, June 11.Car free for the last five years, Michelle Quaranto relies on transit to travel between her home near the Green Line’s Raymond Avenue Station and her job in Eagan.  

So when the A Line opened on Saturday, she was eager to see how her commute would change once she was able to begin using the region’s first rapid bus service.

In the past, Quaranto took Route 84 between the Green Line’s Snelling Avenue Station and the Blue Line’s 46th Street Station. The A Line now offers faster, more frequent service between those two points.

“I really rely on transit to make my life better,” Quaranto said before boarding at Snelling and University avenues shortly after the A Line opened on Saturday, June 11. “Taking light rail to the 84 was usually my quickest option, and now it will be even quicker which is great.”

Several others who ventured out for their inaugural rides on the A Line were similarly excited about its arrival and the impact it would have on their daily travels.           

The first of a dozen planned rapid bus lines, the A Line runs between Rosedale Center and the Blue Line’s 46th Street Station on Snelling Avenue, Ford Parkway and 46th Street. Service runs every ten minutes and trips are up to eight minutes faster than regular route buses.

Trips are sped up through a combination of light-rail like features like off-board fare payments, technology that lets A Line buses request longer green lights at intersections and by locating stations a half-mile apart.

A Line stations also have heat, light, displays with real-time NexTrip transit information and security features more commonly found on light-rail.

“It really is kind of like riding a train,” said North St. Paul resident David Hull as he and his wife Roseanne traveled southbound from Rosedale Center for the first time.

Hull’s family of five shares two vehicles, so he was curious to see if he could relieve some of the demand by taking the A Line and the Blue Line to a new job at the Veteran’s Administration.

Tyler Schow, a downtown Minneapolis resident who frequently rides transit, noticed a difference even before boarding. “My favorite part is that you can see the bus coming from a distance and instead of stopping it just keeps coming,” Schow said.  

Bus operators picking up A Line customers for the first time were also enjoying the ride. “What I like about it is it’s very fluid,” Operator Roosevelt Scott said.           

Others trying out the A Line said it would make them more likely to explore the businesses along the corridor. Rosedale Center, Har Mar Mall, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, Macalester College, Hamline University, Highland Park and Minnehaha Park are among the destinations served by the A line. The site of a planned major league soccer stadium is also located at University and Snelling avenues. 

“I like to explore different areas and this is a great way to do that,” said Onrai Terrell who ventured to the A Line’s opening from Eagan by taking the METRO Red Line, a Bus Rapid Transit service on Cedar Avenue, and the Blue Line.

Ted Davis, of the Midway Chamber of Commerce, touched on the importance of transit in attracting new businesses, workers and residents as he joined others celebrating the A Line’s opening . “This is how we compete on a global scale, by creating the kinds of places people want to come to,” he said.

Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb said a network of rapid bus lines would extend the benefits across the region. A planned network of 12 rapid bus lines on busy urban corridors could ultimately account for a third of Metro Transit’s average weekday ridership.

Construction on the next rapid bus line, the C Line on Penn Avenue, is scheduled to begin in 2018

“If you can’t figure out how to move people and not just vehicles, we’re not going to achieve what we want to achieve in this region,” Lamb said. 


Metro Transit A Line Opening Day

Bus Ridership State Fair

State Fair ridership reaches new high 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Friday, September 11, 2015 11:37:00 AM

Fairgoers board a Metro Transit State Fair Express Bus at the 2015 State Fair.Metro Transit provided 575,348 rides to and from the 2015 Minnesota State Fair — an 8 percent increase over last year and the highest express and regular route ridership ever.

The ride total accounted for 16 percent of State Fair attendance, which reached 1.8 million. The percentage of fairgoers who traveled to the State Fair on Metro Transit was the highest since 2008, when Metro Transit also operated free shuttles to the fairgrounds. 

The highest single-day ridership to this year's State Fair was on Saturday, Aug. 29, when nearly 70,600 rides were provided. 

Almost 90 percent of State Fair ridership was from the 13 free Park & Ride locations where Metro Transit provided State Fair Express Bus Service. Three regular routes — the 3, 61 and 84 — and Route 960 from downtown Minneapolis also served people traveling to the State Fair.

“Riding the bus to the State Fair has become as much a part of the experience as riding the Ferris wheel or eating a Pronto Pup,” General Manager Brian Lamb said. “We thank all those who traveled with us and look forward to continuing the tradition of giving people a fun, safe and convenient way to celebrate the best our state has to offer.”

Metro Transit staff and operators collectively dedicated nearly 15,000 hours to State Fair service during its 12-day run. As always, all operating costs are covered by fares.

The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority reported an 18 percent increase in State Fair ridership, and SouthWest Transit said it, too, set a new record. 

In addition to express and regular route service, Metro Transit staff connected with fairgoers at the Eco Experience building and at a Grandstand booth that focused on a new arterial Bus Rapid Transit line, the A Line. With service on Snelling Avenue, the A Line will connect with the state fairgrounds in 2016.​

    > A city commute in crop art

    > Smaller shelter shown off at State Fair

 

Bus Community Shelters State Fair

Smaller shelter shown off at State Fair 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, September 02, 2015 10:08:00 AM

A student-designed waiting shelter with a reduced footprint and other innovative features is on display at the Minnesota State Fair. A student-designed waiting shelter with a reduced footprint and other innovative features is on display at the Minnesota State Fair. 

The shelter was designed by architecture graduate student Amy Van Gessel as part of a class at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design and School of Architecture. Mechanical engineering graduates Alex Beane and Andrew Frey also assisted in its creation.

Made of steel and recycled plastic, the shelter includes seating, a small tabletop, a bicycle rack and a light that could indicate the next expected bus departure. The shelter is four feet deep and 13-feet long, but can be adapted to site conditions and the expected ridership at a given bus stop.

Van Gessel said the design was partly inspired by a shelter from Paris that serves not just as a waiting area but a gathering space. The shelters include bike-sharing kiosks, lending libraries, tables and a few distinct seating areas.

“In most shelters, the only option is to sit,” Van Gessel said. “This is about providing more personal spaces.”

Fairgoers seeing the shelter outside the Eco Experience building have been struck by the shelter’s bold design but warm up to it on further inspection.

“It looks and feels very different than the traditional shelter, but once that kind of initial confusion wears off and people start kicking the wheels they start opening up and having some good comments and feedback,” said adjunct instructor James Garrett Jr, AIA, who led the design class. 

Garrett Jr. is the owner of St. Paul-based 4RM+ULA, which helped design stations on the METRO Green Line and Target Field Station.

Metro Transit’s Engineering & Facilities department challenged students in Garrett’s class to design a shelter that could be used in areas with space constraints and would be powered without a utility connection. Solar panels atop the shelter provide power for the shelter.

The student’s work and input received at the State Fair will help inform future shelter plans.

Metro Transit is installing 30 shelters at new locations this year through the Bus Stop Improvements Program. Another 60 new shelters are being installed at sites in Minneapolis in a continuing effort to replace advertising shelters that were privately owned and managed until last year.

Enviro-Tech, radiustrack, Mattson Macdonald Young Structural Engineers, Gausman & Moore, Rosco, Lumos and Powerfully Green also partnered on the shelter design project.

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