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A Line BRT Bus Light Rail METRO Green Line

Dorothy’s last ride 

Posted by Kathy Graul | Tuesday, October 03, 2017 8:49:00 AM

William Carter III took his mother Dorothy on one final ride to celebrate her life and the independence public transportation afforded her.Dorothy Carter was fiercely independent. But she never had a driver’s license and never drove a car. For all 94 years of her life, she took public transportation.

“It was her way to stay independent. To do what she wanted to do, when she wanted to do it and not be bound by anybody’s schedule or feel like she was imposing,” said Dorothy’s son, William Carter III.

On Thursday, Sept. 28, William took his mother Dorothy on one final ride to celebrate her life and the independence transit afforded her.

“I’m just riding all day. We’re taking a farewell tour,” said William as he boarded a westbound Green Line train at Snelling Avenue Station.

“It’s been quite a ride for her,” William said.

With a sign and an urn containing Dorothy’s remains in tow, William boarded several bus routes, the METRO Green Line and the A Line to visit some of his mother’s regular destinations throughout the day.

“Walgreen’s on Snelling. Rosedale Mall. Korte’s. We might stop by Plums for some French onion soup that she liked. I plan on stopping by her doctor’s office, too,” he said.

A resident of the Highland Park neighborhood, Dorothy knew the St. Paul bus routes like the back of her hand. Macy’s in downtown St. Paul was a favorite destination prior to its closing. But she would also take transit across town on occasion. She once took transit from St. Paul to Southdale in Edina to accompany a visually impaired friend (who also did not drive) for a doctor’s appointment.

As a longtime Twin Cities resident, Dorothy always intentionally chose to live near access to transit, and she witnessed firsthand the vast changes in public transportation from the streetcar days to the opening of the METRO Green Line.

In recent years, when Dorothy was no longer able to take transit on her own, she started using Metro Mobility to get to doctor’s appointments, lunches with friends and shopping, up until a few months before she died.

“She’d call and say ‘I took Metro Mobility to the doctor today. And we had the nicest driver and the nicest tour, and I met the nicest person on the bus.’” William said. “She was just very appreciative of everything that was going on.”

She instilled that appreciative attitude and her belief in the importance of transit in her son, an only child.

“She taught me how to sew. How to iron. And how to take the bus,” William said. By the time William was in the fourth grade, Dorothy would send him on the bus on his own to start learning the routes.

“So that’s why I’m doing it. To show appreciation for teaching me the independence of not only how to ride the bus but the importance of it,” William said. “It’s just one final tour to thank her for all the skills she taught me about riding the bus.”

Dorothy's last ride

A Line BRT Awards C Line Rapid Bus Network

​Roth recognized as top transit professional 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Saturday, September 16, 2017 7:56:00 AM

Arterial BRT Manager Katie Roth, included in Mass Transit magazine’s 2017 Top 40 Under 40 list.A champion of Metro Transit’s efforts to bring rapid bus service to the region has been recognized as one of the transit industry’s top young professionals.

Arterial BRT Manager Katie Roth is among those recognized in Mass Transit magazine’s 2017 Top 40 Under 40 list. The list recognizes professionals who have made “significant contributions” to the transit industry.

“Out of more than 160 nominations, these chosen professionals have proven records of accomplishments, making a difference at their companies or transit agencies, in their communities and in the industry,” said Leah Harnack, Mass Transit’s Executive Editor.

As a manager in Metro Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit/Small Starts Project Office, Roth, 32, leads a team of planners, engineers, consultants and outreach staff planning future rapid bus lines. She also helps coordinate across divisions to introduce the new service. 

The region’s first rapid bus line, the A Line, opened in 2016 with faster, more frequent service on Snelling Avenue, Ford Parkway and 46th Street. Planning is now underway for the C Line, which will largely replace existing Route 19 local service in 2019.

Roth’s career at Metro Transit began as in intern in Service Development in 2006. As a Senior Transit Planner at SRF Consulting Group, shehelped complete a study of a regional rapid bus network that would cover 100 miles and see an estimated 160,000 average weekday boardings. She rejoined Metro Transit in 2012.

Roth has also presented at several local and national conferences and been active in WTS Minnesota, a group that supports women in the transportation industry.

“This recognition is humbling because it shows the importance of building out the rapid bus system,” said Roth, a daily transit rider who lives in Minneapolis. “I love coming to work every day knowing that I’m helping make transit better for thousands of people in the region.”

Several Metro Transit employees have been named to Mass Transit’s Top 40 Under 40 list since it was initiated a decade ago. 

Past honorees include Assistant Transportation Manager Chang Yang, Kristin Thompson, Assistant Director-Scheduling, Analysis and Data Collection, Capt. Jim Franklin and Charles Carlson, a Senior Manager in the Bus Rapid Transit/Small Starts Project Office.

   > Top 40 Under 40: Katie Roth

   > Metro Transit Awards & Recognition

A Line BRT

A Line tops 1 million ride mark 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, February 16, 2017 5:00:00 PM

A Line buses pass near the station at Snelling and Randolph.Robert Connoy has the kind of job that allows him to work from home.

But since the A Line opened just a few blocks from his Mac-Groveland residence, he’s started venturing out to a co-working space in downtown Minneapolis, a commute that involves a quick trip on the rapid bus line and light rail.                     

“I didn’t used to go out as much, but now it’s become really effortless to get downtown from where I live,” Connoy said as he headed toward home on a recent afternoon commute.

Connoy is among thousands of customers who have come to appreciate the region’s first rapid bus line, which runs between the Rosedale Transit Center and the METRO Blue Line’s 46th Street Station on Snelling Avenue, Ford Parkway and 46th Street.

Almost eight months to the day after opening, the A Line surpassed 1 million total rides on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Average weekday ridership on the A Line corridor, including local Route 84, has increased by about one-third since the new service began.

Customers riding the A Line this week said its biggest perk is faster, more frequent service, which allows them to travel without needing to use a schedule. A Line buses run every 10 minutes most of the day and every 15 minutes in the evenings.

“It just seems like the best thing ever to me to have a bus line going through more often and more predictably,” said Annette Rondano, who uses the A Line to commute between her Minneapolis home and her business, the Great Metropolitan Backrub. “It really takes the stress away from being stuck at work thinking I have to wait an hour to get home.”

Customers also said they liked the A Line’s light-rail like stations, which have off-board ticket vending machines, real-time displays and security features. Even small things, like the stop request buttons that have replaced pull cords on A Line buses, were counted as positives.

The A Line’s most popular boarding location, by far, has been at the corner of Snelling and University avenues, where customers can transfer to and from the Green Line. Around 22 percent of all A Line boardings have occurred at the northbound and southbound stops adjacent to University Avenue.

Ray Doss, a first-year student at Hamline University student, is among those who utilize the connection. Since moving from Washington in September, Doss has regularly used the A Line and light rail to run errands and explore the Twin Cities.

“Immediately when I got here I found it super easy to use,” he said. “As someone who had no experience with Metro Transit, I was really able to just get right into it and experience this new place I’m in. It’s been really phenomenal.”

While Connoy, Rondano and Doss are all within blocks of the A Line, others are going out of their way to use the service.

Jakenthia Simms is one of them. The Roseville High School senior used to travel to and from school on Route 65; now she uses the A Line to enjoy the free WiFi and make quick trips to Rosedale Mall.

“It’s more of a walk, but it’s worth it – and I get a good workout,” she said.

A Line BRT Bus Know Your Operator

Know Your Operator: Theresa Collins 

| Friday, September 09, 2016 2:26:00 PM

Metro Transit operator Theresa Collins.When Theresa Collins applied to be a bus operator, buses didn’t have power steering and the hiring manager thought she’d be too small to capably maneuver the vehicle.

She quickly proved otherwise.

Nearly 20 years later, she’s earned a reputation not just for safely and capably operating a bus but for having an outsized personality that makes passengers feel more like friends than customers.

Collins built particularly strong bonds on routes 21 and 14, where she spent much of her career until moving to the A Line when it opened in June.

The connections are built through simple gestures – greeting everyone with a smile, learning the names of frequent riders, handing out candy on Halloween and Easter and wearing a Santa hat for the holidays.

It also helps that she understands her audience. Collins used transit growing up in Minneapolis, became interested in the profession while commuting by bus in adulthood and frequently uses transit when going out.

“I want people to feel special when they board my bus,” Collins said from South Garage after a recent shift. “It’s all about customer service. That’s such a huge thing in this job.”

One sign that Collins takes pride in her work can be found on her right bicep, where her operator number, #1378, is tattooed and surrounded by roses, a nod to her middle name.

Another, slightly less permanent indication, is that she has printed more than 1,000 postcards with a photo of her at the Bus Rodeo so she can hand them out whenever she’s about to bid a frequent customer farewell.

“They just love it,” Collins said. “I’ve had customers tell me then have my picture on the fridge, which is kind of cool you know?”

Collins has also filled a bin with the cards she’s received, like the handmade card that came from students who rode with her all summer to swimming class.

Especially grateful was a customer who narrowly avoided being hit by an approaching vehicle; Collins jumped out of the bus and got the fast-driving motorist’s attention, leading her to slam on the brakes and miss the customer by inches.

The customer recently boarded Collins bus, gave her a big hug and thanked her for saving her life. 

Similar quick-thinking helped Collins alert two young boys who were also at risk of being hit while moving through a crosswalk in front of her bus. 

“When I sit at a red light, I’m not daydreaming – I’m always looking around,” Collins said.

Another memorable experience was the time she brought a woman in labor to North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale.

Because A Line customers buy fares before boarding and can get on through the front or back doors, Collins has fewer interaction than she used to. But she still sees some of her old customers and is getting to know some of the new riders as well.

And after spending years in Minneapolis, she is having fun seeing a different part of the metro. A Line buses run between the Blue Line’s 46th Street Station and Rosedale, largely on Snelling Avenue.

“I know Minneapolis like the back of my hand, so it’s been fun learning a new city,” she said. “Every day is an adventure.”

While Collins’ might have heard doubts when she started, she said the career she’s built has been anything but a surprise to her.

“When I started, I felt like I had hit the jackpot,” she said. “I knew I was going to have this job until I retired – I just knew it.”

Operator at a Glance

  • Name: Theresa Collins
  • Hired: Nov. 19, 1988
  • Employee Number: #1378
  • Route: A Line
  • Garage: South
  • Hobbies: Collins enjoys reading, movies, attending concerts and plays and dining out. She also enjoys decorating her home for the holidays, traveling, collecting foreign currency and attending garage sales. Earlier in her career, Collins rode a unicycle – to work.

To help you better get to know those getting you around, Metro Transit offers these 'Know Your Operator' profiles of train and bus operators. To suggest an operator for a future profile, please email ridersalmanac@metrotransit.org.

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

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