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Posts in Category: Bus

Bus Community St. Paul

On Transit Driver Appreciation Day, admiration goes both ways 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Tuesday, March 19, 2019 8:00:00 AM

Transit Driver Appreciation Day was designed to put the focus on operators like Shelly Logelin, who started working at Metro Transit in 2013.

But when students from Saint Paul Public School’s Focus Beyond Transition Services visited Metro Transit’s East Metro Garage on Monday the support went in both directions.

The students, frequent bus riders, visited the garage to hand deliver gift bags filled with snacks and decorated with one of the custom thank you cards they helped design.

But, like several operators in attendance, Logelin said picking up Focus Beyond students is just as much of a highlight for her as it is for the students.

“Even though it’s our appreciation day, we’re giving it back to them to make sure they know they’re appreciated, too,” she said.  

Focus Beyond is a transitional school where students learn how to become more independent. Students often ride in large groups, filling entire buses on routes 54, 70 and 74, as they ride to and from school, work and other destinations.

The students were invited to East Metro after taking the initiative to deliver handmade cards and gift bags to drivers on Transit Driver Appreciation Day in 2018.

Tina Potvin, a teacher who helped organize the efforts, said students ride so frequently that they often develop relationships with the drivers. The kindness, patience and smiles they offer make sure the students always feel welcome, she said. 

“Many of the drivers greet our students by name and learn about all the individual needs they may have,” Potvin said. ”They really go out of their way to make both the students and the staff feel so much more comfortable and welcome.”

Help us recognize great operators

Help Metro Transit recognize great operators by submitting a commendation through our website or by sharing messages on Facebook or Twitter. If you don't know your operator's name, include the operator number on their shoulder so we can share your feedback with them.

Bus Minneapolis Rider Information

Construction leads to detours in downtown Minneapolis 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Monday, March 04, 2019 1:03:00 PM

Multiple routes will be detoured off a busy downtown Minneapolis street beginning Saturday, March 9, the first of several service changes that will occur this year due to road construction in the city center.

Beginning March 9, southbound trips on routes 5, 9, 19, 22, 39 and 755 will shift from 8th Street South to 6th Street South. During the detour, the routes will also stop serving the 7th Street/Ramp A Transit Center. 

The City of Minneapolis is rebuilding 8th Street between Hennepin and Chicago avenues. Utility work has been underway for months, reducing traffic lanes. This spring, crews will begin a full reconstruction of the corridor. Buses will return to 8th Street when construction is completed. 

As part of the city's reconstruction efforts, the roadway will be repaved, sidewalks will be widened and several Bus Rapid Transit stations will be added. Both the C Line and the D Line will operate on 8th Street.

The 7th Street/Ramp A Transit Center, a future BRT stop, will also be improved this year. When the C Line opens in June, customers will use stops on 6th Street. 

There are currently 350 bus trips on 8th Street South each weekday. 

Moving service to 6th Street South allows customers to remain closer to the city center. Schedules have been adjusted to account for the new routing.

Additional detours will go into effect in downtown Minneapolis later this year.

As early as April, the city plans to begin a nearly three-year reconstruction of Hennepin Avenue between Washington Avenue and 12th Street. Hennepin Avenue routes will shift to Nicollet Mall during construction.  

Pedestrian and transit improvements are also being incorporated into the Hennepin Avenue project.

Several other route and schedule changes will take effect on Saturday, March 9. The changes are being made as part of the regularly scheduled, quarterly service adjustments. The next round of service changes is scheduled to take effect on Saturday, June 8.

Click the map to view the 8th Street bus stops that will close beginning March 9, and where buses will stop on 6th Street.

Map of the 8th Street bus stops that will close beginning March 9, and where buses will stop on 6th Street.

Open stops when busses operate on 6th St. downtown Minneapolis beginning March 9
Route 5 - Southbound Glenwood at 7th St N
6th St at Hennepin
6th St at Nicollet
6th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave
6th St just past 4th
6th St between Park and Chicago
Chicago just past 8th
Route 9 - Eastbound

Glenwood Ave at 10th St
Glenwood at 7th St N
6th St at Hennepin
6th St at Nicollet
6th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave
6th St just past 4th
Portland just past 9th St

Route 19 – Southbound

10th St at Twins Way
Glenwood at 7th St N
6th St at Hennepin
6th St at Nicollet
6th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave
6th St just past 4th
6th St between Park and Chicago

Route 22 – Southbound

10th St at Twins Way
Glenwood at 7th St N
6th St at Hennepin
6th St at Nicollet
6th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave
5th Ave at 5th St
5th Ave at 4th St

Route 39 – Southbound

5th St Garage
6th St at Hennepin
6th St at Nicollet
6th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave
6th St between 4th
Portland Ave just past 9th St

Route 755 – Southbound

10th St at Twins Way
Glenwood at 7th St N
6th St at Hennepin
6th St at Nicollet
6th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave
5th Ave at 5th St

Learn more about service changes that begin March 9

Beginning Saturday, March 9, changes will be made to several routes operated by Metro Transit & Maple Grove Transit. Find an overview of the changes at metrotransit.org

Bus

7 Reasons to be Bus Operator instead of a Truck Driver 

Posted by John Komarek | Tuesday, February 26, 2019 1:45:00 PM

Both jobs require a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) and operate large vehicles, but here’s a few reasons why bus operations might be a better fit than truck driving for some people.

  1. Work + Life Balance
    Most trucking jobs require long hauls across the country with days, weeks, or even months away from loved ones. Working as a Metro Transit bus operator keeps you within our seven-county system with a consistent schedule.

    You can spend time with your family, start one, and sleep in your own bed every day. Most long-haul truckers average about 22 nights a month sleeping in their truck. Sleep patterns for long haul drivers can be sporadic based on schedules and can change month-to-month.
  2. Union Life
    Fewer commercial driving jobs offer union protection. A bus operator at Metro Transit becomes a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).  Public sector jobs still have a higher percentage of unionized workers than the private sector.
  3. Route preferences
    Every quarter, bus operators present preferences for routes and earn them based on seniority. Pick routes close to home or in a region you enjoy – it’s up to you and your seniority. And if you don’t enjoy a certain route, you can change it in the next quarter.
  4. What you haul
    As a bus operator, you move people.  As a trucker, you could be responsible for hauling large, dangerous, heavy, or hazardous materials, even garbage.
  5. Guaranteed hours and overtime options
    All bus operators are guaranteed part-time hours and can go full-time with opportunities for overtime.
  6. Socialization
    Truck driving can be a solitary life due to long hours by yourself on the road. As a bus operator, you’re working with a steady stream of people who you can make lasting relationships with as you drive along a route. Buses become small communities as people in the neighborhood use them consistently.
  7. Advancement and longevity
    Joining Metro Transit opens doors to advance in your career outside of the bus, if you so choose. From supervisory positions to other departments, there’s opportunity to build a life with us. We consider ourselves a destination employer – and the host of 10-, 20-, and 30-year bus operators agree.

Want to know more? Come to a Bus Driver Application Preparation meeting to find out if becoming a bus operator with Metro Transit is right for you.

A Line BRT Bus Light Rail METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Ridership

Light rail, Bus Rapid Transit lines set annual ridership records 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Monday, February 11, 2019 1:00:00 PM

Customers board a Metro Transit light rail vehicle at the Nicollet Mall Station in 2018.It was another record-setting year for Metro Transit’s light rail and Bus Rapid Transit lines.

The Green Line, Blue Line and A Line each saw their highest annual ridership ever in 2018, breaking records that were set just a year earlier.

Ridership on the Green Line has steadily risen since the light rail line opened in 2014. Nearly 13.8 million rides were taken on the Green Line last year. Average weekday ridership topped 42,500 rides.

More than 11.1 million rides were taken on the Blue Line, the highest annual total since it opened in 2004. The increase in Blue Line ridership partly reflects a shift to transit amid construction on Interstate 35W.

In its second full year of service, customers took more than 1.6 million rides on the A Line. Total ridership in the A Line corridor is about one-third higher than 2015, when it was served only by Route 84. 

“Continued growth in light rail and Bus Rapid Transit ridership affirms what we’ve always believed – that people value fast, frequent and reliable service,” Metro Transit General Manager Wes Kooistra said. “We are encouraged by the response and look forward to offering more of this service in the years to come.”

Systemwide, Metro Transit provided more than 80.7 million total rides in 2018. This was the eighth consecutive year annual ridership topped 80 million rides, keeping ridership at its highest point in three decades.

Across transit types and providers, nearly 94.2 million rides were provided in the seven-county region in 2018. That total includes suburban transit providers as well as the Metropolitan Council’s Metro Mobility, Transit Link and Vanpool services.

Metro Transit’s 2018 ridership total includes 55 million local and express bus rides (including Maple Grove Transit, which is operated under contract by Metro Transit). Bus ridership declined 4 percent from 2017.

Some ridership loss was expected following an October 2017 fare increase. Lower-than-usual gas prices also played a role. 

The decline in bus ridership largely reflects losses on Metro Transit’s busiest local routes, which will be substantially replaced and improved with Bus Rapid Transit service in the coming years.

Where service improvements have been made, bus ridership has risen. Ridership to St. Louis Park’s West End and on routes 32 and 54 improved in 2018. Some Route 54 trips began offering limited stop service between downtown St. Paul and Maplewood Mall beginning in June 2018. 

Other 2018 ridership highlights include:

 > More than 1.3 million rides through the Transit Assistance Program, which allows qualified individuals to ride buses or light rail for $1.

 > A record number of Vikings fans took transit to and from home games. In all, nearly 263,000 rides were provided to and from U.S. Bank Stadium over the course of the pre- and regular season.

 > A record number of rides were provided to and from the Minnesota State Fair on Saturday, Sept. 1. More than 83,500 rides were provided on State Fair Express Buses and regular routes that serve the fairgrounds that day.

 > Nearly 210,000 additional rides were taken over more than a week’s worth of Super Bowl events in February 2018.

Metro Transit 2018 Ridership At A Glance

Mode Total Rides Average Weekday Rides Percent change from 2017
Bus 53.3 million 177,319 - 4%
Green Line 13.8 million (record) 42,572 + 5%
Blue Line 11.1 million (record) 32,921 + 4%
A Line 1.6 million (record) 4,860 + 2%
Northstar 787,327 2,814 0
Total 80.7 million 260,486 - 1%

 

Metro Transit Annual Ridership, 2004-2018

Who rides Metro Transit?

 

Bus

Good Question: How do I become a bus operator? 

Posted by John Komarek | Monday, February 04, 2019 3:55:00 PM

Contrary to what some might think, it’s not easy to become a Metro Transit bus operator.

There’s a lot of technical information and processes to learn – but don’t worry – we offer help to anyone who asks for it

From the moment you express interest in the job through the testing and application process, and even after your first day on the job, we have staff available to help.

Step 1: Bus Driver Application Preparation Meeting and Application

Before applying consider attending a Bus Driver Application Preparation meeting. There, staff and bus operators can answer any of your questions about what the job is like and about how the application process works. If you decide that it might be a good fit, then you can start the application process onsite.

Step 2: Customer Service Test

After the application, your first step is the Customer Service test, which can place you in scenarios you might encounter on the road. At times, this job can be stressful, but it’s up to you to maintain a professional and courteous manner during your workday.

Step 3: Study and Earn a Commercial Learners Permit

After passing the Customer Service test, you’ll need to earn your Minnesota commercial learner permit (CLP), the first step to getting a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

If you’ve never driven anything bigger than a car, we can help you learn the required vocabulary and rules of driving large commercial vehicles. We offer an eight-hour course, with flexible hours, to help you prepare.

Step 4: Interview, Background Check, and Drug Test

Once you’ve earned your CLP, you will be interviewed, undergo a background check, and a drug test.

Step 5: Start your career at Metro Transit with five-weeks paid training

If you pass, congratulations! You’ve begun your career at Metro Transit. If not, don’t be discouraged, you can try again later. Some bus operators have failed the first time, but eventually became great operators, like Shamara Baggett.

Once you have a CLP, you'll begin the five-week paid training before working your first shift.

Step 6: Start your new career with the help of a mentor

After that, you'll be introduced to your bus operator mentor who will help guide you through your career with Metro Transit.

Learn more about starting a career as a Metro Transit bus operator!

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