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Posts in Category: Bus

Bus Community

Artwork highlights the connection between transit, regional parks 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, June 20, 2019 3:39:00 PM

Large, colorful monarch butterflies may give you a ride to a regional park this summer.

Metro Transit has wrapped two buses, dubbed Nature Connectors, with a beautiful painting designed by Minneapolis muralist Greta McLain and created in her studio, GoodSpace Murals. The painting prominently features monarch butterflies.

The buses are now traveling on routes that lead to some of the region’s most popular regional parks – Minnehaha and Theodore Wirth in Minneapolis and Como and Lake Phalen in Saint Paul – as part of an effort to highlight the connection between transit and parks.

A map highlighting the routes that serve select regional parks can be found at metrotransit.org/parks. Temporary sidewalk clings featuring butterflies will mark the path between each park and select bus stops.

“Helping connect folks to our amazing natural resources is beautiful and important work,” McLain said. “This is a huge honor for us.”

The Nature Connector buses are the brainchild of Amanda Lovelee, regional parks ambassador for the Metropolitan Council. Lovelee’s role is to help raise awareness of regional parks.

“We have so much nature in our cities that is accessible by walking, bicycling and transit,” Lovelee said. “These buses will capture people’s imaginations and help draw attention to the marvelous network of regional parks throughout the metro area.”

Butterflies are a continuing theme in the work of GoodSpace Murals.

“Butterflies are an easily accessible, powerful symbol,” McLain said. “They migrate every year. They represent immigration – current immigration, our ancestors who immigrated. And they connect us to the natural world.”

The painting McLain created for the Nature Connector buses also includes images of two South High School students who she met in an art class.

One of those students, Hodan Ahmed, loved the class and since landed a summer job working in McLain’s studio. While Hodan hasn’t yet seen the wrapped bus, she saw a photo of the mural and said that her portrait is a “really good” likeness.

Earlier this week, one of the wrapped buses was used to bring students from the Matthews Recreation Center to Minnehaha Park, where they met with a naturalist from the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.

Additional events will be held throughout the summer.

Learn more

View the map of routes serving the Theodore Wirth, Minnehaha, Como and Phalen regional parks at metrotransit.org/parks. For additional trip planning help, call 612-373-3333.

 

 

 

Awards Bus Light Rail METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Minneapolis Safety

Sarah Gibson claims Rail Rodeo crown with calm demeanor 

Posted by Laura Baenen | Tuesday, April 23, 2019 1:42:00 PM

Rail Supervisor Connie Skinner (top left) scores Train Operator Sarah Gibson during Metro Transit's 2019 Rail Rodeo. Train Operators Joe Bretto (top right) and Mose Mahir (bottom right) perform pre-trip inspections during the contest.

Train Operator Sarah Gibson’s laid-back approach won her Metro Transit’s Rail Rodeo crown last Saturday.

“I really didn’t do much to prepare. This is what I’ve been doing for five years now so operating a train is almost second nature, and I’ve always been pretty good at written tests,” said Gibson, who has worked for Metro Transit for seven years, the first two as a bus operator.

Gibson will represent Metro Transit at the American Public Transportation Association’s International Rail Rodeo in Toronto in June. She also was named the Green Line’s Garage Champion, a new award this year, and won a jacket.

Joining her in Toronto will be fellow Train Operator Joe Bretto, who placed third. Train Operator Paul Gillespie placed second but is unable to attend.

During the skills competition, operators were judged on the thoroughness of a pre-trip inspection and their operation of a light rail vehicle in the rail yard and on the Blue Line. They also took a written exam on light rail rules and had to pass a uniform inspection.

This wasn’t Gibson’s first Rail Rodeo. In 2017, the only other time she’s competed, she finished third. She was also a finalist in the 2013 Bus Roadeo.

Gibson is taking the same relaxed approach to the international competition that she took to the local one.

“I enjoy my job and do it the best I can every day, so I suppose I’ll just keep doing that,” Gibson said.

Gibson’s family will join her in Toronto to cheer her on. They also hope to catch a Toronto Blue Jays game since the team will be at home during the competition dates.

Meanwhile, Metro Transit’s reigning Bus Roadeo champion, Heywood Operator Jack Berner, will compete in APTA’s International Bus Roadeo in May. This is expected to be Berner’s final Roadeo before retirement. He has won Metro Transit’s Bus Roadeo seven of the past 12 years.

Metro Transit’s annual Bus Roadeo will be held in St. Paul on Saturday, Sept. 14, Tuesday, Sept. 17, Wednesday, Sept. 18 and Thursday, Sept. 19.

Bus

Closed course experience designed to keep road to employment open 

Posted by John Komarek | Tuesday, April 23, 2019 8:23:00 AM

(Left to right) Bus Trainees Linda Wilke, Erica Young, Steve Gartner and Patricia Young join Instructor Ken Johnson for a chance to drive a bus on a closed course.

Before they can pick up any customers, new hires on their path to becoming bus operators must get behind the wheel and show they’re capable of handling what may be the largest vehicle they’ve ever driven. 

For prospective operators who have never driven a bus before, passing the required road test and earning a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) can be a significant hurdle, potentially disrupting an otherwise promising career just weeks after it began.

To help address that barrier, Metro Transit is now providing unfamiliar, prospective operators the chance to spend several hours driving a bus on a closed course before taking their road test.

The hope is that this experience will help participants earn their CDLs and continue in their training.

“This is just to give you a feel of the bus and to get the jitters out,” Relief Instructor Ken Johnson told a group of new hires who gathered last week at a Metropolitan Council facility, where a parking lot became a temporary, asphalt classroom.

The group that assembled last week was the first to get some practice in before taking their road test. None of the participants had driven a bus before or had yet obtained a Commercial Driver's License (CDL).

Among those who participated in the new five-day program was Linda Wilke, who found herself needing to compensate for a bit of a lead foot. “It’s not like driving a car at all,” Wilke said. “The brakes and the gas pedal on a bus are far more responsive.”

Patricia Morgan was surprised to find the turn signals by her feet, and to learn that moving from forward to reverse meant pushing a button. “Now when I get into my car I start looking for the right buttons to push on my dashboard to put it in drive,” she said.

Another big takeaway, participants said, is how strongly safety is emphasized.

“Drivers out on the road take lots of tight, fast turns,” Steve Gartner said. “With a bus, that back wheel is a lot farther back so you learn to take a wider turn, which is much safer.”


Instructor Johnson talks through an alley back-in with trainee Young. This is one of the more difficult maneuvers in the CDL test.

Providing more hands-on experience is part of a larger effort to make the path to becoming a bus operator at little less daunting.

Job seekers can get help completing their applications and studying for their Commercial Driver’s License Permit, a prerequisite to getting a CDL. New hires are also being matched with experienced operators through a mentorship program.

Erica Young is among those benefiting from the extra support.

Young tried to get her CDL on her own but came up short. But after taking a CDL study course provided by Metro Transit, she earned her CDL permit and found herself among those taking the wheel of a bus for the first time last week.

While there’s a long road ahead, her confidence showed as she put the bus into reverse, correcting course to avoid hitting a cone. Backing up is one of the more difficult maneuvers in the CDL test.

“You did well,” Johnson, the instructor, told Young. “You were able to see and adjust.”


Johnson debriefs Young with a thumbs-up after the alley back-in.

We're Hiring!

Attend an upcoming application event to learn more about becoming a bus operator with Metro Transit. Learn more at metrotransit.org/drive

Bus Minneapolis Rider Information

Buses moving from Hennepin to Nicollet during construction 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, April 11, 2019 12:14:00 PM

A Route 4 bus on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.

There will be a lot more buses moving up and down Nicollet Mall soon. 

Beginning Monday, April 15, routes that normally serve Hennepin Avenue will be detoured to Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. The detours will remain in place for up to four years as the city rebuilds Hennepin Avenue between Washington Avenue and 12th Street. 

City plans call for protected bikeways in each direction and eight enhanced station areas with shelters, real-time signs, heat, light and security features, among other improvements. Utility work is scheduled to begin this spring. 

Metro Transit partnered with the city as it developed plans to make the corridor more transit and pedestrian friendly. The new shelter areas will be served by local bus routes and the E Line, a Bus Rapid Transit service that will substantially replace parts of Route 6.

Routes 4, 6, 12, 61 and 141 make nearly 500 trips down Hennepin Avenue each weekday. During the detour, there will be nearly 1,300 trips on Nicollet Mall each weekday.

Passengers board or get off the bus on Hennepin Avenue around 11,000 times each weekday. During the detour, passengers are expected to board or get off the bus along Nicollet Mall around 32,000 times each weekday. 

To speed up boardings, riders are encouraged to use Go-To Cards or to purchase fares in advance using Metro Transit's mobile app. Passengers should also exit out the rear door. 

Schedules will be adjusted in June. Up to five minutes may be added to routes that move from Hennepin Avenue to Nicollet Mall.​

Nicollet Mall was seen as the best detour route because the corridor has new waiting shelters, real time signs and is close to destinations and transfer points.   

The Hennepin Avenue detour is one of several service changes occurring due to construction in downtown Minneapolis. 

In March, routes 5, 9, 19, 22, 39 and 755 moved from 8th Street South to 6th Street South to allow for construction. 

Express routes that serve downtown Minneapolis also continue to be impacted by construction on the Interstate 35W corridor. Ramps between I-35W and 46th Street are scheduled to close this summer. Buses that would normally uses these ramps will get on and off I-35W at Diamond Lake Road. 

Stay informed

Need help planning a trip? Call the Transit Information Center at 612-373-3333

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.

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