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Bus Fares

Why are Metro Transit's fares going up?  

Posted by Drew Kerr | Thursday, September 28, 2017 4:00:00 PM

Metro Transit's fare increase will take effect on Oct. 1Metro Transit’s first fare change in nearly a decade takes effect on Sunday, Oct. 1, and that’s raised several questions among customers. Here are answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions and comments that we’ve received.

Why are fares going up?

Fares have remained static for the past decade. But the past 10 years have also brought inflation and other factors that have lead operating costs to rise. As a result, fares now account for less than a third of Metro Transit's bus operating costs, a share that is common across the transit industry. The amount of money coming from the motor vehicle sales tax, a primary source of transit funding, is also falling short of expectations. 

The transit system has  steadily improved, too, with more light rail, rapid bus and High Frequency service and new waiting shelters, bus stop signs and real-time displays across the region. Maintaining buses, trains and facilities has become increasingly important, and costly, as the system ages. And Metro Transit’s police department has grown to improve safety and security.

Revenue generated by this fare increase will raise a modest amount of funding, about $7 million a year, to help support current operations as Metro Transit continues to pursue future enhancements.

What’s being done to support people who will find it harder to pay?

Fares should never be a barrier for those who rely on transit to access opportunity. To support those most in need, qualified, low-income residents can access discounted, $1 fares through the new Transit Assistance Program. Customers who think they may qualify can learn more and enroll at a Metro Transit Service Center or through one of several partnering organizations. Information is available at metrotransit.org/tap.

Metro Transit also provides significantly-discounted fares for individuals with disabilities, seniors and youth. In many cases, those discounts are more than half the full-priced fare.

Why is the stored value bonus going away?

Customers who put money on a Go-To Card will retain any stored value that was automatically added to their cards after October 1. This modest incentive -- $1 in added value for every $10 put on a Go-To Card -- was offered in part to encourage customers to consider using fare cards when they were introduced a decade ago. Today, nearly two-thirds of customers pay their fares with a Go-To Card.

If everyone who rode transit paid their fare, wouldn’t this increase be unnecessary?

Transit Police have already checked more than 1 million fares this year. Because officers regularly ride trains and buses, and repeat violators can be penalized or trespassed from transit property, instances of fare evasion are incredibly low. The costs associated with increased fare enforcement or limiting access to stations and transit vehicles is also significantly outweighed by the cost of the existing proof of payment system.

Free rides are occasionally provided to large events as a way of introducing potential customers to transit. These free ride offers also bring promotional value that often exceeds the cost of the free rides.

Why isn’t the transfer time being extended to reflect the increased cost?

Allowing customers to take unlimited rides for 2.5 hours on a single fare provides sufficient time to travel to and from almost any destination in the region without having to pay a second fare.

Customers who are taking multiple trips should consider using a pass product instead of purchasing individual fares. A list of passes and their prices as of October 1 is available at metrotransit.org/fare-increase.

Still have questions? Contact our Transit Information Center or Customers Relations Department at 612-373-3333 or visit a Metro Transit Service Center.

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

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!

Bus Know Your Operator

Know Your Operator: Connie Isler 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, August 30, 2017 3:43:00 PM

Metro Transit Operator Connie Isler at Nicollet Garage. Connie Isler doesn’t need prescription lenses to see clearly. But she does sport a unique set of black frames, adorned with a small red bow – a subtle but intentional way of broadcasting the environment she hopes customers step into while riding her bus.

“I try to blend things into the uniform while still showing people I’m a professional and I can do this,” she said. “But it helps if people think I’m a little more fun than not fun.”

The glasses are just a part of Connie’s charm though.

Connie also welcomes each customer on board, uses humor to discourage bad behavior and regularly works in announcements thanking customers for riding and encouraging common courtesy and safe travel.

When a customer needs a transfer, she might say, “Let me get the secretary right on that for you.” Another familiar line lets customers know “random acts of kindness are appreciated on this bus.”

“My goal is for the average person who’s polite enough to put up with a little bit of the stuff that comes with riding the bus to feel safe and welcome, and to maybe even brighten their day a little bit,” Connie said recently from Nicollet Garage.

Connie’s father spent several years as a bus operator. She followed in his footsteps after attending a Prince concert in Minnesota, falling in love with the Twin Cities and moving to Minnesota. After the move, she spent a decade as a substitute school bus driver and trainer before applying at Metro Transit.

“Since I was enjoying this driving people around thing, I thought maybe I should do it with big kids,” she said.

Since joining Metro Transit in 2012, she has made a point of learning from seasoned operators who have excelled and maintained their sense of humor through the years.  

“When I got here, my goal was to find out how best to serve people, to find the ideal recipe and do what I could to match that,” she said.

Connie is already passing the wisdom she’s gained onto new operators, training new hires as a relief instructor at Nicollet Garage. The advice she comes back to the most: be kind.

“Just being humane – that is the key and so important to me,” she said. “I’m really into being respectful because everything starts there.”

  • Name: Connie Isler
  • Hired: Sept. 10, 2012
  • Number: 72342
  • Routes: As an extraboard, or substitute, operator, Connie enjoys all friendly, neighborhood routes
  • Hobbies: Training to complete a triathlon in 2018, technology, music

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.

Transit Police

Metro Transit Police use teamwork and video surveillance to arrest vandalism suspect 

Posted by Kathy Graul | Monday, August 28, 2017 2:55:00 PM

Thanks to video surveillance footage and two alert Metro Transit Police officers, a 52-year-old man has been charged with breaking glass panels and stealing the heating element from the Blue Line’s Franklin Avenue Station.

Metro Transit Police officers Emmanuel Martinez-Cruz and Samuel Scheeler made the arrest on Wednesday, Aug. 23, after recognizing the suspect while patrolling in downtown Minneapolis. The officers had been shown images of the suspect from surveillance video earlier that morning.

"The officers were really on top of it," Deputy Chief Andrew Olson said. "They were paying attention to their surroundings. They did a great job."

General Manager Brian Lamb also applauded the Police Department's success.

"I really appreciate how quickly and effectively everyone worked together to investigate, address and repair," Lamb said. "It's a wonderful example of exemplary teamwork."

The suspect, who has been charged with third-degree burglary, was recorded on surveillance video using a brick to smash glass panels at the Franklin Avenue Station. In all, 25 panels were smashed and a heated enclosure for rail operators was damaged. The suspect also attempted to remove the enclosure's heating element.

Olson said this incident underscores the importance of Metro Transit's video surveillance as a crime-fighting tool.

"We have numerous cameras from several different angles across the entire system monitoring vehicle interiors, exteriors, and facilities," Olson said. "We want everybody to know the cameras are there. If you commit a crime, we'll likely have video of you doing it. We also know a lot of crime is prevented because people are aware the cameras are there."

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