From General Manager Brian Lamb
At the beginning of 2018, we were preparing to deliver the most transit-dependent Super Bowl in the event’s history. And that’s what we did, providing hundreds of thousands of extra rides on our way to setting monthly ridership records on each of our rail lines.
The success we found early in the year is among the top highlights of the past year. But it is but one of many accomplishments that should be celebrated as we look back at the last 12 months.
Other remarkable achievements include:
> Continuing to deliver reliable service on Interstate 35W amid one of the largest and most impactful road construction projects in state history.
> Introducing new limited stop service on St. Paul’s East Side, boosting average weekday ridership on Route 54 by about 1,000 rides.
> Completing a three-year effort to replace 12,000 bus stop signs across the region, providing customers the information they need to make informed choices.
> Breaking ground on a long-awaited, $25 million overhaul of the Mall of America Transit Station.
> Providing 83,500 rides to and from the Minnesota State Fair on Labor Day, setting a new single-day record.
> Surpassing the 1 million mile mark on our original fleet of light rail vehicles.
> Launching a bus operator apprentice program to support our newest operators during their first year on the job.
> Expanding the Transit Assistance Program, which allows eligible customers to ride any time for $1 (participants took more than 1 million rides in less than a year).
> Building consensus around a bus operator barrier that will be installed on up to 600 buses in the future.
> Installing around two dozen new bus waiting shelters, part of an ongoing effort to expand and improve our shelter network.
Amidst all this work, we also renewed our focus on recruiting bus operators, reaching further into the community to form partnerships and finding new ways of to support applicants.
The year will also be remembered for setting the stage for what may be the most ambitious period in our organization’s history.
In December, we learned that construction costs for the METRO Green Line Extension would be eligible for federal reimbursement pending a Full Funding Grant Agreement. We also secured the funding we'd sought to build the METRO Orange Line and bring Bus Rapid Transit Service to I-35W. Work on each of these projects will be underway next year.
With stations built and buses on their way, we’re also poised to open our region’s second urban Bus Rapid Transit line, the C Line, and to put our first electric buses into service.
Thank you for riding with us, challenging us to do better and making 2018 another remarkable year. We look forward to serving you in 2019.