Skip to main content For screen readers, our previous mobile pages might be more easily navigated while we continue to improve the accessibility of our website.

 
Bus Minneapolis Route of the Week Suburban Transit

Route 17: Avoiding the rush by taking the bus 

| Tuesday, July 08, 2014 11:50:00 AM

A Route 17 bus on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. Every day for the last six years Charles Nelson has traveled across Minneapolis to see his wife at the nursing home where she lives near Lake Calhoun. Because the visits align with afternoon rush hour, he almost invariably elects to take the bus instead of battling traffic.

Watching cars idle on busy Lake Street, Nelson said he can’t help but wonder why anyone would want to drive under such conditions.              

“It just doesn’t make sense for me as a single person to be driving a car,” Nelson said as he traveled west on Route 17. “It’s not good for me or for the environment.”

Others on Route 17 similarly describe their use of transit as a practical, common sense response to the high costs of owning a vehicle and the pressures of Twin Cities traffic. On a recent weekday afternoon, passengers were found riding the bus to visit friends, get to work and avoid the hassles of driving to a Twins game at Target Field.

Such variety is common on the nearly 12-mile route because it serves so many distinct destinations.

Traveling westbound, Route 17 runs through residential and commercial areas of Northeast Minneapolis, across the 3rd Avenue Bridge and through the heart of downtown on Nicollet Mall. The route continues through Uptown on Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street and then continues west on Minnetonka Boulevard through St. Louis Park. Most trips end near Knollwood Mall, but some end near 36th Street and Wooddale on a branch that serves several large employers.

Bobby Watkins is among those who travel on Route 17 on a daily basis. Watkins lives in Northeast Minneapolis and takes the bus to get to his job at the Dairy Queen near 50th and France (transferring from Route 17 to Route 6 at the Uptown Transit Center).                                      

Watkins owned a vehicle for a few years but went car free three years ago when he faced an $800 repair bill. Instead of paying for car repairs, he puts his money toward a 31-day Go-To Card pass that allows him unlimited rides for $59 (rush-hour 31-day passes are $85 a month).

“The car just cost too much,” he said. “Breaking down once was about the same as a few months bus fare.”

Korissa Ebersole also uses transit as a way to save money. But as a new mother, she also likes the fact that she can cradle her seven-month-old child while riding the bus.

A passenger boards a Route 17 bus in St. Louis Park. “She really likes to be held and is a lot less fussy on the bus,” Ebersole said, returning downtown on Route 17 after having lunch with a friend.

Sitting next to Ebersole was Angela Record, who was headed to her job as a cleaner at Target Field. Record said she takes the bus to work and for most other trips because it’s a more relaxing, enjoyable experience.

“People don’t like to follow the rules of the road,” she said. “This feels so much safer to me.”

Rayla Heflin also sees the bus as a safer travel option. Heflin has a car but takes Route 17 to and from her jobs at Taco Bell and T.J. Maxx in St. Louis Park because she finds it hard not to look at her phone while driving. Riding the bus allows her to text, play games and listen to music all she likes.

“I try to limit it, but sometimes I get involved and miss my stop,” Heflin said. “I know if I was in the car and I was too focused on my device something a lot worse might happen.”

Bob Kelley also uses the bus as a way to keep himself in check. Car-free for the last three years, Kelley takes Route 17 to get to his job in Uptown and to visit friends in Northeast Minneapolis. Besides saving money on gas, insurance and car repairs, taking the bus also has a way of limiting his spending at the store.                       

“This helps keep my shopping trips to a minimum because I only buy what I can fit in my bag,” he said.

While many on Route 17 have made taking the bus a part of their daily routines, St. Louis Park resident Jane Nelson, her son and his girlfriend were making a rare trip to Target Field.

Looking to avoid traffic and parking, Nelson called Metro Transit’s Transit Information Center and learned Route 17 would provide a simple, one-seat ride to the ballpark.

“I just don’t know downtown very well so I thought it would be easier to walk to the bus stop than to try and figure out how to get around,” she said. “It was a lot easier to just go the four blocks to the bus stop.”

A Route 17 bus on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. Route 17 At a Glance

Type: Urban Local

ServiceRoute 17 serves Northeast Minneapolis, downtown Minneapolis, Uptwon and St. Louis Park. Traveling southbound, buses run on Washington and Central avenues and through downtown on Nicollet Mall. Buses continue on Nicollet Avenue and 24th Street, stopping at the Uptown Transit Center on Hennepin Avenue before going to St. Louis Park on Lake Street and Minnetonka Boulevard (Route 17F goes south at Highway 7 to provide a connection to multiple employers in St. Louis Park). On the west end, Route 17 runs on Texas Avenue, serving Knollwood Mall and residential areas. Buses run every 5 to 15 minutes during rush hour, every 15 minutes midday and every 30 minutes in the evening. Service runs every 15 to 30 minutes on weekends and holidays. Service hours are approximately 5 a.m. to 2 a.m.             

Route Length: Approximately 12 miles

Stops: 123 eastbound, 125 westbound

Vehicles: 40-foot standard and hybrid-electric buses

Ridership: Approximately 2.1 million customer boardings in 2013, the ninth highest ridership among all Metro Transit bus routes.

History: Buses, including some of the first gas-electric models, began running on Nicollet and Hennepin avenues in the early 1920s. A streetcar line that ran from Hennepin and Lagoon avenues to Lake Street and Brownlow Avenue operated from 1892 to 1938. The Richfield Bus Co. operated buses on the far west end of what is now Route 17 until Twin City Rapid Transit took it over in the 1950s. The northeast section of the route is rooted in a horsecar line that opened in 1892 and ran from downtown Minneapolis to Broadway and Monroe streets, where Logan Park is now located. Horsecars were replaced with electric streetcars, which operated until 1954.

Future: Concept plans for the Southwest LRT project call for Route 17 to be extended to the proposed Blake Road Station.                                                              

From the GM METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line

Decade later, Blue Line is booming 

| Thursday, June 26, 2014 5:00:00 AM

From General Manager Brian Lamb

When the METRO Blue Line opened a decade ago, residents hadn’t moved around the Twin Cities on rail since buses replaced streetcars five decades earlier. People weren’t sure what to make of the new light-rail service and expectations were modest. In fact, critics called it the “train to nowhere.”

What’s happened in the years since is nothing short of extraordinary.

More than 90.5 million rides have been taken since Blue Line trains began operating between the Warehouse District and Fort Snelling on June 26, 2004. Average weekday ridership continues to exceed 2020 projections by more than 25 percent – a response so strong that we extended platforms and ordered additional light-rail vehicles to begin running longer trains last year. Turns out a lot of people were interested in going “nowhere.”

As the Blue Line reaches its 10th anniversary there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about its future, too.

The opening of the Green Line earlier this month provides a host of new opportunities for passengers on both light-rail lines. With a simple, seamless transfer in downtown Minneapolis, Green Line customers can board a Blue Line train and continue south to the VA, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport or Mall of America. Blue Line customers can continue their trips on the Green Line to the University of Minnesota, University Avenue and downtown St. Paul.

Improved bus service and the additions of the Northstar Commuter Rail Line and METRO Red Line at the north and south ends of the Blue Line have similarly given more people to access light rail, a trend that will only continue as our transit network grows in the years ahead.

As the Blue Line changed the way people get around, development followed suit. More housing, commercial and office space has been built or is under construction at several points along the 12-mile corridor.

Apartments that opened late last year across from the 38th Street Station filled almost as soon as they were made available. In the heart of downtown Minneapolis, apartments are rising immediately adjacent to Nicollet Mall Station. And the North Loop neighborhood around Target Field Station has been transformed from a collection of empty warehouses to a vibrant neighborhood where people live, work and play.

Downtwon East Station on the opening day of the METRO Blue Line.All of this activity bodes well for Twin Cities residents who, now more than ever, want to get around without relying on a vehicle. But the Blue Line isn't just serving those who have made it a part of their daily lives.

Light-rail has also become a strong selling point for groups working to attract more businesses and travelers to our region.

In Bloomington, the Mall of America is expanding, new hotel spaces have been built and the city is pursuing an ambitious plan to create more opportunities for transit-oriented development around Bloomington Central Station. Next month, visitors from around the world will use the Blue and Green lines to travel to and from Target Field for the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018 an even larger group will arrive in the Twin Cities to enjoy the 2018 Super Bowl, an event that would be virtually impossible without transit.

Success breeds success, which is why we can be confident the Green Line will enjoy a similar record of success in its first 10 years of service – and in every decade thereafter. In fact, even before opening day it was clear the Blue Line had put the Green Line in a strong position to succeed.

As our regional transit network continues to grow let us remember that it was the Blue Line that set the table as well as the standard for transit in our region and be thankful for all those who have helped to make it a success.

    > From the GM

    > METRO Blue Line

    > Photos from the Blue Line opening

Bus Know Your Operator Safety

Top operators driven to succeed 

| Thursday, June 26, 2014 4:00:00 AM

Metro Transit bus operator David Nagel was recognized as the organization's first 30-Year Elite Operator at the 2014 Ovations Awards Ceremony.Few things take David Micklin by surprise.          

His ability to sense things before they occur has led to a flawless driving record for the 27-year bus operator, who works at Metro Transit’s Martin J. Ruter Garage and is currently driving Route 852.

“I always see stuff before it happens,” Micklin said. “I guess I’ve always been that way. I take it very seriously.”

Micklin was among more than 70 bus and light-rail operators who were recognized for exceptional performance at this year's Ovations Awards Ceremony and one of just two to be honored for 25 consecutive years of safe driving. The annual event recognizes top operators for safe driving, attendance and excellence in customer service.

For Micklin, the safe driving recognition was especially meaningful because it meant he had something to boast about with his father, who spent 34 year as a Metro Transit bus operator.

“He’s always bragging about how good he was,” the Coon Rapids resident said. “I had to one-up him.”

Operators Jerry Olson and David Nagel also earned bragging rights at the annual awards ceremony. Olson became the first Metro Transit Operator to achieve 41 consecutive years of safe driving and Nagel became Metro Transit’s first-ever 30-Year Elite Operator.

Olson, who joined Metro Transit in 1972, credited his streak to following the Safety Keys, a set of safe driving principals that teach operators to be constantly aware of their surroundings. Having a level head doesn't hurt either, he said.

“Probably the biggest key is just to have patience,” said Olson, an on-call operator who drives several routes out of South Garage.

Attitude is also the key to success for Nagel, who works at Heywood Garage and is a driver on Route 675. Nagel’s 30-Year Elite Operator status comes from receiving 30 Outstanding Operator Awards, which are given for safe driving, attendance and customer service.

“It’s about not letting things bother you,” said Nagel, who joined Metro Transit in 1979. “You just have to take it cool.”

Operators who are working toward Olson and Nagel’s records said they admired their decades of service and hoped to continue their own successes as they continued in their careers. The awards celebrated 24 5-Year Master Operators, 17 10-Year Prestige Operators, nine 15-Year Superior Operators and four 20-Year Elite Operators.

“It just make you want to keep the streak, to try to go another year,” said Olynn Jones, a seven-year safe operator who was a part of the 5-Year Master Operator class.

The awards are just a part of the motivation, though. Dan O’Driscoll, a 5-Year Master Operator, said his drive comes from being part of an organization that is helping the community grow and thrive.

“You always want to keep moving forward,” O’Driscoll said. “But really it’s the nature of the work that motivates me to continue to want to do well.”

    > News release: Top operators honored for safe driving, exceptional service

    > Using ‘Keys’ to put safety first

    > Know Your Operator

    > Metro Transit: Great People

Photo: Operator David Nagel at the Ovations Award Ceremony on Wednesday, June 25. Nagel is Metro Transit's first 30-Year Elite Operator.

Bus Good Question Rider Information

Good Question: Why are certain routes operated under contract? 

| Thursday, June 26, 2014 3:00:00 AM

This Good Question response comes in response to customers who ask why certain routes are operated by private transportation companies instead of by Metro Transit.  

While Metro Transit is the primary provider of regular route service in the Twin Cities, the Metropolitan Council contracts a small number of routes to private transportation companies. As of early 2014, around 10 percent of regular route service – 27 of 128 local, express and suburban routes – was operated under contract.

Most contracted routes operate in suburban areas and enjoy consistent running times and stable ridership. While these routes have fewer riders, they provide important connecting service that helps people access other routes and destinations on transit.

Route 80, which runs between the Maplewood Mall Transit Center and Park & Ride and the Sun Ray Transit Center, and Route 225, with service from Shoreview to the Rosedale Transit Center, are good examples of contracted routes that play important roles in the regional transit network.

Routes may also be operated under contract to meet new service demands, to demonstrate a new service type or because of operational constraints.

Route 83, which runs on Lexington Parkway, is operated under contract not just because it is a new service but because a railroad overpass near Como Park requires the use of smaller buses. Many contracted routes use small buses because of such operational constraints or because ridership does not warrant the use of a larger, 40-foot bus.

Even if a route is operated under contract, customers pay the same fares and use the same fare payment technologies (Go-To Cards, Metropass, etc.) as they would when riding a bus operated by Metro Transit.

Routes have been operated under contract since transit service began in the Twin Cities. Private companies such as Medicine Lake Lines and Lorenz Bus Service received operating subsidies from the Metropolitan Transit Commission after the agency became public. The practice continued with the introduction of the BE Line in Bloomington and Edina and a Roseville Circulator in the early 1990s.

Photo: Route 87 is operated under contract by First Transit, Inc. The route runs from the Rosedale Transit Center to Highland Village, with service to the University of Minnesota's St. Paul Campus and the METRO Green Line's Raymond Avenue Station.

Have a “Good Question” that you want answered? Email it to goodquestion@metrotransit.org.

Bus METRO Green Line Route of the Week St. Paul

Route 83: A new link on Lexington Parkway 

| Thursday, June 19, 2014 12:00:00 PM

Dressed in a suit and tie, Alon Coleman recently took his first trip on Route 83. If the interview he just finished leads to a new job, it will be the first of many for the 20-year-old St. Paul resident.

“That would be great,” Coleman said as he traveled south from Roseville to catch a Route 70 bus at St. Clair Avenue and finish his journey home. “I’m very conscious of my carbon footprint and it would really help me save money.”

Coleman was among many residents testing out Route 83 during its first week of operation. The new service began on Saturday, June 14, as part of a suite of bus improvements aimed at strengthening connections to METRO Green Line stations.

Route 83 buses run largely along Lexington Parkway, filling a gap in north-south service between Snelling Avenue (served by Route 84) and Dale Street (served by Route 65) and providing a new connection to the Green Line’s Lexington Parkway Station. Buses on the contracted route run between the Roseville Super Target and Montreal Circle in St. Paul with service every 30 minutes from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. seven days a week.

Chris Boldt is among those who immediately began using Route 83 to connect to the Green Line. Boldt works at the University of Minnesota and his research office is a short walk from the Green Line’s East Bank Station.

“Before, I just drove and parked,” Boldt said. “But I’m anti- paying for parking and this basically takes the same amount of time so it just makes sense (to take transit).”

Awazi Jaafaru, 15, also found instant value in the new route. Before she could take Route 83, getting to her internship on Energy Park Drive meant riding Route 23 to the Blue Line’s 38th Street Station, riding light-rail to downtown Minneapolis and transferring to Route 3.

In contrast, Route 83 provides a one-seat ride and gets her to the office in less than a half hour.

“It feels pretty good that it doesn’t have to be so complicated anymore,” said Jaafaru, who also plans to use Route 83 to connect to the Green Line and travel to classes at the U of M.

After testing out the Green Line on its first day of service, Linda Sootsman decided to take Route 83 to the Roseville Super Target to pick up a few items and see what the new route was like. Like many of the seniors who live with her at the Wilder Square Hi-Rise, Sootsman doesn’t own a vehicle and depends on transit to go to work and run errands.

“It’s great to have options because it gives me a lot more freedom,” Sootsman said. “I don’t see a need for me to get a car with the way I can get around on transit.”

Rachel Eutnam also appreciates having more options. Living in a one-car household, Eutnam uses transit during the day to get around with her one-year-old son. Eutnam was using Route 83 for the first time to visit the Ramsey County Library branch on Hamline Avenue.

“It’s all about connectivity and timing when I have to work around his naps,” she said.

Eutnam said she will also use Route 83 to visit one of St. Paul’s largest attractions, the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Stops on Lexington, Horton and Hamline avenues provide access to the park.

Campus Manager Michelle Furrer said Route 83 is a welcome addition as the park invests in transportation improvements aimed at relieving congestion. Around 4.4 million people visit the park ever year and more than 90 percent of park users arrive by car.

“We know we need to shift toward transit and having the addition of Route 83 and the Green Line that connects to it is a great step in the right direction,” Furrer said.

On the far south end of the route, buses will bring people directly to the Summit Brewery, located on Montreal Circle. Around 50,000 people visit the brewery every year and the combination of light-rail and bus service to the brewery’s front door “will be awesome,” said Carey Matthews, Summit’s marketing coordinator.

“The biggest thing for us is obviously greater accessibility to the brewery for the general public,” Matthews said. “It’s going to make it a lot easier for people to get over here and visit us.”

Route 83 At a Glance

Type: Urban Local

ServiceRoute 83 buses operate between the Roseville Super Target and Montreal Circle, just south of West Seventh Street in St. Paul. Buses primarily run on Lexington Avenue but also provide service on Hamline Avenue between Larpenteur and Como avenues and on Edgcumbe Road between Jefferson and Randolph avenues. The route runs non-stop on Interstate 35E between Randolph Avenue and West 7th Street. Buses run about every 30 minutes from approximately 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. seven days a week. An end-to-end trip takes around 37 minutes. The route serves many residences, businesses, schools and the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. The route also intersects with the METRO Green Line’s Lexington Parkway Station, allowing customers to transfer to light-rail and continue toward downtown St. Paul or Minneapolis. In addition to the METRO Green Line, Route 83 is intersected by routes 65, 61, 3, 67, 21, 63, 70, 74 and 54.

Route Length: Approximately 8.5 miles

Stops: 39 northbound, 43 southbound

Vehicles: 25-foot, 22 passenger small bus (the smaller vehicle is used because of operational constraints -- a railroad overpass near Como Park prevents the use of a larger vehicle). 

History: Buses ran on Lexington Parkway between Rosedale Center and Concordia Avenue beginning in June 2001, but the service was discontinued after 18 months. Route 83 began service on June 14, 2014 as part of a suite of bus improvements designed to better connect people to METRO Green Line stations. Route 83 is directly contracted by the Metropolitan Council and operated by a third-party provider but is a part of the regional transit network with scheduled connections to other routes, common fares and technology, and the same trip planning and customer service resources that make using it seamless for riders.

Page 40 of 74 << < 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 70 > >>

Skip footer navigation

CONTACT US
FOLLOW US ON: