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Bicycle Bus Community Go Green Light Rail

Bike Walk Week's transit tie-ins 

| Friday, June 07, 2013 3:23:00 PM

Expect to see more bikers and walkers on local streets this week – and not just because the sun has finally broken through the clouds.

Bike Walk Week 2013 begins on Monday, June 9, and continues through Friday, June 14. Throughout the week, bicyclists will be treated to free tune-ups, repairs, refreshments and other perks as part of a push to encourage commuters to consider alternatives to their vehicles. The “Commuter Pit Stops” will be available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and include several destinations near transit, such as the east entrance to the Martin Olav Sabo Pedestrian Bridge on the Blue Line.

On Wednesday, near the Blue Line’s Government Plaza station, a celebration will be held from 7:30 and 9 a.m. featuring guest speakers, The Current, Nice Ride, vendor tents, prizes and breakfast from Park Café. St. Paul is hosting its Bike Walk to Work Day Celebration from 6:30 to 9 a.m. on Wednesday at Rice Park. A full list of events is available on the Bike Walk Week website.

Metro Transit buses and trains can be used by bicyclists to help round out their commutes. For a refresher on how bikes are loaded onto buses and transit visit Metro Transit’s “How to Ride” page.

With more walkers and bikers on the road, safety is key. The Minnesota Department of Transportation warns that more than half of bicyclist deaths and 60 percent of injuries over the last five years have occurred between June and September. One-third of crashes happen during afternoon rush hours, according to MnDOT. Find Metro Transit's safety trips about bicycling and transit here.

> See WCCO's report on Bike Walk Week 2013

> Star Tribune: Bike Walk Week pushes more women to pedal to office

Bus In the News Know Your Operator Safety

Star Tribune: Driver Jerry Olson honored for dozens of awards 

| Friday, June 07, 2013 2:12:00 PM

"Metro Transit’s most celebrated driver has never lived up to his nickname, “Crash.” And for that, he was honored Thursday. Jerry Olson was recognized by Metro Transit for having earned 25 Outstanding Operator Awards and 39 consecutive Safe Operator Awards; he’s the first to achieve the latter feat..."

> Read the Star Tribune's report on Jerry Olson and Metro Transit's Outstanding Operator awards

> Star Tribune: Metro Transit drivers get their due

> Read more about Metro Transit employees who have served for more than 30 years

Bicycle Bus Go Green In the News Light Rail

Metro Transit's shared connections 

| Wednesday, June 05, 2013 12:47:00 PM

The sharing economy is on the rise in the Twin Cities – and Metro Transit is playing a role in its growth.

Writing for Thirty Two Magazine, Jessica Conrad tells the story of how HOURCAR, Nice Ride and other shared services are changing people's travel habits and the local economy.

Metro Transit bus driver Alec Johnson, who has incorporated Nice Ride into his daily commute, provides a fitting anecdote for the piece. Johnson uses a Nice Ride bike to get to Metro Transit’s Nicollet Garage in Minneapolis and again to get home again after finishing his day at the Uptown Transit Center.

“It’s not uncommon for me to use Nice Ride a few times a day, mixed in with a bus ride or two,” Johnson, 32, says in Thirty Two Magazine’s piece, The next new economy, published at MinnPost.com. “Bike sharing has revolutionized my life. I don’t know how I lived without it.”

Like Nice Ride, the car-sharing service HOURCAR works in tandem with Metro Transit buses and light rail to offer residents more mobility.

HOURCAR program manager Christopher Bineham said transit is "absolutely essential" and the "number one thing that needs to happen to make car sharing possible."

"The reason that HOURCAR can exist is because there is a transit system," Bineham said. "The transit system is really the backbone."

Among the locations where residents can find Nice Ride, HOURCAR and Metro Transit in the same place is  46th Street Station, on the METRO Blue Line. Additional Nice Ride and HOURCAR locations can be found on Metro Transit's Interactive Map.

It's the interplay between such services that leads Conrad to conclude the sharing economy is more than just a "flash in the pan or a niche that only serves the well-to-do" but is instead a movement "capable of growing a community in a profound way.”

Bicycle Bus In the News Light Rail Rider Information

WCCO: Looking Inside Metro Transit's Lost & Found Department 

| Monday, May 20, 2013 8:56:00 AM

"Every day a quarter of a million people rides Metro Transit buses and trains. They're leaving behind their cars and high gas prices, and according to officials, nearly 20,000 items. That's what riders lost last year, a figure which includes 1,200 bikes..."

> See WCCO's report on Metro Transit's Lost & Found department

> More about Lost & Found

Northstar

Northstar has record ridership increase in April 

| Tuesday, May 14, 2013 4:27:00 PM

Customers boarded Northstar trains more than 71,000 times in April, an increase of more than 12,000 rides over last year. This 20.9 percent gain is the highest in the line’s history.

Coon Rapids-Riverdale leads all original Northstar stations in ridership gains and is trending about 23 percent higher than last year. There were also big gains at Big Lake Station  ridership was up 9 percent over a year ago to 9,750 in April. St. Cloud Metro Bus reports that ridership on its Northstar Link commuter coach service that extends transit from Big Lake to the St. Cloud area jumped about 10 percent over last year to nearly 5,000 in April.   

Year-to-date Northstar commuter rail ridership is 235,816, up more than 33,000 rides or 16.3 percent  supported by a successful trial of a fare adjustment that was made permanent on May 1 and the opening of Ramsey Station in November of last year.

Bus From the GM Light Rail Rider Information

Your Driving Costs - Up again in 2013 

| Tuesday, May 07, 2013 9:12:00 PM

From Brian Lamb, Metro Transit General Manager

The American Automobile Association (AAA) published the first edition of “Your Driving Costs” 63 years ago. Gas was 27 cents a gallon, it cost about nine cents per mile to drive and the Interstate System wouldn’t exist for several years. In the 2013 edition of the annual report, AAA estimates it now costs 60.8 cents per mile on average to own and operate an average-sized sedan.

The well-known and authoritative report accounts for fuel, depreciation, maintenance and other driving costs (it does not account for parking though). At 60.8 cents per mile, driving an average automobile 15,000 miles adds up to $9,122 per year. Costs are significantly higher for SUVs, trucks and vans.

AAA has factored the average cost of fuel at $3.49 a gallon (up two percent from last year), but that’s not the only cost on the rise. Maintenance is up 11.3 percent, insurance is up nearly 3 percent and depreciation is up slightly as well. On all fronts, it’s getting more expensive to drive alone.

AAA also recently reported that $3.44 per gallon is the breaking point when it comes to fuel costs  that’s when 50 percent of drivers surveyed say prices are “too high”. We've been trending significantly higher than that in this region for most of 2013. You can check TwinCitiesGasPrices.com for current pump prices.

For an average family, transportation is the second highest expense behind housing. Changing how one gets around is much easier than changing where one lives, of course. Nearly 2/3rds of those AAA surveyed said they are offsetting rising fuel prices by “changing their driving habits or lifestyle”. Those with access to public transportation, especially those younger than 35, are choosing buses and trains more often.

Here are some examples of daily savings for households choosing transit. This table shows the average length of a customer roundtrip on each Metro Transit service type. It also reflects the average fare paid  factoring transfers, all fare levels and discounts for frequent riders using employer, student or other programs (Metropass, College Pass, Youth & Senior fares, Disabled Veterans, Job Seekers, etc.).

Mode Average roundtrip miles AAA est. car cost (@ $0.608 / mile) Average fare Savings per day
Bus 8.5 $5.17 $2.30 $2.87
Light rail 10.6 $6.44 $1.92 $4.52
Northstar 50.7 $30.83 $7.34 $23.49

As you can see, real savings add up quickly for those who choose transit  even for a few trips per week. Factoring in parking, too, the American Public Transportation Association recently reported that a multi-car Twin Cities household would save $855 each month by living with one fewer car and choosing transit and/or other alternatives to driving alone.

Many of Metro Transit's customers can’t afford to drive, but a majority have automobiles and choose public transportation instead. Without our service, these families would be pouring more of their money into the gas tank and less into their savings accounts and our regional economy.

Bus Transit Information Transit Planning

Use of audio NexTrip real-time departures expands 

| Monday, May 06, 2013 8:45:00 AM

Customers requested NexTrip real-time predicted departures in audio format 4,000 times in April — up from 3,000 times in February. Particularly useful for blind and low-vision customers, the annunciator system features a push-button audio interface in addition to the visual signs at 36 locations throughout the Twin Cities.

The most popular locations are Mall of America Transit Station and Marquette Avenue & 7th Street. A NexTrip audio annunciator was most recently installed at Union Depot. The system will be added at South Bloomington Transit Center this summer.

 

 

 

Image at left: NexTrip annunciator inside Leamington Transit Center.

 

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