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 Community Minneapolis Safety

When disaster strikes, buses serve as shelter 

| Friday, January 03, 2014 12:00:00 AM

In 2013, Metro Transit dispatched more than seventy buses throughout the Twin Cities in support of emergency responses to fires, gas leaks and other hazardous situations. Buses provide climate-controlled shelter and comfort for the displaced and also can be used as staging or relief areas for emergency response teams. 

On Jan. 1, at the request of the Minneapolis Fire Department, Metro Transit dispatched buses to house fire fighters and victims of a devastating explosion and blaze in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. Metro Transit Police also assisted at the scene.

In past years, buses have been on-scene to assist during events such as powerful storms in north Minneapolis and Hugo as well as the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge.

“In these types of situations, having a safe place to take shelter is immensely important,” said Vince Pellegrin, Metro Transit’s Chief Operating Officer and a former volunteer fire fighter. “We’re happy we can work side-by-side with emergency responders to provide this service to our community.”

Bus METRO Blue Line Minneapolis Route of the Week

Route 9: From the west metro to the METRO Blue Line 

| Monday, December 23, 2013 10:00:00 AM

When Diane Fischman moved to Minneapolis in 2006, she quickly lost enthusiasm for the traffic on Interstate 394. So she started taking the bus instead.

Today, Fischman uses Route 9 on a near-daily basis to get from her home in St. Louis Park to her job in downtown Minneapolis. She also uses Route 9 to bring her bike to Theodore Wirth Park or Cedar Lake and to visit the Minneapolis Farmers Market. When she travels, she uses the bus to connect with the METRO Blue Line and continue to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“I started using it (the bus) and found out I could use it to pretty much get all over town,” Fischman said this week as she commuted into her job at Wells Fargo. “Now I hardly ever use my car.”

Like Fischman, many customers interviewed aboard Route 9 on a recent weekday morning said they use the bus for several reasons and enjoy the freedom it provides them to leave their car at home, or give it up altogether.

From the west, Route 9 runs from the St. Louis Park-Minnetonka border along Cedar Lake Road, stopping at the Louisiana Avenue Transit Center and the Park Place & I-394 Park & Ride, each of which sit just south of I-394. From there, select Route 9 trips venture north to Glenwood Avenue, in Golden Valley, or continue west on Wayzata Boulevard, serving The Shops at West End and Target’s West Campus.

All Route 9 trips eventually operate through or near Theodore Wirth Park, serving the Bryn Mawr neighborhood before entering downtown Minneapolis on Glenwood Avenue, where streetcars once served large industrial tenants.

Among those who use the western section of Route 9 is Lubenia Brown, who has been riding the bus for nearly a decade. Brown boards at the Louisiana Avenue Transit Center and rides to her job as a special education assistant at Anwatin Middle School in Bryn Mawr.

“It’s very convenient because it drops me off a half-block from the school and I’m there 15 minutes before the day starts,” Brown said.

In downtown Minneapolis, Route 9 stops at the Ramp A/7th Street Transit Center, a popular hub for customers going to Twins games at Target Field, then continues south on Franklin Avenue to Minneapolis’ Longfellow neighborhood. In south Minneapolis, Route 9 intersects with the METRO Blue Line’s Franklin Avenue and 46th Street stations.

Andrew Arndt moved to Bryn Mawr in September. Although he likes to bike to work, Arndt said he began using Route 9 when the snow started to fall and temperatures dropped. During his 20-minute bus commute to his stop at Nicollet Avenue, he catches up on work email and reads the news on his phone.                     

“I like the fact that I don’t have to deal with traffic or other drivers,” he said.

Route 9 originally ran between Theodore Wirth Park and downtown Minneapolis, but was extended further south to the Blue Line’s 46th Street Station in 2009. The move was part of an effort to improve the efficiency of "through routes" that enter and leave downtown.

The extension has brought riders like Corinna Cohen onto Route 9.                                    

Cohen boarded the bus on 42nd Avenue, continuing north to the Blue Line’s Franklin Avenue Station where she connected with a Route 2 bus. Though she has access to a car, Cohen said she prefers taking the bus so she can relax and avoid paying for parking. “If I was driving, I’d just be feeding the meter all day,” she said.

Sally Wiedenbeck also boarded in south Minneapolis, taking Route 9 to Bryn Mawr’s Anwatin Middle School. Wiedenbeck gave up driving several years ago and said she uses her 45-minute commute to read, listen to music and catch up on schoolwork.                                       

“I like the bus better than driving because it feels like my time,” she said. “I can do whatever I want.”

Route 9 At a Glance

Type: Urban Local

ServiceRoute 9 travels from eastern Minnetonka, through St. Louis Park and downtown Minneapolis, and south Minneapolis, connecting with METRO Blue Line Franklin Avenue and 46th Street stations. There are three Park & Rides on the St. Louis Park section of the route, including Westwood Lutheran Church, Louisiana Avenue Transit Center and Park Place & I-394 Park & Ride, at I-394 and Park Place. In St, Louis Park, Route 9 operates largely along Cedar Lake Road to The Shops at West End. In Minneapolis, Route 9 travels through the Bryn Mawr neighborhood, cutting between Cedar Lake and Theodore With Park before entering downtown Minneapolis via Glenwood Avenue. In south Minneapolis, Route 9 continues on Franklin Avenue and through the Longfellow neighborhood to 46th Street, where there are several connecting bus routes.

Route Length: Approximately 15 miles

Stops: 180 eastbound, 181 westbound

Vehicles: Standard 40-foot

Ridership: Route 9 saw more than 935,300 customer boardings in 2012, with an average of around 2,555 customer boardings per day.

History: Until 1954, the Glenwood streetcar line served industry that lined Glenwood Avenue, on the western edge of downtown Minneapolis, as well as Theodore Wirth Park, a popular weekend destination for city residents (the waiting shelter at the Wirth end of the line remains today, and sits just south of Glenwood Avenue). The Glenwood line was later joined with the 4th Avenue South streetcar line, the first electric line in the city and one of the most popular routes in the system. Route 9 originally traveled between downtown Minneapolis and Theodore Wirth Park, but was expanded as planners looked to improve travel times and frequency on "through routes" that continue through downtown (such routes reduce redundant bus mileage while offering a one-seat ride for more passengers). Route 9 was extended west to St. Louis Park in the 1970s. In 2009, it was extended south through the Longfellow neighborhood to the METRO Blue Line’s 46th Street Station.

Future: No service changes are planned at this time.                                                                                              

Bus Community Minneapolis

Happy Holidays from Metro Transit 

| Friday, December 20, 2013 3:50:00 PM

Metro Transit is rolling out the Twinkle Bus for its final appearance of the season at this weekend's Target Holidazzle Parade.

Adorned with more than 23,120 LED lights (including 7,980 blue, 7,420 yellow, 6,090 green, 630 red and 280 white bulbs) the 40-foot hybrid bus is the most visible sign of Metro Transit's holiday spirit. But it isn't the only one.

On Wednesday, Metro Transit partnered with BNSF Railway and the U.S. Marines to collect Toys for Tots at Target Field Station. Over the course of the day, nearly 350 toys, 10 bikes and cash were collected. 

The Toys for Tots drive followed the Metro Transit Police Department's participation on Saturday in the Shop With Cops program in St. Paul. Metro Transit was also at the annual Holiday on 44th celebration, where the Twinkle Bus also appeared. 

Continuing a longstanding annual holiday tradition, Metro Transit's bus drivers are being invited to don Santa hats and red sweaters through the end of the month.

The celebratory spirit continues on New Year's Eve, as Metro Transit partners with MillerCoors Brewing Company to provide safe trips through the Miller Free Rides program. Customers can ride free on all buses and METRO lines from 6 p.m. through the last scheduled trip.

Thanks to all of those who have made Metro Transit a part of their holiday celebrations and happy holidays!


    > Take Metro Transit to the Target Holidazzle Parade

    > Take Northstar to the Target Holidazzle Parade

    > MPR: The Twinkle Bus, Now in HD

    > Star Tribune: Twinkle Bus rejoins parades in Holidazzling fashion

    > Take Miller Lite Free Rides on New Year's Eve

    > Transit service for year-end holidays

Bus Express Bus Safety

Transit Supervisor helps keep buses on the move 

| Thursday, December 19, 2013 1:30:00 PM

As a New Hope police officer, Debra Downing patrolled an area of just five square miles. As one of Metro Transit’s Transit Supervisors, she has a little more territory to cover.

While she is based at East Metro Garage in St. Paul, Downing is an “at large” supervisor who travels Metro Transit’s entire 907-square-mile service area supporting bus drivers as they deal with detours, weather and other issues that interrupt normal operations.

“That’s why this job sounded so intriguing,” Downing said recently. “The thought of this huge area, it was like, ‘This is awesome.’”

After 26 years at the New Hope Police Department, Downing moved into the Transit Supervisor role full-time in 2006. Though she suddenly faced a bigger job, she had some idea of what to expect: for 18 years, she worked part-time riding and policing buses for Metro Transit.

While she no longer carries a badge, Downing says there are elements of police work that have carried over into her supervisor role. Metro Transit’s 27 Transit Supervisors respond along with police when operators are assaulted, a bus is involved in a collision or when streets are unexpectedly closed.

Supervisors also help manage transportation in and around major events like the Twin Cities Marathon and St. Paul Winter Carnival.

This summer, at the height of construction season, there were 288 active detours that supervisors helped bus drivers and transit customers navigate around. Supervisors work with public works and city staff to find the best alternative, and then communicate that to operators and customers.

“You really have to be able to think on your feet and sort it out,” Downing said from her supervisor’s vehicle, outfitted with a laptop that allows her to track bus activity in real time. “Figuring it out on the fly – that’s what’s fun for me.”

One of the biggest similarities between being an officer and being a Transit Supervisor is the need to respond quickly, Downing said.

Metro Transit helps respond to fires or other disasters where people are displaced, providing buses that serve not just as transportation but as mobile warming stations. In 2008, Downing was among a group that responded when tornados hit Hugo.

Supervisors’ quick reflexes also kick in when winter weather strikes. Amid the first large snowfall of the winter, Downing was called to the corner of Camelot Street and California Avenue, in St. Paul, where a bus couldn’t get up a slippery hill. Downing spread sand behind each of the rear tires and the bus was quickly on its way.

Downing responded similarly throughout the night and knows she’ll be spending plenty of time in and around St. Paul this winter. The east metro’s hilly terrain makes it harder for buses to get around.

“Obviously, with weather like this we’re pretty busy, going from call to call,” Downing said.

In their rare quiet moments, Transit Supervisors observe operators and make notes about how buses are performing compared to their schedules. If a bus is consistently behind, supervisors will identify the issues causing the delay and work with operators and schedule planners to come up with fixes.

“We’ll counsel and work with them (operators) to figure out what they could do differently,” Downing said. “If there’s anything we can do to make their job easier – that’s what we’re here to do.”

Downing works 10-hour shifts, from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. During rush hour, there are usually around 10 supervisors on the street. Overnight and midday, the number tapers off.

Like Downing, some Transit Supervisors come from law enforcement backgrounds. Others are former bus drivers or have worked at Metro Transit’s Transit Information Center, where they build an understanding of transit.

Lisa Johnson, who works with Transit Supervisors as the Assistant Director of Field Operations, said it's not easy defining the job of Transit Supervisors like Downing because "they do everything" and are involved in "every aspect of our business."

While one of the most challenging positions within Metro Transit, Johnson said it can also be one of the most rewarding.

"It is rare to be in a position to help anywhere from the one individual, be it an operator or customer, all the way up to entire communities such as they did during the 35W bridge collapse," she said. "I’m certain that everyone of them will say they love their job and have fun every day at work."

Bus Express Bus Fares Light Rail METRO Blue Line Metropass Northstar Promotions Ridership Student Pass University of Minnesota

Ready, Set, Go-To 

| Thursday, December 19, 2013 10:04:00 AM

Go-To Cards are the easiest way to pay a fare when boarding a Metro Transit bus or train – as customers are increasingly noticing.

Go-To and Go-To lite cards were used to pay for a record 57 percent of fares in November, and have accounted for nearly 53 percent of all fare payments this year. In 2012, Go-To Cards represented 47 percent of fare payments.

With a Go-To Card, customers simply touch a plastic card to an automatic card reader instead of using cash. The cards hold stored value, rides or multi-day passes that are automatically deducted. Customers can add value to their cards online or by phone anytime or at one of Metro Transit’s rail ticket machines or retail outlets. The cards also store transfers, can be automatically refilled and can be replaced if they are lost.

Go-To Card usage figures also include fares covered by program passes like the Metropass, U-Pass, Student Pass and College Pass, which offer unlimited bus and train rides at a fixed price over a period of time (e.g. a semester). U-Pass sales for the spring semester at the University of Minnesota are now on sale.

Metro Transit expanded the Student Pass program available to Minneapolis Public Schools high schoolers to South and Southwest high schools earlier this year. Through November, students have used Student Passes to take more than 1.4 million trips, a nearly 59 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Ridership is also higher among customers participating in the employer-based Metropass program. Passes can be purchased pre-tax and some employers also subsidize their purchase. From Dec. 26-31, Metropass customers can bring a friend on regional buses, METRO lines and the Northstar Commuter Rail Line for free.

The widening use of Go-To Cards is aided by their expanded retail availability and the introduction of Go-To lite Cards.

Go-To Cards can now be purchased or refilled at more than 125 retail locations across the metro, now including all Cub Foods stores. New Go-To lite Cards, which provide 10 fares for a discounted rate, are also sold at retail outlets and in bulk to schools and social service agencies.

Go-To Cards have been available since 2007 and can be used on any bus trip operated by all regional transit providers, as well as the METRO Blue Line, Northstar and METRO Red Line.

    > Go-To Cards

    > Go-To Card User Guide

    > Cub Foods is your go-to store for Go-To Cards

    > Back to school with Metro Transit

    > Metropass

Page 40 of 64 << < 30 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 60 > >>

Skip footer navigation