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METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Ridership

Monday Night Football helps set new single-day light rail ridership record 

| Thursday, October 13, 2016 2:40:00 PM

Fans exit Metro Transit's light rail at U.S. Bank Stadium Station in Minneapolis.A dose of Monday Night Football helped set a new single-day light rail ridership record on Monday, Oct. 3.

There were a combined 122,529 rides on the METRO Green and Blue lines on that day, surpassing the previous single-day light-rail ridership record of 117,063 rides set on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016.

The Oct. 3 total includes 66,018 Green Line rides – also a single-day record – and another 56,511 Blue Line rides.

Ridership got a boost on Sept. 1 from fans traveling to Twins, Vikings, Gophers and Saints games. On Oct. 3, the Vikings played the New York Giants at the new U.S. Bank Stadium.

Around a quarter of Vikings fans are taking light rail to games this season.

The Green Line is finding success outside of special events, too.

Average weekday ridership in September was 46,109, the highest monthly average since the Green Line opened in June 2014. The average weekday projection for 2030 was 41,000 rides on the Green Line. 

There were just over 1.2 million Green Line rides in September, the third highest monthly total since service began (there were 1.3 million rides in October 2015 and 1.25 million rides in September 2015).

There have been 9.4 million Green Line rides through the end of September, up almost 5 percent compared to the same time last year. 

Learn more about service to U.S. Bank Stadium at metrotransit.org/vikings.

METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Minneapolis

Work underway on new Nicollet Mall Station platform 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, October 05, 2016 2:30:00 PM

Efforts to complete a new platform at Nicollet Mall Station began this week.

Located immediately east of the northbound track, the platform was partially constructed in 2013 as work was underway on an adjacent 26-story apartment building, Nic on Fifth. The platform canopy was incorporated into the new development.

Crews with Morcon Construction are now installing windscreens and other furnishings that will allow the platform to be opened to the public. Go To Card readers and a ticket-vending machine will also be installed before the platform opens in March 2017. 

The additional platform is being built to provide a safer and more comfortable waiting area for customers at Nicollet Mall Station, the system’s second-busiest light-rail station. Through August, there have been nearly 4,400 average weekday boardings at the station.

Once the platform opens, doors on Blue and Green line trains traveling northbound toward Target Field will open on both sides of the train, allowing customers to enter or exit from either side.

This will be the first and only light rail station where customers can board or exit from both sides of the train.

Bus Community

Yarn Bus provides ‘unexpected joy’ 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, October 05, 2016 1:38:00 PM

Over the last two years, local artist Knitteapolis has wrapped more than 1,000 stop sign posts, bike racks, statues and other fixed objects around the Twin Cities with yarn.

This week, she put her creative stamp, known as a “yarn bomb,” on something a little less static – a Metro Transit bus.

Christened the “Yarn Bus,” handrails are wrapped in green yarn and dotted with a colorful array of knitted leaves, flowers, mushrooms and vines that give the bus a forested feel.

“I’m thinking this will really allow people to check out during their commute, to transport not just their bodies but their brains,” said Knitteapolis, who keeps her identity a secret. “I think a lot of people are going to miss their stops.”

Knitteapolis provided the spark, contacting Metro Transit to see if her idea could become a reality. With the agency’s support, the project expanded beyond a solo effort.

The Minnesota Machine Knitters Guild made the green base that serves as the foundation and the Minnesota Knitters Guild contributed several of the trimmings.

Much of the work happened off of the bus, with thousands of yards of yard woven together in preparation for installation.

The final stitching was done the day before the Yarn Bus debuted, Tuesday, Oct. 4. The bus will be in service for the next two months, rotating through several routes (advance announcements will be made on select dates).

Knitteapolis said she’s eager to see how people react to her latest project. “This is what I’d call a random act of fun,” she said. “I hope it brings people unexpected joy and a smile.”

Customers who board the bus are encouraged to take photos and share them on social media using the hashtag #yarnbus

    > Star Tribune: Metro Transit bus gets 'yarn bombed'

    > GoMN: The 'Yarn Bomb' bus: 'Just to make people smile, that's the whole point'

Bus Safety

Nelson takes Bus Roadeo title 

| Tuesday, October 04, 2016 1:13:00 PM

Operator David Nelson, #69177, has been competing in the Bus Roadeo since he joined Metro Transit seven years ago.

And while he participates in the annual skills competition mostly for fun, he admits he genuinely hoped to come out on top. After placing in the top 20 several times, this was the year that finally happened.

“I think it had a lot to do with experience,” Nelson said after receiving his trophy at South Garage. “I’ve learned how to perfect each obstacle over the years.”

Operators who compete in the Bus Roadeo go through a series of obstacles that test their driving skills on a closed course. The competition also include a written customer service exam and a uniform inspection.  

Nelson earned a nearly perfect score – 621 out of a possible 625 points. Those skills carry over to the road, too: he’s yet to have a responsible collision during his career.  

Nelson will now represent Metro Transit at the American Public Transportation Association’s International Bus Rodeo, which will be held next year in Reno, Nev. Other top competitors will participate in the state Bus Roadeo, hosted by the Minnesota Public Transit Association.

Metro Transit’s 2016 competition drew a record number of competitors, including a large number of operators who were hired within the last five years.​

Other top finishers include:

  • > Second Place: Heywood Operator Jack Berner, #8927 (Berner has won Metro Transit’s Bus Roadeo five of the last nine years, including 2014 and 2015)
  • > Third Place: Heywood Operator Michael Stenberg, #71018 (Stenberg won Metro Transit’s Bus Roadeo in 2013)
  • > Fourth Place: East Metro Operator David Palm, #2410
  • > Fifth Place: Nicollet Operator Douglas John, #72493
  • Operator Randy Webb, #207, was named the Garage Champion for the Martin J. Ruter Garage
  • > Rookie of the Year: East Metro Operator Ger Yang, #64137
A Line BRT Bus Know Your Operator

Know Your Operator: Theresa Collins 

| Friday, September 09, 2016 2:26:00 PM

Metro Transit operator Theresa Collins.When Theresa Collins applied to be a bus operator, buses didn’t have power steering and the hiring manager thought she’d be too small to capably maneuver the vehicle.

She quickly proved otherwise.

Nearly 20 years later, she’s earned a reputation not just for safely and capably operating a bus but for having an outsized personality that makes passengers feel more like friends than customers.

Collins built particularly strong bonds on routes 21 and 14, where she spent much of her career until moving to the A Line when it opened in June.

The connections are built through simple gestures – greeting everyone with a smile, learning the names of frequent riders, handing out candy on Halloween and Easter and wearing a Santa hat for the holidays.

It also helps that she understands her audience. Collins used transit growing up in Minneapolis, became interested in the profession while commuting by bus in adulthood and frequently uses transit when going out.

“I want people to feel special when they board my bus,” Collins said from South Garage after a recent shift. “It’s all about customer service. That’s such a huge thing in this job.”

One sign that Collins takes pride in her work can be found on her right bicep, where her operator number, #1378, is tattooed and surrounded by roses, a nod to her middle name.

Another, slightly less permanent indication, is that she has printed more than 1,000 postcards with a photo of her at the Bus Rodeo so she can hand them out whenever she’s about to bid a frequent customer farewell.

“They just love it,” Collins said. “I’ve had customers tell me then have my picture on the fridge, which is kind of cool you know?”

Collins has also filled a bin with the cards she’s received, like the handmade card that came from students who rode with her all summer to swimming class.

Especially grateful was a customer who narrowly avoided being hit by an approaching vehicle; Collins jumped out of the bus and got the fast-driving motorist’s attention, leading her to slam on the brakes and miss the customer by inches.

The customer recently boarded Collins bus, gave her a big hug and thanked her for saving her life. 

Similar quick-thinking helped Collins alert two young boys who were also at risk of being hit while moving through a crosswalk in front of her bus. 

“When I sit at a red light, I’m not daydreaming – I’m always looking around,” Collins said.

Another memorable experience was the time she brought a woman in labor to North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale.

Because A Line customers buy fares before boarding and can get on through the front or back doors, Collins has fewer interaction than she used to. But she still sees some of her old customers and is getting to know some of the new riders as well.

And after spending years in Minneapolis, she is having fun seeing a different part of the metro. A Line buses run between the Blue Line’s 46th Street Station and Rosedale, largely on Snelling Avenue.

“I know Minneapolis like the back of my hand, so it’s been fun learning a new city,” she said. “Every day is an adventure.”

While Collins’ might have heard doubts when she started, she said the career she’s built has been anything but a surprise to her.

“When I started, I felt like I had hit the jackpot,” she said. “I knew I was going to have this job until I retired – I just knew it.”

Operator at a Glance

  • Name: Theresa Collins
  • Hired: Nov. 19, 1988
  • Employee Number: #1378
  • Route: A Line
  • Garage: South
  • Hobbies: Collins enjoys reading, movies, attending concerts and plays and dining out. She also enjoys decorating her home for the holidays, traveling, collecting foreign currency and attending garage sales. Earlier in her career, Collins rode a unicycle – to work.

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.

Bus In the News

Yang listed among top young transit professionals 

| Wednesday, September 07, 2016 8:55:00 AM

Assistant Transportation Manager Chang Yang at the East Metro Garage.East Metro Assistant Transportation Manager Chang Yang has been recognized as one of the country’s top young transit professionals.

Yang appears in Mass Transit magazine’s annual Top 40 Under 40 list, which celebrates transit’s “best and brightest” young leaders.

“Chang is a positive, energetic and respectful role model who has never stopped pursuing his goals,” said Christy Bailly, Director-Bus Transportation. “It’s exciting to see his efforts recognized on a national level with an expectation of more great things to come.”

Yang joined Metro Transit as a bus operator in 2004, following in the footsteps of his father, Operator Neng Yang, who also works at East Metro. Yang later worked as a Train Operator and Transit Supervisor.

In 2011, Yang became the youngest Assistant Transportation Manager in Metro Transit history, and the first of Hmong descent. He manages around 70 operators and enjoys mentoring those who hope to move into management roles.

“To see them (operators) improve on all aspects of their job and do a complete 180 is very satisfying,” Yang told Mass Transit. “I know having a positive attitude has a direct impact on their performance and I always try to put a smile on their face when they leave my office.”

Yang is also actively involved in emergency response and continuity of operations planning.

Also included on Mass Transit’s list were Lyssa Leitner, Washington County’s project manager for a planned Bus Rapid Transit line in the East Metro, and Avital Barnea, a policy analyst with the U.S. Department of Transportation whose career began in Metro Transit’s Transit’s Transit Control Center.

Metro Transit's previous 40 Under 40 winners include Kristin Thompson, Assistant Director-Scheduling, Analysis and Data Collection, Capt. Jim Franklin, Charles Carlson, Senior Manager-Bus Rapid Transit and Brian Funk, Deputy Chief of Operations-Bus.

    > Metro Transit Awards and Recognition

    > Mass Transit's 2016 Top 40 Under 40

Bus Transit Information

More new bus stop signs installed 

| Monday, August 08, 2016 8:17:00 AM

A new bus stop sign is installed on American Boulevard. Efforts to install new bus stop signs around the region picked back up again this month.

In the latest phase of the systemwide roll-out, around 5,000 signs will be installed along nearly 30 local and express routes by the end of the year. Most of the routes provide service in Minneapolis, St. Paul and inner-ring suburbs, including routes 2, 3, 4, 18, 21 and 74.

The new signs include route and unique stop numbers, as well as instructions for accessing real-time predicted departures through NexTrip. Signs at stops with higher ridership also have a route map, frequency information (for the trunk of the route) and indicate the direction that buses serving that stop travel.

Around 2,300 of the new signs were installed in 2015. All of Metro Transit’s bus stop signs will be replaced by the end of next year.

In addition to the new bus stop signs, pylons with digital displays featuring predicted real-time departure information were recently installed at two stops on Seventh Street in downtown Minneapolis.

The stops, which will eventually be served by the C Line​, are located at Nicollet and Hennepin avenues.​

    > New bus stop signs introduced

    > Texting to find the NexTrip

    > NexTrip signs added to several locations

 

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