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Bus Good Question Light Rail Rider Information Winter Weather

Good Question: How does Metro Transit prioritize winter storm cleanup? 

| Thursday, February 21, 2013 10:49:00 AM

When winter weather hits, customers often ask us how Metro Transit organizes snow clearance.

photo metro transit bus in snow


Prioritizing the Metro Transit To-Do List

With a modest staff and large winter storm workload, snow clearance is prioritized to keep the transit system moving and safe. For a comprehensive description, visit Metro Transit's snow removal procedures.

Priority #1 – Operations

  • Clear the way for trains and buses by servicing bus garages, rail yards and support facilities. No one will be moving if our buses and trains are snowed in. 
  • Plow bus roadway at park-and-ride lots and transit centers and areas where buses layover or turn around. If a bus gets stuck, it takes a lot more than a friend to help push it out.
  • If there is a lot of a snow accumulation, plow the light rail track area.

Priority #2 – Passenger Movement

  • Clear snow and ice from customer areas with the highest activity including light-rail stations, Northstar stations, transit centers and park-and-ride lots. 
  • In very heavy snowfalls, clearing passenger paths is done in two stages. First, crews will clear walkways to bus loading areas and the edges on rail platforms, returning later to complete the transit center winter

Priority #3 – Customers with Limited Mobility

  • Clear snow and ice from customer areas that have high use by limited mobility customers. Metro Transit is able to track this information by reviewing data where those paying fares with limited mobility Go-To Cards are boarding. 

Priority #4 – Customer-Waiting Shelters

  • Clear the 700 Metro Transit-owned customer-waiting shelters throughout the seven-county metro area.
  • Remove snow and ice within a 6-foot radius of the Metro Transit-owned shelter.
  • Shovel a 4-foot-wide path from the curb through the plowed snow on the road side to provide a clear path for loading and unloading.

Priority #5 – Revisit and Groom

  • Continue to revisit areas to plow, chip ice and shovel out paths from the curb for bus loading and unloading. 

Partnerships are Key in Keeping Transit System Moving


Park & Rides, Bus Stops and Transit Centers

Not all bus stops and transit facilities are maintained by Metro Transit. Other transit agencies also maintain bus service, bus stops, transit stations and park-and-ride facilities.

Here is contact information for providers other than Metro Transit.

Clearing Sidewalks 

Clearing snow and ice from sidewalks is the responsibility of the property owner adjacent to the sidewalk. Many cities require snow and ice to be removed to bare concrete from back of sidewalk to curb within 24 hours of accumulation.

Each city has it own policy on snow removal:

Bus Shelters

Shelters or benches with advertising on them are not maintained by Metro Transit (except for Marquette & 2nd avenues in downtown Minneapolis). Shelters and benches with advertising are owned by private companies that are responsible for their maintenance. 

photo bus shelter not owned by metro transit   photo metro transit bus shelter
Maintenance of shelters with advertising is not the responsibility of Metro Transit.    Snow clearance and maintenance of Metro Transit shelters are performed by Metro Transit staff.

Let Us Know about Winter Cleanup Needs at Metro Transit Facilities

photo of man clearning snow in 1951 in St. Paul

Depending on the severity of winter storms, Metro Transit staff may be required to focus on the first few priorities on our to-do list to ensure that transit operations are maintained. Please be patient as our employees make the rounds to clean up after winter storms and consider conditions following a snowfall that may further hinder cleanup progress, such as freezing rain and drifting snow. 

Metro Transit wants to hear from customers if problems persist at particular locations following a snowfall. Please call Customer relations at 612-373-3333, option 3, or use the online contact form. If cleanup is needed at a Metro Transit location, we send crews to address the issue. If the cleanup needed is on property managed by a different municipality, agency or private shelter company, we will pass along the cleanup request.


Photo left: Snow is nothing new to our transit system. Pictured left a man clears a sidewalk in front of his business as a streetcar filled with passengers goes by in the background. Photo taken outside St. Pierre Liquor Store, 256 West Seventh Street, St. Paul, 1951. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society.



Community In the News Rider Information

Lost & Found at Metro Transit 

| Monday, January 28, 2013 2:11:00 AM

                     Photo bus rider lost mitten on metro transit

Many organizations have a Lost & Found box tucked under the front desk. With more than 260,000 customers riding Metro Transit buses and trains each weekday, the volume and assortment of items left behind requires a more advanced organization system.

In 2013, Metro Transit's Customer Relations Department received, tagged and documented more than 22,000 lost items.

When possible, staff use clues from the forgotten objects to help identify the owner and reunite them with their property. Items that are not immediately claimed are held for up to two weeks; because of space limitations, bicycles are kept for one week.

In 2013, more than 22 percent of lost items were returned to their owner. Items such as coats, luggage, umbrellas, matching gloves, hats and bicycles that are not claimed are donated to charity. Books that are stamped by a specific school or library are returned there. Mobile phones are given to ReCellular, a company that recycles phones. All items that cannot be reused or recycled are discarded and all personal information is shredded.

The most commonly misplaced items are gloves, mobile phones, wallets, umbrellas, backpacks and bicycles. Some of the more unusual items that have been left on a bus or train include a leaf blower, kiddie pool, microwave and even a box containing a skull (later claimed by an anatomy professor).

Photo of rock turned into Lost and Found at Metro TransitLost & Found At a Glance

What do I do if I lose something on a bus or train?

If you forget something on the bus or train contact Customer Relations at 612-373-3333 and provide details about the trip you were on. If we have the item, it can be claimed from our Customer Relations Department, at 570 6th Avenue North, Minneapolis. Customer Relations is open between 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Items can also be arranged for pick-up at one of Metro Transit’s Service Centers, located in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.

    > Plan a trip to Lost & Found

    > See a map of Metro Transit Lost & Found

What do I do if I find something on the bus or train?

If an item is found on a bus, please turn it into the bus operator so they can document the item and turn it in at the end of their shift. Since light-rail operators work in a closed area, customers who find an item on a train are asked to drop it off at a Metro Transit Service Center or give it to a bus driver. Just let the driver know where the item was found to help us reunite the object with the owner. On Northstar trains, please give the item to the conductor.

    > Star Tribune: Missing a glove, a phone, even a bike? Riders asked to contact Metro Transit

    > WCCO: Looking Inside the Metro Transit Lost & Found Hall of Fame

    > Star Tribune:  Rescuing a Stranded Bike

Please note: Metro Transit is not liable for damage to any personal items, such as bicycles, computers and cell phones, etc., except if Metro Transit is found to be negligent or at fault in an accident. Theft and/or damage to personal items, injury while loading and unloading a bicycle, acts by a third party and all other incidents are solely the responsibility of the customer and not Metro Transit.

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