A new rapid bus line that will provide up to 25 percent faster service than regular route local buses opened on Saturday, June 11.
The first of a dozen rapid bus lines to be built by Metro Transit throughout the region, the A Line runs from Rosedale Center in Roseville, down Snelling Avenue through Falcon Heights and St. Paul, to Ford Parkway, where it crosses the Mississippi River into Minneapolis on 46th Street. The A Line connects to the METRO Green Line's Snelling Avenue Station in St. Paul and to the METRO Blue Line's 46th Street Station in Minneapolis.
“The A Line will make commuting more convenient for thousands of Minnesotans every day and reduce congestion for those who can't use transit. The metro area needs transit projects like the A Line, which supports jobs and economic growth today, and will handle double the ridership by 2030,” Lt. Governor Tina Smith said. “This project is extremely important, but until the legislature passes a long-term solution for funding transportation, including transit, Minnesota will fall behind other states, and all the other important projects we need to compete will not happen. We need to get this done.”
Community members and officials from across the region, state, and country celebrated the A Line's opening on Saturday morning with a ribbon-cutting. Service began at 10 a.m.
“Rapid bus service is going to give riders more transit choices and dramatically improve riders’ commute,” Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck said. “It creates a quick connection between the Green Line on Snelling Avenue and Blue Line on Hiawatha Avenue, not to mention the number of businesses and destination points along the line. It’s an exciting day for our region to see this new technology, and underscores the need to continue building out a 21st Century transit system that helps us compete with regions across the country.”
Pre-paid boarding, technology that gives buses priority at intersections and redesigned buses with wider doors and aisles are among the features that will speed service and improve the rider experience on the A Line.
The placement and design of the A Line’s stations are also a significant part of the improved service. Stations are located a half-mile apart to speed service and connect customers to major destinations.
“Our riders are at the forefront of the design of the A Line and its stations,” Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb said. “Features including heated shelters with improved lighting, security cameras and real-time displays that let riders know when buses will arrive are only a few of the things that show how we work to act on our riders’ needs. By doing this, we have worked to make good on our commitment to improving service in one of the busiest transportation corridors in the area.”
The A Line is expected to provide up to 8,700 average weekday rides by 2030. Nearly 31,000 people live within a quarter-mile of an A Line station and there are nearly 11,000 jobs in the corridor. Workers who live within a half-mile of A Line stations will be able to reach 4,500 more jobs within a half hour than they could have prior to the A Line's opening.
Built at a cost of $27 million, the A Line is part of a network of a dozen rapid bus lines planned throughout the Twin Cities metro area. The planned network includes the C Line, which will connect Brooklyn Center to downtown Minneapolis with service on Olson Memorial Highway and Penn Avenue. Construction on the C Line is scheduled to begin in 2018, pending full project funding. When completed, the rapid bus network will span more than 100 miles and carry about a third of Metro Transit’s daily riders.
The start of A Line service marks the culmination of a five-year process, from inception to opening day. Community celebrations featuring food, music and fun activities are being held throughout the day at Har Mar Mall in Roseville, Snelling and University Avenues in St. Paul, and Hillcrest Park in the Highland Park neighborhood. The A Line Service will also operate free of charge Saturday through Monday.
For more information, contact Metro Transit Public Relations Manager Howie Padilla at 612-349-7089 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download A Line photos from Metro Transit's Flickr page