Frequently Asked Questions
What is the METRO B Line?
The METRO B Line is a planned bus rapid transit line, like the A Line, that will provide faster and more reliable transit service in the Route 21 corridor along Lake Street and Marshall Avenue.
Why was the Route 21 corridor selected for bus rapid transit service?
Route 21 is the second busiest bus route in the Twin Cities. Today it carries approximately 10,000 passengers per weekday. The 2012 Arterial Transitway Corridors Study and 2014 Midtown Corridor Alternatives Analysis found that enhanced bus service in the Lake Street corridor would perform well in the corridor. In 2016, this corridor was identified as the B Line project and slated to become the region's fourth arterial bus rapid transit line.
How much faster will B Line service be compared to Route 21?
A scheduled trip on Route 21 sees significant delays, depending on the time of day. The goal of the B Line is to make service approximately 20 percent faster by stopping less often, allowing customers to board faster, and stopping at fewer red lights. Similar travel time improvements have been achieved on the A Line.
How will future bus service levels compare with today's Route 21?
Today, Route 21 runs every 10-15 minutes for much of the day through Lake Street and Marshall Avenue. The B Line is planned to become the main transit service along the western portion of the corridor (Uptown in Minneapolis to Snelling & University in St. Paul), with service about every 10 minutes throughout most of the day and evening and less frequent service early in the morning and late at night. To plan for a sustainable long-term operation, Metro Transit is considering fully replacing Route 21 with the B Line.
As planning progresses, Metro Transit staff will collect feedback from the community on the following questions:
- Should the B Line extend along the full Route 21 corridor from Snelling Avenue along Selby Avenue to downtown St. Paul? If so, what alignment should it use between Snelling Avenue and Lexington Avenue?
- At what intersection should each future station be located?
- If Route 21 is completely replaced by the B Line, where should stops be placed to best balance speed and access?
A Draft Corridor Plan in late 2019 will answer these questions, and determine the location of B Line stops and the future transit service mix within the corridor.
What will be the frequency and hours of service?
The B Line will provide frequent service all day on weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Exact schedules and service plans will be formed through project development.
What will B Line buses look like?
The B Line will use recognizable 60-foot "articulated" buses with wider aisles, more seating capacity and additional doors so more people can get on and off easily. B Line customers should feel less crowded and more comfortable as they travel.
How will fares be collected on the B Line?
B Line customers will pay before boarding for faster stops. Transit customers will buy their ticket or validate their pass at readers on the station platform rather than inside the bus. Customers will then be able to enter the bus through any door, speeding up the boarding process. Just like on the light rail or A Line, Metro Transit Police officers will check fare payment.
What features will B Line stations include?
B Line station features include:
Shelter lighting: B Line customers will notice more lights and brighter bulbs at the B Line stations
Real-time NexTrip signs: Sings provide bus information and on-demand annunciators speak this information for people with low vision
Containers for garbage and recycling: Containers help keep stations free of debris
Security cameras: Security cameras are key to Metro Transit's crime prevention strategy and will be deployed at B Line stations
Push-button heating: Shelters provide weather protection and on-demand heaters
Benches: Stations will have benches to provide a place for riders to sit
Bike parking: Stations will have bike parking to encourage multi-modal transportation
Emergency telephones: Emergency telephones will be available at B Line stations to provide a direct connection to Metro Transit Police.
When will construction begin?
Construction is currently set to begin as early as 2022. This schedule may shift based on funding opportunities and availability.
How much will the B Line cost?
The preliminary estimated cost of the B Line project is $54 million. This includes the cost of stations and related technology/fare collection elements, new BRT vehicles, transit signal priority, and the cost of designing and delivering the line. Cost estimates will be refined as planning and engineering progress.
How is the project funded?
$23 million of federal and Metropolitan Council funds have been identified for the B Line project to date.
How can community members get involved in planning?
Metro Transit is committed to engaging community members in transit decisions through its guiding principles. The project team is always interested in collaboration. To find out more about the project, sign up for our newsletter or contact us with ideas, questions and concerns.