Metro Transit and project partners today celebrated the start of construction on the METRO B Line, which will bring faster and more reliable service to one of the region’s busiest transit corridors.
When construction is finished in 2024, B Line buses will operate along a 12-mile corridor between Saint Paul’s Union Depot and the Uptown area of Minneapolis.
The B Line will substantially replace Route 21, the state’s busiest local bus route. Travel times are expected to improve by up to 20% with the use of bus-only lanes, fewer and limited stops, transit signal priority, all-door boarding, and off-board fare payments.
“Riders deserve fast and reliable service, and that is exactly what we are bringing to the B Line corridor through this significant investment,” Metropolitan Council Chair Charlie Zelle said.
Around 106,000 people live within a 10-minute walk or roll of the B Line. Of these, 42% identify as Black Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC).
Supporting the ‘road to recovery’
The $65 million B Line project is fully funded with contributions from the Federal Transit Administration, State of Minnesota, and Metropolitan Council.
The funding will pay for a fleet of 21 new 60-foot buses and the construction of more than 30 enhanced stations with heat, light, real-time signs, and ticket vending machines.
Locally funded improvements aimed at improving accessibility, reducing crashes, and enhancing safety for people walking and rolling will also be completed in coordination with Hennepin and Ramsey counties and the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
Bus-only lanes will be implemented on portions of Lake Street and Lagoon and Marshall avenues.
“The B Line’s construction is an important step on Lake Street’s road to recovery from the dual impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest," Lake Street Council Executive Director Allison Sharkey said. “The B Line will help more people reach the corridor to experience its cultural and commercial vibrancy while improving service to people who use transit for commuting, shopping, and daily life.”
Other key destinations along the B Line corridor include downtown Saint Paul, the University of Saint Thomas, Saint Paul College, and Saint Paul Central and Minneapolis South high schools.
“The new B Line will make it easier for Saint Paul residents to get to work, school, and recreation by increasing service and reducing travel times. Efficient transit is key to reducing the emissions that contribute to climate change. The new B Line is a win-win for our community,” said Russ Stark, chief resilience officer for the city of Saint Paul.
Advancing the METRO network
The B Line is part of the region’s growing network of bus rapid transit and light rail lines, collectively known as the METRO network. METRO lines provide frequent, all-day service and enhanced stations.
When it opens, the B Line will become the region’s sixth BRT line and connect to several METRO lines, including the Orange Line, D Line, Blue Line, A Line and Green Line. Future connections will be made to the Gold Line, E Line, and Green Line Extension.
Six additional BRT lines are in various stages of development. When complete, more than a quarter of the region’s residents – and nearly half of the region’s BIPOC and low-income residents – will be within a half-mile of a BRT line.
To receive information about detours and temporary stop relocations, subscribe to Rider Alerts. For concerns or questions, call the construction hotline at 651-356-6995 or email BLine@metrotransit.org.