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Bus Rapid Transit


BRT station showing METRO C line approaching station.

How the region benefits from a growing BRT network

METRO bus rapid transit (BRT) ridership stayed strong during the pandemic and is recovering faster than other service types, reflecting a rising demand for all-day, all-purpose service. 

  • BRT ridership increased 43% (3.36 million rides) from 2021 to 2022 
  • BRT ridership accounts for about 10% of regional rides
  • Rides on the new D Line, which largely replaced Route 5, went up more than 50% from December 2021 to December 2022
  • Orange Line weekday ridership already averages 1,000+. Route 535 ridership was 1,500-1,600 until spring 2020 when the pandemic began 

By 2030, a planned 165-mile bus rapid transit network will offer high frequency service that people are gravitating toward. By 2030, BRT will: 

  • Serve 580,000 people and 600,000 jobs with all-day, all-purpose trips
    • Advance transportation equity and reduce racial disparities:
    •  44% of people served by this network identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC)
    • 13% of households to be served by BRT don’t currently have access to a vehicle
  • Help households reduce their environmental footprint:
    • Typical households near BRT emit less greenhouse gas than the rest of the region and are well below the national average, according to EcoDataLab data
  • Benefit from and contribute to transit oriented development (TOD), which is being concentrated in the 3% of land along high-frequency transit, including BRT corridors. That comes from the Metro Transit TOD Office’s annual Development Trends Along Transit report which found:  
    • In 2021, $1.6 billion or 36% of regional development was permitted near high-frequency transit. 
    • From 2009-2021, $13.7 billion in development was permitted near high frequency transit. This includes 41% (45,000 units) of the region’s multifamily development by permit value.   
    • Another $9.7 billion in development is planned along high frequency transit, which is 67% of planned future development. This will add another 35,700 multifamily units, nearly doubling the number of homes built since 2009 with immediate access to high frequency transit.

In 2020, Metro Transit’s Network Next plan was refocused on future bus rapid transit lines. That led to the current Network Now effort to adapt transit service with public input to best meet the region’s needs.

  • Through 2021, Metro Transit reacted to the effect of remote work, and social and workforce challenges
  • Now that the pandemic’s longer-term effects are better understood, Metro Transit can better manage ongoing driver shortages, ridership changes, and other community challenges, while building tomorrow’s transit system
    • As part of its decision-making framework, Metro Transit will:
      • Ask what the region needs and values, and develop a network vision 
      • Review service changes made since 2020 and how they will be addressed
      • Establish what today’s network should be, given post-2020 travel pattern changes
      • Confirm any needed transit facilities changes
      • Prioritize the services to be added as resources allow and new transitways open 

How bus rapid transit differs from local bus service 

  • Service is up to 25% faster than local buses, thanks to signal priority, wider stop spacing, off-board fare payments, all-door boarding, and bus lanes in some locations
  • All stations have light, on-demand heat, emergency telephones, NexTrip real-time signs, and security cameras

Bus rapid transit lines in development




Projected opening

B Line

Lake Street and Marshall and Selby avenues, now served by Route 21
Major destinations: St. Paul College, Lake Street commercial district, Uptown, downtown St. Paul, Lake Bde Maka Ska, Midtown Global Market, Mercado Central

Construction began May 2023


Gold Line

Generally next to I-94, serving downtown St. Paul, Maplewood, Landfall, Oakdale, and Woodbury 
Major destinations: Union Depot, Lowertown, Sun Ray Shopping Center, 3M and Woodbury Village

Under construction


E Line 

Hennepin and France avenues, now served by Route 6
Major destinations: University of Minnesota, Uptown, neighborhoods and parks between Lake Harriet and Lake Bde Maka Ska, 50th & France, Fairview Southdale Hospital, Southdale Center

Advancing through project engineering 


F Line 

Central and University avenues, now served by Route 10
Major destinations: Downtown Minneapolis, Central Avenue business, cultural, and arts districts in northeast Minneapolis, Columbia Heights, and Hilltop; Mercy Hospital, Northtown Mall

Advancing through project planning  


G Line 

Rice and Robert streets, now served by Route 62 and Route 68
Major destinations:  Little Canada, Minnesota State Capitol, downtown St. Paul, West St. Paul, Dakota County Northern Service Center

Advancing through project planning 


H Line 

Como and Maryland avenues, now served by Route 3
Major destinations: Downtown Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, Como Regional Park, Sun Ray Transit Center

Will enter planning later in 2023


Purple Line 

Originally envisioned to connect St. Paul, Maplewood, Vadnais Heights, Gem Lake, White Bear Township, and White Bear Lake 
Major destinations: Regions and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare hospitals, M Health Fairview St. John’s Hospital, and Maplewood Mall. Other destinations include Lowertown, the St. Paul central business district, Payne-Phalen, Hmong Village, and Phalen Regional Park. 

Design advancement, route modification study Phase I and Phase II. White Bear and Maryland avenues being evaluated as a potential route in Maplewood to compare it in 2024 to the Maplewood portion of the Bruce Vento Regional Trail


BRT lines in service



Red Line

Cedar Avenue between Apple Valley and Mall of America (2013)

A Line

Snelling Avenue, Ford Parkway (2016)

C Line

Mainly along Penn Avenue, between downtown Minneapolis, Brooklyn Center (2019)

Orange Line 

I-35W between downtown Minneapolis, Burnsville (2021)

D Line

Emerson, Fremont, and Chicago avenues between Brooklyn Center and Bloomington (2022)