Route 22 buses spend a lot of time stopping and waiting as they move, slowly, along their nearly 20-mile trip between Brooklyn Center and south Minneapolis.
Changes taking effect on Saturday, Aug. 20, should help them move a little faster and more reliably.
To help keep buses on schedule, 130 bus stops will be eliminated, several stops will be relocated, and two low-ridership branches will be eliminated. Despite those changes, nearly all current riders will still be within a 1/8th-mile walk of remaining stops.
To further improve the customer experience, new waiting shelters and boarding pads will be installed at several locations this fall. Future plans call for the addition of Transit Signal Priority, which helps reduce delays at signalized intersections.
The combination of improvements is being made through the Better Bus Routes program, which focuses on making the region’s busiest, slowest bus routes more reliable and easier to use. Since 2018, similar improvements have been made to routes 2, 3 and 63.
“This is in some ways a hitting-your-stride project,” said Michael Mechtenberg, manager of speed and reliability. “We’ve got the system down now.”
Route 22 stood out as a candidate for improvements for several reasons:
- With almost 5,000 average weekday rides, pre-Covid, it is among Metro Transit’s busiest routes.
- Buses spend about 60% of their time traveling less than 10 miles per hour, and travel times vary more widely than most other routes.
- The corridor has among the most stops without shelters at locations that qualify for them based on boarding standards.
- The route serves a corridor where more than half of residents identify as BIPOC, half are renters, and nearly a quarter identify as low-income.
The combination of these and other considerations moved Route 22 to the top of a list of Better Bus Route candidates. Next on the list for improvements are routes 17 and 4.
There are signs that combining service and bus stop improvements is making a difference, too. After changes were made to Route 63, it went from being Metro Transit’s 17th busiest route to its 10th busiest route.
“What I think that shows is that when you invest in a route, riders will respond,” Mechtenberg said.
Learn more about the improvements being made to Route 22
Learn more about service changes taking effect in August