This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about the METRO Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.
Gold Line Project Fact Sheet: General PDF, 1MB (March 2022)
Gold Line Project Fact Sheet: What is EA PDF, 1MB (February 2019)
Gold Line Overview Video (Feb. 2017)
What is bus rapid transit (BRT)?
Bus rapid transit, or BRT, is a bus service that operates similar to light rail transit (LRT). BRT offers transit customers unique features that deliver fast, comfortable and cost-effective services using bus-only lanes:
- More frequent service
All-day bus service that operates seven days a week with buses arriving every 10-15 minutes – so frequent, you won’t need a schedule.
- A faster ride
Features that allow a faster ride:
- Pay before you board so the bus leaves the station faster
- Raised platforms help you step or roll on and off easily
- Fewer stops than local routes and bus-only lanes that keep the bus moving
- Buses can “ask” traffic signals for early or extended green lights
- Stations with enhanced amenities
Shelters will provide comfortable waiting space and a variety of amenities: NexTrip real-time departure signs, maps, heat, lighting, bike racks, and enhanced security with cameras and emergency telephones.
- Specialized buses
Buses will be unique and recognizable with wider aisles and additional doors and folding seats to make room for wheelchairs and strollers.
What does "bus-only lanes" mean? Will new lanes be added to I-94?
Gold Line will be Minnesota's first BRT line that operates primarily within bus-only lanes. Bus-only lanes are travel lanes or roads that will only be used by transit buses, and will be built generally north of and near I-94. These separate lanes will ensure buses are never delayed due to traffic congestion. Approximately 70 percent of the Gold Line route will have bus-only lanes.
Why is Gold Line needed?
More than a bus to downtown St. Paul, Gold Line will connect the east metro to the regional METRO network and connect people across the region to job centers, housing options, other transit lines, and key destinations in the I-94 corridor. Approximately 14 percent of all households within half-mile from Gold Line stations are without cars, and an estimated 93,000 jobs are located just a half-mile from Gold Line stations.
More details on the need for Gold Line can be found in the Purpose and Need chapter from the METRO Gold Line Environmental Assessment and is available on the Environmental Process page.
How will Gold Line service be different from the existing express bus?
Express buses provide a non-stop bus trip during morning and evening weekday rush hours over the entire 10-mile corridor. Gold Line will provide frequent, all-day transit service seven days a week and will have 21 stops connecting more communities between downtown St. Paul and Woodbury for people traveling in both directions. Changes to the existing express bus service will be determined prior to Gold Line service beginning in 2024.
Will Gold Line buses be delayed at intersections?
Buses will still stop at red lights, but buses can “ask” traffic signals for early or extended green lights.
What will be the frequency and service hours?
Gold Line is expected to run every 10 minutes during rush hour and every 15 minutes during midday, evenings, and Saturday, with less frequent service in the early morning, late at night, and Sunday.
Will the Gold Line stations have parking?
Yes, Gold Line will have four Park & Ride facilities. New Park & Rides will be built at the Sun Ray Station in St. Paul, Helmo Avenue Station in Oakdale, and Woodlane Drive Station Park & Ride in Woodbury. The existing Queens Drive Park & Ride in Woodbury will also have parking for Gold Line riders.
What kinds of amenities will stations have?
Gold Line stations will provide a comfortable waiting space and a variety of customer amenities:
- Shelters with on-demand heat
- Bike parking
- Raised platform boarding to easily step or roll on and off
- NexTrip real-time departure signs
- Emergency telephones
- Security cameras
- Energy-efficient LED station lighting
- Information about the station, route, and transit system
- Ticket machines to purchase tickets before boarding using cash or credit card, or for recharging a Go-To Card
- Trash and recycling bins
How much will it cost to ride Gold Line?
Gold Line will have the same fare as METRO Light Rail (LRT) and local buses. There will be no extra charge for the service. Seniors, youth, Medicare card holders and people with disabilities qualify for reduced fares during non-rush hours.
When will construction begin? When will Gold Line open?
Construction is expected to begin in 2022 and service in 2025.
What is the cost to build Gold Line? How is it being funded?
As of February 2021, the estimated cost to build Gold Line is $531.9 million. There are multiple funding sources contributing to the capital funding for the project, including Federal Transit Administration (45%), Ramsey County (26%), Washington County (26%), Federal Highway Administration (1%), State of Minnesota (0.5%), and the former Counties Transit Improvement Board (1.5%).
Studies and Reports
> Purpose and Need - Draft Environmental Assessment Chapter 1 (Feb. 2017)
> Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) Selection Summary Report (Dec. 2016)
> East End Alignment and Stations Technical Memorandum (Dec. 2016)
> Alternatives Analysis (Feb. 2013)
> 2030 Transit Master Study (Aug. 2008)
More documents from earlier phases of Gold Line development are available on the Gateway Corridor Commission website.