METRO Gold Line - FAQs
This page provides answers to questions about the METRO Gold Line BRT project.
What is dedicated bus rapid transit (BRT) service?
Dedicated bus rapid transit, or BRT, is often considered the transit technology that is most like light-rail transit. Dedicated BRT includes a package of transit enhancements that deliver fast, comfortable and cost-effective services using special roadways or lanes dedicated to the exclusive use of buses. This package of transit enhancements includes:
- Frequent service
Service so frequent you won’t need a schedule, along with fewer stops than local routes so you’ll be moving more of the time
- Train-like features
You’ll pay your fare before you get on for faster boarding time and wait at enhanced stations with platforms that offer near-level boarding
- Enhanced stations with more amenities
Real-time departure signs so you’ll always know when the bus is coming, enhanced maps and signage
- Enhanced security
Stations with cameras and emergency phones, fare enforcement by Transit Police and improved lighting
- Specialized Vehicles
Unique, recognizable buses with wider aisles and additional doors so more people can get on and off easily. All BRT buses will be equipped with ramps to accommodate wheelchairs or other mobility devices.
What does "dedicated" mean? Will new lanes be added to I-94?
No, new lanes will not be added to I-94. The METRO Gold Line will be Minnesota's first BRT line that operates primarily within exclusive bus-only lanes, while other portions of the line will operate within mixed traffic lanes. These exclusive lanes are dedicated only to transit buses and will be built on the north side of I-94. These separate lanes ensure buses are never delayed due to traffic congestion. Approximately 80 percent of the METRO Gold Line will have exclusive lanes dedicated only to buses.
What is the purpose and need for the METRO Gold Line?
The Purpose and Need chapter from the METRO Gold Line Environmental Assessment is available on the Project Library page.
How is the Gold Line service different from the existing express bus?
During the rush hours, the Gold Line will be slower than a non-stop express trip over the entire nine-mile corridor. However, frequency and span of service will be greatly enhanced to destinations throughout the corridor, providing more options for people traveling in both directions, seven days a week. There are no planned changes to the existing express routes.
Why was the I-94 corridor selected for dedicated BRT?
I-94 is the primary/main east-west commuter corridor within the project area and is a major thoroughfare linking Minneapolis and St. Paul with western Wisconsin. I-94 corridor limited stop and express service currently provides over 70 daily bus trips and 2,600 daily riders, and travel demand is expected to increase due to forecasted population and employment growth. Also, numerous activity centers are located along I-94 in the corridor communities, including downtown St. Paul, Union Depot, Metro State University, Sun Ray Shopping Center, 3M Headquarters, The Oaks Business Park and the Woodbury Commercial/Business District.
Will the Gold Line BRT buses be delayed at intersections?
No, BRT vehicles will receive priority at intersections.
What will be the frequency and service hours?
The 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. During rush hour, express buses will supplement METRO Gold Line service.
Will the Gold Line have park-and-ride facilities?
Yes, the Gold Line will serve three park-and-ride facilities. New park-and-rides will be built at the Sun Ray Station in St. Paul and at the Helmo Avenue Station in Oakdale. The existing Woodbury Theatre Park & Ride will be the eastern terminus.
What kind of features will stations have?
Gold Line stations will provide a comfortable, secure waiting space and a variety of customer amenities. These features include:
- Bike parking
- Real-time bus schedule information (NexTrip displays)
- On-demand heat
- Trash and recycling bins
- Emergency telephones
- Security cameras
- Energy-efficient LED station lighting
- Information about the station, route, transit system and neighborhood
- Ticket machines for off-board fare purchase using cash or credit card, or for recharging a Go-To Card
How much will it cost to ride the Gold Line?
The Gold Line will have the same fare as light rail 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 the Gold Line open?
Based on the project’s current timeline, construction is anticipated to start in 2022. More information will be developed as the project progresses through Project Development in 2018 and 2019 and Engineering in 2020 and 2021. Gold Line service is expected to open in 2024.