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Rider's Almanac Blog

Bus Good Question

Good Question: Why is there no Route 1?

| Thursday, August 1, 2013 9:30:00 AM

There’s a Route 2. There are also routes 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. But there is no Route 1. Why? Good question.                      

Steve Legler, Metro Transit's assistant director of Service Development, believes the answer goes back to the mid-1950s, when Twin City Lines began numbering routes following the conversion from unnumbered streetcars to buses. At that time, the Route 1 moniker went to an infrequent route that ran between Bryn Mawr and northeast Minneapolis.

Bryn Mawr later was served by Route 9 while Route 1 began running to south Minneapolis. More service changes that took place 15 years ago led Route 1 to be renumbered as Route 25. Legler remembers that decision came because the Route 1 label inferred an importance its ridership didn’t necessarily support.

At the time, he says, planners suggested renumbering popular Route 16 as Route 1, but decided against it, believing there would be confusion and that it could be difficult to distinguish on overhead signs.

The Route 1 void has persisted ever since. Why it hasn’t been affixed to any service – or may never be – is a good question for which there is no clear answer.

One theory promoted by Manager of Route Planning Cyndi Harper: its implied status renders it unusable. Like parents with multiple children, she says, all of Metro Transit’s routes are loved equally!

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> WCCO's Jason DeRusha tackles a viewer's Good Question about the numbering of bus routes