Connecting Bus Service Study
In late 2021, the METRO Orange Line is scheduled to begin new Highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service in the I-35W corridor in south Minneapolis, Richfield, Bloomington, and Burnsville. The 17-mile Orange Line will replace Routes 535 and 597 with frequent all-day service between downtown Minneapolis and Burnsville.
In June 2021, the Metropolitan Council adopted the Orange Line Connecting Bus Study Recommended Plan. Bus routes in the area will be restructured to maximize connections to the Orange Line and improve transit service in the area. The Plan will be implemented with the opening of Orange Line service in late 2021.
Connecting Bus Study Map (PDF)
The study area is bounded by the Mississippi River on the east, I-394 on the north, Highway 169 on the west, and the Minnesota River on the south. The study area does not include Burnsville or areas south of the Minnesota River where Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) is the transit service provider.
Routes 535 and 597 will be mostly replaced by the Orange Line. New and restructured local routes, listed in groups below by geographic area, will connect with the Orange Line at stations along I-35W:
- 7, 501, and 515 serving Southdale, 66th Street corridor – 34th Avenue– VA Medical Center and Cargo Road provide access to important destinations in south Minneapolis, Richfield and near the airport. Coordinated to provide links with SE Mpls, Richfield, VA Medical Center, and air cargo facilities via Mall of America
- 27 serving south Minneapolis Phillips neighborhood employers
- 534 serving Lyndale Avenue – American Boulevard – Penn Avenue – 90th Street – Collegeview Road – Normandale Community College
- 537 serving Southdale – France Avenue – Normandale Community College – Valley West
- 539 and 546 serving Normandale Community College and Mall of America
- 538, 540, and 542 along I-494 corridor
- 547 and 548 serving southwest Bloomington
- 553 along Portland Avenue in Bloomington
- Express routes 53, 146, 156, 554, 558 and 579 remain suspended
- No changes to local routes 4, 6, 11, 18, 21, and 46
Read the complete METRO Orange Line Connecting Bus Study Plan:
The Plan will be implemented in late 2021 to align with the opening of the Orange Line. Thank you for participating during project comment periods; your feedback has helped inform the development of the Plan.
Connecting Bus Study timeline
Impacts due to COVID-19
While the long-term ridership impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are not known, the short-term effects have been significant. The Plan is based on a mix of current ridership patterns and those that existed before the crisis, which may change in the long-term as people adapt and new travel needs emerge. To the extent possible and given the information available, the Plan has considered potential long-term impacts to ridership and travel behavior in response to the crisis. However, the plan may need to be adjusted and the timeline for implementing certain changes may need to be modified later in the planning process based on market conditions at the time Orange Line opens.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected transit service in the corridor with most express routes being suspended. Service will be adjusted as needed based on ridership, new travel patterns, and budget availability.
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