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August 2, 2016

Region's first rapid bus service provides big boost to ridership

Customers board the A Line at Snelling and University avenues.More and more people are using public transit in the corridor served by the region's first rapid bus line. Since the A Line opened on June 11, ridership in the service corridor has increased by more than a third. 

The A Line provides faster, more frequent service between the Rosedale Transit Center and the METRO Blue Line’s 46th Street Station, with service on Snelling Avenue, Ford Parkway and 46th Street, and a connection to the METRO Green Line’s Snelling Avenue Station. 

Nearly 120,000 rides were taken on the A Line during its first 30 days of operation, including three free-ride days to introduce customers to the new service. Another 23,000 rides were taken on Route 84, which continues to provide less frequent local bus service on Snelling Avenue.  

Combined, average weekday ridership is 5,100 on the A Line and Route 84, up from around 3,800 average weekday rides on Route 84 during the same timeframe in 2015.  

“The A Line’s strong ridership is further proof that Minnesotans need transit,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Investments to improve our transit network reduce congestion for everyone, and support economic development and job creation. We need a long-term, sustainable transportation funding solution, including transit, to ensure that Minnesota has an economy that works for everyone, everywhere in Minnesota.” 

A regional transit network 

The A Line is the first of 12 rapid bus lines that will improve bus service in the region’s busiest urban corridors. Planning is currently underway for the C Line, with service on Penn Avenue between Brooklyn Center and downtown Minneapolis. When fully implemented, the rapid bus network will include more than 400 stations and cover 100 miles, providing an estimated 160,000 weekday rides, or about a third of all daily rides. 

Also opening in the future is the METRO Orange Line, which will bring Bus Rapid Transit to the I-35W corridor in Minneapolis, Bloomington, Richfield and Burnsville. 

“It’s really no surprise that the A Line has seen such quick success,” said Met Council Chair Adam Duininck. “Just like the Green and Blue Line light rail projects, ridership numbers continue to exceed expectations. The A Line, along with the C Line and Orange Line, are critical to our larger regional transit system. Regardless of where the lines are located, they are assets for our entire region, and we must continue to invest in them.” 

As part of Metro Transit’s High-Frequency Network, A Line buses pick up and drop off customers at 20 stations every ten minutes most of the day. The stations have more features like real-time displays that show when the next bus will depart, lighting and benches. 

The A Line also offers faster service since buses make fewer stops and customers purchase or validate their fares before boarding. A Line buses also have the ability to request green lights to get through some intersections without stopping.

“It’s become very clear, very quickly that customers value the convenience, comfort and reliability the A Line provides,” Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb said. “The service was designed with customers in mind, and the response we’ve seen so far tells us they appreciate it.” 

Contact: Metro Transit Public Relations Manager Howie Padilla at 612-349-7089 or [email protected].



Avg. weekday (2015)

Avg. weekday (2016)

Total rides (2015)

Total rides (2016)

A Line 0 4,293 0 119,568
Route 84 3,793 848 100,948 22,843
Combined 3,793 5,141 100,948 142,411