Simpler is better.
That's the mantra behind route and schedule changes that took effect in August on Route 3, which connects downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota and downtown St. Paul.
To help prevent customer confusion, more trips will run the full length of the corridor and a new route, Route 33, will replace the handful of Route 3 trips that traveled south of Como Avenue.
In downtown Minneapolis, Route 3 will also be extended further north and be moved from 3rd and 4th streets to Washington Avenue, improving transit access in the North Loop neighborhood.
To make service faster and more reliable, stops will be spaced further apart and, in some cases, moved to new locations so buses can get through intersections before stopping to pick people up. Schedules have been adjusted to better match actual travel times.
"These kinds of incremental changes improve service for customers and operators alike," said Michael Mechtenberg, manager of speed and reliability.
In addition to the service improvements, new shelters and concrete pads that make it easier to board have been installed at several stops.
The changes were coordinated through the Better Bus Routes program, which aims to make local routes more reliable and easier to use. Routes 2 and 63 have seen similar improvements, and attention will now turn to Route 22.
The goal is to focus on a different route each year. To select future corridors, staff will consider the speed and reliability of existing service, as well as corridor demographics and pending construction projects led by local partners.
In the future, a portion of the Route 3 corridor will see further improvements with the opening of the METRO H Line, a Bus Rapid Transit line that will operate on Como and Maryland avenues between downtown Minneapolis and the Sun Ray Transit Center.