Update: Route 8 was consolidated with Route 67 on June 14, 2014.View the Route 67 schedule here.
When Meital Kashi and her husband moved from Las Vegas to Minneapolis last fall without a vehicle, they knew they wanted to live somewhere with strong transit connections.
They landed in Prospect Park, where Kashi’s husband is able to ride the bus to-and-from his job at the University of Minnesota. For their everyday chores, the couple has also become regular users of Route 8, which serves the Prospect Park and Seward neighborhoods.
“We ride just about every day, for grocery shopping and everything else,” Kashi said while on a westbound trip en route to pick her son up at daycare. “I don’t know what I’d do without it – probably have to take a taxi.”
Kashi isn’t the only one has made Route 8 a part of their daily travels. Running between the METRO Blue Line’s Franklin Avenue Station and the intersection of University Avenue and Emerald Street, Route 8 provides a key link for residents connecting to light rail in Minneapolis, shops on Franklin Avenue or bus service on University Avenue.
“I don’t drive so, for me, it’s very important,” said Knol Tate, a Prospect Park resident who has used Route 8 for the last five years to run errands on Franklin Avenue and access the Blue Line.
Students also make use of Route 8 as they travel to and from school.
McCall Atkinson, 16, travels on Route 8 between her home and the Franklin Avenue Station, where she continues south to the Lake Street Station and then walks to school at South High. Atkinson is among the more than 20,000 area high school students with a Student Pass, which provides unlimited rides on buses and METRO lines.
“Without this, I would have no other way to get to school,” said Atkinson, who isn’t in any rush to obtain her license and get behind the wheel.
When the METRO Green Line opens on June 14, service improvements will go into effect that will help Route 8 customers get around even more freely. The changes are part of a suite of improvements designed to provide better connections to the Green Line.
Route 8 will be replaced by an extension of Route 67, which will run between downtown St. Paul and the Blue Line's Franklin Avenue Station and connect with Green Line stations at Fairview and Raymond avenues.
Service will improve to every 20 minutes on Franklin Avenue and trips Monday through Saturday; trips will run ever hour on Sundays.The route will also move from Franklin Avenue to Riverside Avenue between 25th and 26th avenues to better serve Augsburg University and the Fairview University Medical Center.
Sam Mabbs is among those who use Route 8 and look forward to the change. The Prospect Park resident now rides the bus to University Avenue to catch a connecting bus route. In the future, he expects to use light rail to travel the University Avenue corridor. “I’m looking forward to it – I think it’ll be really, super convenient,” he said.
Route 8 At a Glance
Type: Urban Local
Service: Route 8 runs between the METRO Blue Line’s Franklin Avenue Station and the intersection of University Avenue and Emerald Street, in the Prospect Park neighborhood. Buses run along Franklin Avenue and cross the Mississippi River on the Franklin Avenue Bridge. Eastbound buses travel north on Emerald Street – effectively the city line between Minneapolis and St. Paul – while westbound buses travel south on Curfew Street. Buses run every 20 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes midday between approximately 5 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Route Length: Approximately 2 miles
Stops: 17 eastbound, 19 westbound
Vehicles: Standard 40-foot
Ridership: More than 44,000 customer boardings in 2013, with an average of 174 rides a day.
History: Streetcars ran from downtown Minneapolis to Franklin Avenue SE and 27th Avenue South beginning in 1914. Streetcar service was extended across the Franklin Avenue Bridge in 1924 and was replaced by buses in 1940. When the METRO Blue Line opened in 2004, Route 8 was shortened to end at the Franklin Avenue Station.
Future: When the METRO Green Line opens on June 14, Route 67 will be extended to include what is now covered by Route 8. Route 67 buses will run between downtown St. Paul and the METRO Blue Line's Franklin Avenue Station, largely along Franklin and Minnehaha avenues. Service will improve to every 20 minutes, Monday through Saturday and every hour on Sundays between approximately 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. The route will also be re-routed from Franklin Avenue to to Riverside Avenue between 25th and 26th avenues to better serve Augsburg University and the Fairview University Medical Center. See complete details here.