Metro Transit studies local bus routes

The opening of the light-rail line will affect campus bus routes.

by Alysha Bohanon

The opening of the Central Corridor light-rail transit line will mean more changes for Twin Cities’ bus routes.

In preparation for its scheduled opening in 2014, Metro Transit is conducting a service study to find out how to coordinate bus routes with the rail and what changes riders want in the future.

Rather than focus on a few bus routes at a time, the goal for the study is to look how all of the local routes work together, said John Levin, Metro Transit’s director of service development.

Metro Transit held a series of open houses to ask riders how they use the bus system, where they ride the bus and where they wish they could ride.

Riders can also fill out a survey to participate in the study on Metro Transit’s website, he said.

“The key is we’re looking at input on how folks use the bus service and how they might use it to connect to the [Central Corridor light-rail line],” Levin said.

Metro Transit will use this information to develop a concept plan, which should be completed this summer, Levin said. The plan will be discussed at hearings and will be revised based on the public’s comments.

The plan should be implemented by 2014, Levin said.

Once the light rail opens, bus routes running along University Avenue, like Route 16, will likely operate less frequently. Current discussions have indicated that Route 50 limited-stop service will be eliminated, Levin said.

But Metro Transit is also looking to increase the service frequency and geographic coverage of other routes in an effort to make the different types of transit work together.

The light rail will affect Campus Connectors and Circulators as well. University Parking and Transportation Services is currently analyzing campus bus routes to determine what changes need to be made when the rail opens in 2014, said spokeswoman Jacqueline Brudlos.

Brudlos said specific changes have not yet been determined.