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Friday September 21st 2018

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Metro Transit – Bus driver shortage causes service cuts

By JOHN CHARLES WILSON

The 18 August 2018 schedule change at Metro Transit is more complicated than usual because there was an emergency 1% service cut made on 31 July. Unfortunately, service cuts are nothing new to public transit. However, this last one was made for an unprecedented reason: a shortage of bus drivers. Usually, service cuts happen due to lack of funding, but now Metro Transit has been so short of drivers that several scheduled bus trips a day, usually at rush hour, just simply didn’t run because there was no driver!

A formal service cut was declared, in order to create a schedule where every expected bus would show up as it should. With the August schedule change, some of the deleted trips have been restored; this was apparently made possible by cancelling some underused school trips, especially in the mornings.

In addition to these systemwide cuts, a few routes in the Phillips area will be changed:

People who use Route 2 to access Perkins or the Seward Co-Op will have an extra block to walk on their way back, as that bus will be using 26th Ave. S. both ways, instead of using 27th coming south from Riverside.

Route 5’s schedule is being adjusted to take advantage of Transit Signal Priority, which is coming this fall and will give buses partial control over traffic lights.

Route 11 will have some adjustments related to changes in the schedule at Washburn High School.

Route 39’s schedule will be adjusted to reflect actual travel times.

Mall of America Transit Center Renovations

In other news, renovations that got a false start at the Mall of America Transit Center during the Super Bowl are restarting for real now.

The new Transit Center will be allegedly safer because buses won’t have to cross the light rail tracks anymore. Personally, I don’t believe it will really be any safer because now pedestrians will have to cross the tracks to enter the Mall. At the low speeds involved within the Transit Center, a train and a bus hitting each other are unlikely to hurt people on board; however, a train running into a pedestrian even at 5 miles per hour can cause injury.

On the other hand, buses won’t be delayed by security lines anymore as their entrance will be separate from that for Mall delivery vehicles.

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