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Friday May 27th 2022

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Transit Waves of the Future

METRO TRANSIT

by JOHN CHARLES WILSON

With the COVID emergency drawing to a close, and all the new transit coming to the Twin Cities in the near future, I decided it”™s time to write about exciting new concepts in transit that may benefit you someday.

Bus Rapid Transit is making headway (pun intended for you transit insiders*) in South Minneapolis and the southern suburbs. The Orange Line is almost ready to start rolling down I-35W,  the D Line is coming to Chicago Avenue next year, and the B Line is supposed to come to Lake Street in 2024, and may even have a dedicated bus lane.

Another exciting new development for outer suburbs and small towns is called “microtransit”. Microtransit is a modernized version of dial-a-ride service; however, instead of having to call a day in advance, you now only need to use a smartphone app to order your custom ride, often only minutes before you need it. This will make the concept appealing to more people. In the Twin Cities, the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority has a service called MVTA Connect; Southwest Transit operates SW Prime; Plymouth Metrolink has the Dial-a-Ride service that was recently converted to a smartphone app; and Maple Grove Transit operates a microtransit system called My Ride. Only the Met Council”™s Transit Link, which serves parts of the seven counties that are not near fixed-route transit, still requires a phone call at least two hours in advance. However, the march of technology will probably soon put this into an app as well. 

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*In the transit industry, a “headway” is the time between vehicles on a route. For example, a 10 minute headway means the bus or train comes every 10 minutes.

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