Saturday September 30th 2023

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Metro Transit: December Disaster!


The latest news out of Metro Transit isn’t good. Thanks to a shortage of drivers, one of the worst cutbacks in recent years is coming soon. Unlike past cutbacks, this isn’t due to lack of funding, lack of riders, or a pandemic. It is literally because they can’t hire enough drivers.

As of 15 October 2022, Route 27 (26th/28th Streets between Hiawatha and I-35W) has been suspended. People are recommended to take Route 21 (Lake Street) instead.

In addition, the following cutbacks in the Phillips community will start 3 December 2022:
The Orange Line will be reduced from once every 15 minutes to once every half hour during the weekday midday period.
Route 9 is being reduced from once every half hour to once an hour except during rush hours.
Route 67 is being reduced from once every half hour to once an hour except during rush hours.

Many other transit routes in various areas of the Twin Cities are also being cut. However, the 9 and the 67 are pretty important to Phillips as they run along Franklin Avenue. The 9 provides access to downtown Minneapolis, Saint Louis Park, and the Longfellow area. The 67 makes it possible for people to go from Phillips to Saint Paul. It is hard to imagine what it will be like with these buses only running once an hour.
I have information that Metro Transit is raising its starting wage from about $21 per hour to $26.65 per hour. Hopefully, this will help overcome the safety concerns and the better opportunities for Commercial Driver’s License holders that have made it difficult for Metro Transit to hire enough drivers. Driving transit used to be considered a desirable job. It should be once again.

The only good news coming this December is the opening of the brand new D Line, which will run every 10-20 minutes and only stop at major intersections. Within Phillips, the Chicago Avenue stops will be at Franklin Avenue, 24th Street, 26th Street, and the Chicago-Lake Transit Center. (I thought this was supposed to be closed and replaced with stops directly on Chicago Avenue and Lake Street but apparently not.) Route 5 will still run, but only once an hour. Routes 39 and 133, which were suspended due to COVID, will be permanently replaced by the D Line.

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