BY JOHN CHARLES WILSON
Metro Transit’s last round of schedule changes took effect on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. Those changes were mostly minor adjustments. The biggest change was the reopening of 8th Street in downtown Minneapolis. The following is a list of changes that affect the Southside Pride readership area:
Routes which were temporarily moved from 8th Street to 6th Street in downtown Minneapolis for construction returned to 8th Street. These include the C Line and Routes 5, 9, 19, 22, 39 and 755.
Rush hour trips that were temporarily abolished due to a shortage of bus drivers have been restored on Routes 5, 21, 22, 53, 74, 133, 553, 554, 663 and 721.
Other minor schedule adjustments occurred on the C Line and Routes 5, 22, 94, 355, 535, 554, 558 and 597.
Rush hour frequency was reduced on Routes 94, 355, 535 and 597.
In other transit news around the Metro area, the Northstar commuter rail service turned 10 in 2019. There is a study pending to consider whether to finally extend the service to Saint Cloud as originally intended. Currently, riders must use a shuttle bus between Big Lake and Saint Cloud, and the schedule doesn’t enable weekend day trips for Twin Cities residents to visit Saint Cloud. This extension would thus be a major incentive for tourism. A public meeting on this will be held Jan. 30, 2020, at the Saint Cloud Public Library.
Route 6 may be getting a significant makeover as the E Line in a few years. The E Line is intended to run from Dinkytown to Southdale via Hennepin, West 44th Street and France Avenue, stopping about once every four blocks. For those of us who need to get closer to our destinations, regular, stop-every-block Route 6 service will continue from downtown Minneapolis to Fuddrucker’s via Hennepin and Xerxes Avenues.
The new Mall of America Transit Center opened at the end of 2019! A mere few steps from the bus or train, and you’re in the mall now! As you know, the Transit Center used to be separate from the mall, and you had to go up an elevator or escalator to get in the parking garage, then cross an internal driveway to get to the mall itself. That complicated hooey is no more! Unfortunately for the homeless, it still closes after the last train leaves for the night. As they say, home is where the heart is, and the homeless aren’t what the powers that be have a heart about, unless there’s money in it …
Hint: there’s lots of money, and sometimes free transit, in special events. Minnesota Wild hockey games at Xcel Center on Saturdays are also sources of free transit rides. The passes are available at the Wild website. These passes are good from two hours before the game starts until two hours after it ends.