Let’s Fix What We Can on the Red Line

While I would love to berate the Red Line for bad planning/engineering with an “offline” station, making pedestrians as unwelcome as possible or the general confusion of why the metro needed the line, but let’s try to be positive and constructive instead.  Here are some easy and rather cheap improvements to the Red Line that we could start right away.


On the other hand… I felt like death was near, 3+ lanes on either side of me at freeway speeds.

Ticket Machines

Where are they? Really, where are they? The system has been open for thirteen months now, I doubt this is just a backlog of orders at this point. I know they were part of the original plan, their signs are bolted onto your stations, so where are the machines?


Tickets, just dig through the concrete.


This isn’t a directional problem, both stations lacked a machine.

Otherwise, take down this sign;


Paid Fare Zone… so I can only stand here when I get off the bus? You don’t let me pay before I get on.


While I don’t often ride the Red Line, I have been told off by a bus driver for assuming I could board through the back door, a principle of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Instead, the driver refused to open the back door and made me use my transfer as if I was on a normal city bus. I am not opposed to showing that I have paid, but the concept of any off-board fare collection is that you have checks (or barriers, but that’s expensive and hard), and have high enough penalties that if you’re caught, it would have been better just to pay for every ride you’ve ever taken, or even thought of taking.

Practice Coming to a Stop

A few drivers are very good at this skill, being able to eliminate almost any gap between the floor of the bus and the platform. Others… not so much. I get it, not banging up the front right of the bus takes a lot of effort and it’s a hard skill to learn. But the Red Line needs to improve on this. Level boarding doesn’t mean anything if you have to jump across the chasm.


This driver is really good at this. S/he took his time, but s/he got right up to the platform.

Keep up the Good Work at Cedar Grove

With a new platform being planned for the median of the freeway I can tell you that your ridership will explode! (Also the new mall opening up next door). Report should be out soon.

Joseph Totten

About Joseph Totten

Joe is a graduate of Civil Engineering-Transportation and Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota, and has a masters degree from Portland State University. Born and raised in Saint Paul, Joe has worked with nonprofits and public agencies in MSP and Portland.