Chart of the Day: Metro Transit Local Bus Routes by Number of Branches

Inspired by a conversation yesterday, here are all of Metro Transit’s local bus routes, ranked by number of branches. The information was gleaned by manually (!) going through them on, so there may be a margin of error.

Bus routes ranked by branchesMany branches! Here are all the branches:

2, 2A, 2C, 2E, 3, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3E, 3K, 3U, 4, 4B, 4G, 4L, 4P, 5, 5A, 5B, 5E, 5F, 5K, 5L, 5M, 6, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D, 6E, 6F, 6G, 6K, 6U, 7, 7A, 7B, 7C, 7E, 9, 9A, 9B, 9C, 9D, 9H, 9N, 9P, 10, 10H, 10N, 10U, 11, 11A, 11C, 11D, 11X, 12, 12B, 12C, 12D, 12F, 12G, 12K, 12H, 12X, 14, 14B, 14C, 14D, 14E, 14L, 14N, 14R, 16, 17, 17A, 17B, 17C, 17D, 17F, 17W, 17X, 18, 18A, 18C, 18D, 18E, 18G, 18X, 19, 19B, 19H, 19Y, 20, 21, 21A, 21C, 21D, 21E, 22, 22A, 22B, 22C, 22D, 22F, 22G, 22H, 22X, 23, 23B, 23C, 23H, 25, 25A, 25D, 25L, 25N, 27, 30, 30A, 30B, 32A, 32B, 32C, 32D, 32E, 32F, 39, 46A, 46B, 46C, 46E, 46X, 53, 54, 59, 59A, 59B, 59C, 59T, 61, 61B, 61C, 62, 62B, 62C, 62D, 62L, 63, 63B, 63K, 63S, 64, 64D, 64H, 64N, 65, 67, 67A, 67C, 68, 68C, 68D, 68E, 68F, 68G, 68J, 68M, 70, 70B, 70D, 70S, 71, 71A, 71B, 71C, 71D, 71E, 71F, 71H, 71K, 71L, 71M, 74, 74A, 74G, 74S, 75, 75B, 75D, 75E, 75F, 80, 83, 84, 84D, 84F, 84H, 84X, 87

Some highlights:

  • 10U looks like I.O.U.
  • There is a 3A and a 3C, which is funny
  • The 3G is faster than the 4G, which is also funny
  • The 75F is always just the right temperature, there is no need for air conditioning or heat
  • The 5K’s route is considerably longer than a 5K

It is a little confusing and daunting, but it’s not immediately clear how it could be simpler–there are a lot of 6s, for example, but it would be just as confusing for people to have to remember that there are a bunch of differently numbered routes heading south on Hennepin Avenue. Kind of a trade off.

Nick Magrino

About Nick Magrino

Nick Magrino grew up all over the place but has lived in the Loring Park neighborhood of Minneapolis longer than anywhere else. He has a new cat, Sweater, and does not use hashtags at @nickmagrino. He is probably on a bus right now.

7 thoughts on “Chart of the Day: Metro Transit Local Bus Routes by Number of Branches

  1. Alex

    As a #3 expert:

    What 3G? There is no 3G.

    Not listed is the 3S, which only runs on Saturday evenings, for a whopping 3 entire runs in a given week.

    And even among the various branches of the 3, even the same branch can actually have varying routes. Sometimes the 3A and 3B serve Elm-Kasota like a long version of the 3K, but usually they stay on Como. Early on weekday mornings, there is an eastbound 3A that starts at Snelling, thus never serving Downtown Minneapolis or the U of M. Sometimes the eastbound 3E starts on the West Bank of the U of M, but other eastbound 3E runs start in Downtown Minneapolis. Lastly, the westbound 3 (all branches except 3U) sometimes continues past Downtown Minneapolis through the North Loop to end at the 5th Street Garage (these are usually signed “Target Field”), but sometimes they end at 4th & Hennepin.

    The lesson in all this is that Metro Transit bus routes can be very complicated and confusing. It pays to check the schedule in advance so you know exactly where your bus goes.

  2. Monte Castleman

    Is it any wonder that people who don’t ride buses have no clue how they would start? At least I can figure out the Green and Blue lines (as well as every rail system I’ve ridden in cities I’ve visited)

  3. g bernard hughes

    how about trying to figure out how to get from the green line to a bus? im lucky causr i know that to catch the 2 going south i have to turn left when i get off the train & then walk a fair distance. to catch the 7 or the 22 i know i have to either cross cedar (for the 22) or cross whatever that little street is north of the hub to catch the 7.

    but there is NO signage telling me that.

    there should be some attention paid to connecting the green line with the bus system.

    the blue line is better in this regard, in that the bus stops are often right where the train stops.

  4. Ben Schweigert

    “it’s not immediately clear how it could be simpler”

    It seems to me that, in addition to the improved wayfinding information that other comments call for, the numbering system itself could be better. How about reserving the unlettered route designations (e.g., “4”) for whatever version of the route is the longest, most regular, and follows the most intuitive path. Then use the letters for those that do weird, unexpected things: terminating early, following alternative paths through neighborhoods, etc.

    Following this rule of thumb would mean that, if you got on the 4, for example, you could generally expect that it would take you all the way down Lyndale. But if you got on the 4A, or whatever, you would be on notice that something else might happen, and maybe you should consult the route map or ask the driver.


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