You might have heard that transit ridership is down overall in the United States of America. Nobody seems to know quite why, though some suspect is has something to do with gas prices or ride-sharing companies or technology or something. Well, the good news is that Minneapolis/Saint Paul isn’t so bad compared to other cities (hello Milwaukee!). Here’s the relevant chart, with the Twin Cities metro circled for your ease):
This is all from a Citylab article, where they also suggest some common sense bus tweaks that might help offset the decline:
There are plenty of strategies at transit agencies’ disposal that are proven to get buses moving faster. In addition to dedicated lanes, cities can design streets with “bus bulb-outs” that allow buses to pick up passengers without blocking traffic, and optimize traffic-light timing using “transit signal priority” to help buses catch lights before they turn red. Transit agencies can allow riders to board through all doors, and install 21st-century fare payment technology to reduce the time buses spend at bus stops.
Knowing as I do the limits of the Metro Transit budget and local political will, I am cautiously optimistic that we will do any of these kinds of things. Though I must note that there will be trial Hennepin Avenue bus-only lane coming up? That would help a great deal with the #6 bus, which could be great, but is often stuck in traffic instead.
See also: Canada.
To keep riders people want fast and frequent services .
Metro transit can restructure some routes,eliminate some expensive commuters and poor patronized routes where there are alternate routes nearby.MT is top heavy with commuter routes with excessive deadheading only Seattle have excessive deadheading like MT.
Eliminate PAPER transfer charge extra for transfers so people can switch to cash less .
Reduce the many useless branches and consolidate stops.
Run more limited stops with bigger buses on major Streets such as HENN,LAKE .
6 can run limited stops on HENN since #17-4 available for local.
21 A convert to Limited Stops on LAke/Marshall.
Add more routes with FAST and Frequent /High Freq Lines every 15mins or better on at least 20 routes .
Route 4 all routing between SL Village and 46th St station via 10th Ave to 4th St ,restructure the branches to the Orange line .
Rt 3 run via 6U routing replacing it ,move off Rice to Jackson to eliminate duplication so #62 can become a true Hi-freq line.
68 Robert St to Mendota every15mins .(eliminate underused 415/417 and 452)
Rt 134 eliminate and use the
resources to improve #63/74 /68 for 15mins services
Rts 27/39/111/115( off peak 113/114 all have many alternatives .
#14 on Broadway run every15mins by replacing the redundant #7C with #30 on Plymouth.
#22 on Lyndale run 15mins headways
#23 run every20mins midday/peak
I think Metro Transit generally is doing a good job, especially relative to their peers. This chart confirms it, but so does my experience with SEPTA here in Philadelphia. Bus ridership is falling because the city is so far behind with regard to bus improvements.
Imagine how good they’d be doing if they had fully funded the aBRT plans from the beginning.
I wonder if some of this decline is a by-product of the expanded development of bikeable cities and walkable neighborhoods. I use the transit a lot less than I used to simply because a larger fraction of my transportation needs can be met by walking.
A historical note — back in the 1890’s there was a bicycling “craze” and the set streetcar companies in Minneapolis and elsewhere tried to have restrictions placed on bicycles to preserve their ridership — I wonder if the MTC will try something similar against modern-day walkers and cyclists.
I think the biggest problem is that the current route structure is basically the same as the old streetcar route structure which was really a hub-and-spoke with Downtown (aka “the Loop”) as the hub. If you trip is not Downtown centric bus service is scanty. A high- frequency North-South route is not too useful to me if I need to go East or West,