You may have read the rumors that Metro Transit is going to cut overnight service on the Green Line, due in part to to too many people using the trains as shelter. It’s a tough situation, to say the least, pitting public transit against the basic human right to security and a roof over one’s head.
As of now, it seems like the cuts are happening, at least according to the latest .pdf presentation from the agency. As part of the decision process, Metro Transit did a survey of overnight riders, asking people on the train where and why they were traveling between 1am and 4am on three different nights.
Here are the results:
(h/t to NUMTOT-Twin Cities for the link to the presentation.)
A little more than half the people onboard agreed to take the survey, and you can see that a large percentage of them were using the train as shelter. (I imagine that many of the people who refused to answer were also in this category, but we do not know that.)
Metro Transit’s next steps? That they are promising to:
- Continue HAT (Homeless Action Team) and Metro HRA (Housing Rental Assistance) efforts
- Coordinate transit service changes, including a replacement bus plan
- Fund additional data analysis to understand needs of people using transit as shelter (pending a Wilder Foundation contract)
- Fund additional case managers to work with individuals to connect them to services and housing
Stay tuned to this developing story, or post your thoughts below.
Very sad situation, my heart goes out to people who are stuck sleeping on a train. I hope they are able to get them into some type of shelter.
I think that saying that the cuts are being made because of people using the train as a shelter (even in part) is pretty unfounded. Does it impact those people – absolutely and we need to find a better solution for them, but the main reasons are about the safety and efficiency of maintenance on the trains and tracks. Why do we have so many regular service interruptions with bus bridges on the Green Line? Largely due to the inability to perform certain maintenance while trains are running.
We should be embarrassed that people need to resort to using the trains for shelter in the first place and the blame falls on the cities, counties, and states for that, not Metro Transit/Council, who doesn’t have authority to provide social services in the first place.
So you’re saying that MT does not have the ability to run trains all night long? If that’s true, why was it originally planned that way?
The original plan was to use buses in the middle of the night.
Huh weird. When or why did they change it?
Yes, Aaron is correct. I remember seeing the service plan that was originally posted for the restructuring when green line started. It had the 16 continuing into DT Minneapolis overnight (from its original terminus in Stadium Village). I believe it was pressure from Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis that caused the change to 24 hour x 7 days service.
Does anyone happen to know how Toronto manages to operate 4 streetcar lines 24/7 at 10-30min frequencies?
You can’t really compare a fully established system that has been around for 150 years and carries 4x the annual passengers to one that has been operating for 15 years. Plus Toronto has a more vibrant nightlife, 2am may be last call (4am during certain festivals) but the bars don’t all shut down at 2am, many will stay open for a few more hours.
Additionally, Toronto has a 2.8 mil population, St. Paul has a .3 mil population.
Toronto is a “24 hour city”, St. Paul is next to an “18 hour city” but is by itself not an 18 hour city.
(This classification of cities based on hours open is used by real estate investors, who tend to be big on identifying growth opportunities in 18 hour cities. I think it’s a pretty useful designation even outside of investing as 24 hour cities will probably see outflows into 18 hour cities as young professionals tend to seek reasonable housing costs when their biological clocks start ticking. Their 24 hour urban sensibilities will come with them and they will push for more and better transit, walkability, bike lanes, etc. At least that’s my opinion)
What I was getting at was maintenance-related, not service-related.
The differences between the EB and WB are interesting. At least for the 1:17 train, the EB appears to be bringing home a number of late night bar patrons and late night employees. The WB…not so much. This feels right to me. I’ve caught that train on a number of occasions after a concert or theater performance followed by dessert and drinks. By 2:17, I’ve given up and either caught a cab or a Lyft. Saint Paul just doesn’t have the night-life or late night employees who need a WB train back to Mpls.
It’s too bad the people who rely on the train to get to and from work at night will have another hoop to jump through in order to get to their homes/jobs.