Metro Transit not sweating report indicating Green Line LRT is slower than bus

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@CCLRT
The 11-mile Green Line cost $957 million.
MPR recently tracked four Green Line test runs from downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis and back again to see how long the trip takes. The results weren't pretty, but Metro Transit isn't worried about it at this point.

The average trip from Union Depot Station to Target Field Station took one hour, 10 minutes, with the ride back to St. Paul only six minutes shorter. That's dramatically longer than the original 39 minute estimate. (That estimate, it should be noted, came before stops were added at Hamline Avenue, Victoria Street, and Western Avenue.)

See also:
Green Line LRT won't run late enough to get you home at bar close time

In fact, MPR's numbers indicate the Green Line is slower than the tried-and-true Route 16 bus, which has a peak rush hour travel time of 63 minutes from downtown to downtown, according to Metro Transit statistics.

But Metro Transit Public Relations Manager John Siqveland says the Green Line won't take more than an hour once riders are able to ride the trains for real on June 14.

"That's what this period is for -- optimizing signalization and training those 120 rail operators and getting them familiar with the line," he tells us. "The acceleration zones, deceleration zones -- all those sorts of things is what is happening right now during testing and training."

Siqveland says he anticipates the process will be similar to what happened with the Blue Line, where "both leading up to the festivities of the opening weekend and the start of regular service and beyond there was a series of continual improvements."

Still, if you're in a hurry to get from downtown to downtown and don't have a car, you might not want to throw away that Route 94 bus schedule quite yet.

To watch a cool time-lapse tour of the entire Green Line route, click here.

:::: UPDATE ::::

Moments after this was published, Metro Transit distributed a press release trumpeting that the Green Line has already attracted $2.5 billion worth of new construction and redevelopment projects in the Central Corridor area since engineering work first began about five years ago. So, travel times aside, there's that.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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71 comments
dktbarton
dktbarton

Don't throw away your 94 schedule? You might as well if you want to go from St. Paul to Minneapolis on weekends since weekend service will be eliminated, despite that the 94 is the fastest, best way of getting from downtown to downtown outside of driving. Even the 16 service has been trashed since it goes only to the U and not as often, and then you have to catch the Green Line if you want to go to downtown Minneapolis. And the 50 and 144 are gone too, both quicker ways to get to St. Paul than the 16. Since the Blue and Green Lines share tracks once they get to the Dome area, won't that possibly slow up the Blue Line too? The Green Line is not good for people who want to get from downtown to downtown because it's too slow and its costs have eliminated some of the better alternatives, and it isn't better for many people who want to go a short distance on University Avenue since there are fewer stops and lots of people don't live near the new stations. There's also more wheelchair riders on this route than average, and that will affect them. Then there's safety with accidents waiting to happen and who feels safer on a train than on a bus with an actual driver and his phone nearby? And I can only imagine what Snelling and University will be like at fair time. This project wasted a lot of money and killed many small businesses, and the only winners, as usual, are the developers and probably the sports teams as their non-bus-rider fans, usually from the suburbs, like light rail to get to and from their cars on game day.  

stephansonprop
stephansonprop

Why would a government employee sweat an expensive failure, that's not a problem, it's a par for the course.

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

Silly trains, density.  What a ruse.  All these idiotic subsidies fleecing the taxpayer.   These losers won't wake up even when the DFL and the Green Commies take 60% of your income in the name of saving the earth.  Face it, people want the freedom of their car, the market wants it too.   Take a Bus or some other mode, this boondoggle train stuff will be a rat hole. 

Shane Willis
Shane Willis

Smooth rides to DT St. Paul are coming, and I might even start going there on a much more regular basis, same goes I am sure for some St Paul residents, to finally start coming to Mpls...lol

Shane Willis
Shane Willis

When all is said and done, the trip will get down to 50 mins and they may add another three car train to ensure enough are running and the decision was made to go late into the night, last month, I thought I heard..?

Julie Nordin Benick
Julie Nordin Benick

I have been looking forward to this but won't ride if they can't reduce that time - good grief

Calvin Woody
Calvin Woody

How do you express a train that runs along University Ave? It has to obey the same lights as the rest of the traffic.. They should have built it along the highway

JoEllen M Lippitt
JoEllen M Lippitt

They had better speed it up. Who wants to spend 70 min on a train. It only takes 15-20min to drive.

Keith Morris
Keith Morris

Just realized it'll be one month from today on a Saturday when I'll check it out for free: looking forward to it! Still, if the trains have signal priority which the article said they're working on, then it should be a good deal faster than over an hour and I'm betting they will use this feature regularly once the trains are running for real instead of now to make cross traffic wait for an empty train to board non-existent passengers. If the whiners want to live in a city that is all about cars cars cars there are plenty of other Midwestern cities that do just that and don't invest in mass transit or bike infrastructure. And they're dying cities. Join the future or be left behind.

Erica Milner
Erica Milner

What I find most unfortunate is that there wasn't even a discussion about an express line. What's the point in connecting two major cities when it isn't any more efficient (time-wise) than the current options of bus or car?

Calvin Woody
Calvin Woody

I always said that the LTR should have been used as an Express Shuttle along the Highways on the Frontage roads or even on the highways.. They are basically being used as a unnecessary showcase up and down popular and busy city streets.

Johna Cathleen Green
Johna Cathleen Green

You might wanna look into that, the 94 is going to change; it will only run during rush hour & it wont go from downtown to downtown.

vufanatic
vufanatic

Once this thing is up and running, Metro Transit will post these huge ridership numbers. What they won't tell you is this:


1. The number of "new" people riding are simply people who used to ride bus routes that were cancelled or service reduced on them and


2. The "large" number of U of M students who will ride it only to get across the river (LOL!)

Carlos Xavier
Carlos Xavier

Well spent money smart people.... I rather run or take my bike

tatataraf
tatataraf

I am a 25-year commuter from St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis. My commute is roughly 9 miles. I generally take the 94B bus and the bus ride takes about 20-30. Supposedly when Light Rail goes live they'll keep the 94 route, but reduce service. They'll also eliminate my stop. So my options are to walk a mile into downtown St. Paul, walk a mile to Light Rail, drive to one of those spots and either pay for parking or park in a residential neighborhood and annoy the residents or drive to downtown Minneapolis. None is appealing; however, if it's going to take me an hour to go 9 miles, I'd rather drive. I'm so disappointed that this new service will make things worse. And I can't believe it will take me more than 1/2 hour to go 9 very direct miles.

Mark Ostapchuk
Mark Ostapchuk

94B runs about 30 minutes between downtowns (with a stop @ Snelling Ave). Does it make sense to keep 94B current schedule until University rail comes up with a faster commute?

Brian Matthew Hart
Brian Matthew Hart

are all you people complaining car owners? probably a surprise to you, but noy everyone owns a car. although it's not a bullet train, this is a step in the right direction as far as catching up with public transportation needs in a 21st century major city. and @sco kel, ridership averages 267,700 on a weekday, average for a new cadillac is $40k - totalling almost $11B to buy 'every one of the riders a brand new cadillac' ... what about wasting money?

Genna Anderson
Genna Anderson

If the line ran like a true train (stopping every mile or so) and not as a "bus on tracks" (stopping in essence every other block) the trip time would be much more convenient.

Sco Kel
Sco Kel

Just think, with all the money we spent on trains, we could have bought every one of the riders a brand new cadillac. It's shameful how we waste money.

hoffm83n
hoffm83n

"People are riding it are saying, 'Hey, it's taking too long.' It's kind of like letting you in the house before it's even finished," he said. "We'd prefer not to let you in until it's finished, but everyone wants to see it. Then people get into the new house and say, 'We don't like this, we don't like that.' Well, we told you it wasn't done yet."

Daego Piech
Daego Piech

But it is weaving around turning all the traffic behind it into a confused gauntlet?

Matt Connell
Matt Connell

They need too coordinate the traffic lights with the train schedule, imo.

Geoff Pursell
Geoff Pursell

Keep in mind this was *before* they hooked up the equipment that lets the trains and stoplights talk to each other. But we should still let them hear that we want these things to go faster. The speed at which they proceed is mostly a policy choice.

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

Yet another entitlement.  

If Metro Transit charged what it really costs for energy, salaries, maintenance, and amortized replacement costs - nobody would be riding.

Forget about the price for building it - they riders don't even pay for the operational costs.

Brady Hegberg
Brady Hegberg

I don't think they can have express trains unless they add places for trains to pass each other.

mpls
mpls

An hour to get from one dt to the other?! Yikes 

John Anderson
John Anderson

It's new you need to break it in plus good for the U of M students

Megan Vogt Schaack
Megan Vogt Schaack

Like it hasn't taken me an hour to do it in a car in rush hour? Just add express trains to the line to speed it up. Standard practice.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

what do i care, i have a car and a truck!

Michelle Splittstoesser
Michelle Splittstoesser

I will get to know St. Paul better. I live in Minneapolis. I ride the train all the time. I don't have a car.

Kevin Jay
Kevin Jay

more people have died from LRT accidents than conceal carry

Dorea Ruggles
Dorea Ruggles

I commute on the 50 (the faster, limited stop version of the 16). My bus has raced test trains several times in the last couple weeks, and the train has eventually beat us every time. The buses have to stop for lights too... and navigate traffic, and kneel for wheelchairs, and allow passengers on one-by-one at a single door while paying at the same time (you would not believe the number of people who still pay with cash). The train will be an improvement - fewer stops, more streamlined function. It will attract riders who are uncomfortable with buses.

Lindsey Clarke
Lindsey Clarke

I did not have money forces out of my tiny paychecks for this joke. Why can't this city get anything right? FIX IT. This won't entice people to get out of their cars it wi be the same as always - people without them having to use it

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

STOP CONSTRUCTION - 70 MINUTE TRAIN RIDES ARE FUCKED !!!!

Andrew Olson
Andrew Olson

What's a billion dollars amongst friends?

Donald James Stewart
Donald James Stewart

Well that's what happens when you run a train down the middle of a busy blvd. What the hell did you people expect!

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

@kurt124 The liberals love this mid 19th century technology.  Completely inflexible, can only operate on rails that cost $10,000,000 or more a mile.   As far as all the ugly cables - well that's OK with them - cause it's all for a good purpose - entitlements.   Trains are a monument to their power - where as a bus is not a monument, doesn't need any special infrastructure - so the flexible / inexpensive bus loses - no flash - no sense of permanence.  

An added benefit to LRT is that it fucks up auto traffic.   This is good.  This punishes bourgeois auto drivers that are destroying the planet. 

At the same time we take tax dollars allocated to roads, paid by the bourgeois auto drivers and redistribute them to Transit.   What a cunning redistribution of income.

vufanatic
vufanatic

You got that right. I am just projecting, but based on what they did to certain bus routes when the Hiawatha line opened, the 94 will probably run from DT Minneapolis only as far to the Rice St. Station. Then riders will have to get off there and take the light rail into downtown. Why would they do something that seems so silly? Easy. It increases the ridership numbers for the light rail (even if people only ride it a few blocks). Big ridership numbers (whether real or not) ensures continued funding from the state and federal government. That's how the Met Counsel fucks over tax payers for these pet projects to ensure their ridiculous salaries.   

vufanatic
vufanatic

@tatataraf  The green line is basically a $1 billion route 50. Waste of money and time. And no one from the suburbs are going to ride this thing to get to work (unlike the blue line).

savvyspy
savvyspy

You would be exactly right if your statement was at all factual. Unfortunately like most austerity arguments facts tend to diminish the impact of one over-generalizing incorrect statement.


It's shameful how we waste people's time with poor reasoning skills.

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

@mpls Not only that - they f**ked up University ave, the same way they f**ked up Hiawatha.   They say that LRT will bring more economic growth.   I'll tell you, there's a lot of people - not from the immediate University neighborhood - that will make it a point to steer clear of that cluster f**k.   It should have gone down the center of I-94.  Ruined a good alternate urban route.

BHDickerson
BHDickerson

maybe you should move somewhere else.

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