Metro Transit Reported as “Average”

What seems like a pretty great mass transit system here in the Twin Cities is actually only, well, average when it comes to getting people to work. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal recently reported that Metro Transit reaches just 30% of all jobs in the Twin Cities, ranking 39th out of 100 for metro areas around the country. So before you accept that new job offer, be sure to check out the bus routes first!


14 thoughts on “Metro Transit Reported as “Average”

  1. Rat

    It’s a lucky man or woman these days who can make a job decision based on whether or not it’s on a bus route. 

  2. billiam

    its not really Metro Transit’s fault that the TC is mega-sprawled out. for that, you should blame the Met Council.

  3. noodleman

    What seems like a pretty great mass transit system here in the Twin Cities …
     
    No way, no how. Average, at best. It’s nice that we have ONE operating LRT route but the bus routing system is in serious need of an overhaul. People need to be able to hop on a bus somewhere other than in either one of the downtowns so they are able to travel from, say Apple Valley to Eden Prairie or Stillwater to Woodbury. The #16 and #21 connect the two big cities but there really isn’t anything providing connections from suburb-to-suburb.
     
    Not everyone works downtown; or lives downtown and works in a suburb.

  4. kc!

    Noodleman, please show me ANY transit system in the US that has good suburb to suburb connections. I’ve done research. None do. That’s not the issue. The issue is we don’t centrally locate jobs.
     
    Rat- I’d say there are thousands and thousands of people who have no choice but to make job decisions based on theterh it is not on a bus line, and those people aren’t lucky. they are carless.

  5. noodleman

    @kc!: I don’t disagree with you. I was taking issue with the “pretty great mass transit system” opinion. Because, frankly, MSP doesn’t have a “pretty great mass transit system.” A “great” transit system would incorporate more suburban-to-suburban routing. Which means MSP is average because, as you state, no other metropolitan area has anything like that, either. Average. MCTO is, simply, average.
     
    Wrt job locations … why centralize the work force? Businesses go where land or leases are cheap(er), and employees like the free parking.
     
    Maybe we should just build a tall, tall, TALL building on each side of the metro. Put everybody (and their pets) inside it: homes, offices, recreation. Then, all we’d need to do is push an elevator button to get to where we need to go. 😉

  6. kc!

    You centralize the work force so that people don’t need free parking because they can take the bus. I know it isn’t really possible, but I’m surprised that many places have better centralization than we do. I wonder if it has something to do with having two major downtowns. All the major employers I can think of have bus service to their main locations.
     
    But take my mom and dad. My dad is self employed and works in different locations every day, so of course he can’t get to work by bus. My mom lives in one suburb and works in another. But I bet there are only 25 people in the whole state that suburb combo, maybe less since she works in Osseo which is tiny. So a bus doesn’t even make sense for 25 total possible riders.

  7. champs

    It hasn’t been a practical strategy to live in the city core and take transit to the suburbs for a 9-5, either. My old bus commute from Uptown to W. Bloomington in its current state works like this: catch the bus at 6:22, because you’re screwed if it doesn’t show up or you miss the 6:54.
     
    That is unless you want to take the 21 back to Uptown, transfer onto a 6, transfer at Southdale… then walk four and a half miles from Normandale CC…

  8. noodleman

    How about having a larger fleet of smaller busses plying the less-dense routes? That tact might offer MCTO more scheduling options and some cost savings. Especially if the busses are LPG- or NPG-powered.

  9. kc!

    Noodle, that already exists. There actually are a lot of suburb to suburb and intra-suburb routes around here. Also small connectors between large routes and shopping areas in the suburbs. But what people are asking is crazy. It isn’t just they want buses to go from suburb to another suburb 3 cities away, they want it to go from their specific location to another specific location. So if a bus picks up two miles from their house and drops off 2 miles from their work, they will still bitch about this. It is impossible to deal with.

  10. noodleman

    Two miles IS a bit of a walk, isn’t it? (A 40-minute walk for the average person.) Parking might be a bitch, too.
     
    I recall the goal in Singapore, 20 years ago when they were planning the expansion of mass transit, was to bring some form of mass transport to within 1/4-mile of 80% of the population. They’ve accomplished much of the goal by extending new MRT heavy-rail, creating neighborhood circulating LRTs [pdf], and “feeder” and loop bus routes. Of course, most of the population there is already located in more densely-populated centers; not sprawled out like most of the MSP population.

  11. kc!

    Two miles is a walk. But it is IMPOSSIBLE, even given unlimited funding, for a bus to go within .25 miles of every single person’s house and place of business, without a connection, in the suburbs. But that’s what they want. And then they want their bus to bring them to Bloomington, and their neighbor’s to Eagan, and their other neighbor to Brooklyn Park. It just isn’t possible.

  12. noodleman

    A 40-minute walk, twice a day, is twice the average commuting time in a private vehicle for a Twin Citian … and that doesn’t even include the subsequent time that would be spent traveling each way on the bus. You do the math. If it’s so easy, please lead us by example for the next 30 days: Walk 16 blocks to a bus stop, and then commute into work. 😉
     
    Again: All I said was that MCTO is NOT “pretty great mass transit.” It’s average. Mass transit that is “pretty great” would be better designed and routed along the lines of what is done elsewhere. Granted, we don’t have the population density needed for something like Singapore’s system. But, sheesh, having to take a bus into downtown STP to travel from, say Oakdale to Woodbury appears (to me, at least) to reflect some very old thinking wrt where we live and where we work.
     
     

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