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Work Begins on Second Twin Cities BRT Line

Representatives of Metro Transit, the Metropolitan Council and other municipalities in the ­Minneapolis-St. Paul region recently broke ground for the public transit agency’s second BRT line, the C Line, scheduled to enter service next year.

The C Line will replace an existing bus route that connects the city of Brooklyn Center, MN, with Minneapolis. The current route provides more than 7,000 rides each weekday and Metro Transit estimates that BRT ridership will grow to 9,000 rides a day by 2030. Ridership on the region’s first rapid bus line, the A Line that serves both Minneapolis and St. Paul, has increased by more than a third since it entered operation in 2016.

“We know that our region will add 700,000 more people between now and 2040—that’s nearly the entire state of North Dakota moving to the seven-county metro,” said Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff. “With it, they’ll bring an 80 percent increase in transit demand. The C Line is the next step toward building out a regional transit system that will help us compete with peer regions all across the country.”

Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb, fifth from left, joins other area leaders at ground-breaking ceremonies for C Line BRT.

The C Line will operate with 60-foot buses; much of the fleet will be fully electric, running on rechargeable batteries. The service is expected to perform up to 25 percent faster than the current local service, with stations placed farther apart along the route and technology that will allow buses to request green lights. Riders also will be able to purchase fares before they board at stations that offer amenities including real-time signs, security cameras and heaters.

Metro Transit may expand BRT service to at least 10 additional corridors in the future, which would connect 200,000 people a day to almost half a million jobs across the region. Gov. Mark Dayton has included $50 million in his bonding proposal for future rapid bus lines and BRT service, which operates on highways.

“The C Line will improve transportation choices, reduce congestion and connect hundreds of thousands of people with jobs,” the governor said in a statement. “We must continue to develop a comprehensive transit system that will allow the Twin Cities metropolitan area and state of Minnesota to grow and compete. Projects like the C Line are essential to the long-term vitality of our communities.”

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