Case Study: Bus Ridership Success in the Twin Cities
"The reviews are in for the Twin Cities’ first enhanced bus route — the A Line — and riders want more," according to an article by Angie Schmitt.
"Metro Transit calls the service arterial Bus Rapid Transit, or 'aBRT,' but the A Line has no dedicated right of way as it runs along Snelling Avenue," explains Schmitt. "Instead, the A Line has features that should be common on most bus routes."
That last point is the key to A Line's success in the Twin Cities. The kinds of service improvements Schmitt lists aren't innovations, invented by Elon Musk or someone at Sidewalk Labs. These are service improvements in place already all over the world, either in part or in total, that are proven to increase transit ridership. Whether transit is a real world priority or just a priority in press releases all depends on political leadership from politicians and planners.
The A Line has increased ridership by 30 percent since improvements were completed in 2016. That resounding success is clearing the way for more upgrades to other routes in the system. Schmitt provides more information:
Governor Mark Dayton has proposed $50 million in bonding for similar improvements to other bus routes. And the Pioneer Press gave this approach a resounding endorsement, saying the A Line is a good value that can be replicated quickly and help the region meet the needs of its growing population.