Twin Cities Light Rail Cuts Overnight Service, Displaces Hundreds of Homeless Riders
Janet Moore reports on service changes on the Green Line of Metro Transit in Minneapolis, designed for the purposes of system maintenance but also having the effect of scattering homeless populations. The service changes cut overnight service, using shuttles to replace light rail Sunday through Thursday from 2 am to 4 am.
According to Moore, the Metro Transit Police Department's Homeless Action Team, Ramsey County and St. Paul law enforcement, and social service groups have been on hand following the service change to offer access to shelters.
"The number of homeless people using light-rail trains as shelter largely depends on the weather and tends to surge as the temperature dips. One count taken Jan. 23 by Minneapolis-based St. Stephen's Human Services found 431 people seeking shelter on trains and at transit stations," reports Moore.
According to an article by Angie Schmitt for Streetsblog USA, the effort to scatter homelessness will also affect "working class riders who just want to get home." Schmitt also notes that the line "is clearly a crucial causeway for workers, families, students, as well as the homeless especially during the Twin Cities’s [sic] notorious cold snaps." Schmitt suggests that the service changes are designed deliberately to scatter homeless populations.