TRANSIT: National pastime looks to boost transit in the Twin Cities

April 14, 2015

Minneapolis Metro Transit swings for the fences with renewed transit push

As the baseball season gets underway, officials with Minneapolis Metro Transit are looking to get Twins fans on public transit come game time.

Metro Transit is expanding its online ticket sales capability in order to allow fans who take the Twins Express Bus or the Green or Blue Line trains to buy their passes in advance; this advantage has been available to Northstar riders for several seasons. Round-trip light-rail tickets going for $4 on weekdays and $3.50 on weekends and holidays will allow fans to access the Green and Blue Lines up to three hours before the national anthem and delay their return by up to three hours once all the numbers are in. It is hoped that a common complaint lodged by light-rail riders, that trains departing immediately after the game are often overloaded, can now be done away with.

Metro Transit provided 499,834 rides on the Northstar and its two light-rail lines last year, and another 46,166 on buses. The goal for 2015 is to increase those numbers by 5% to a total of 573,000 rides.

The agency has also adjustted its Twins Express Bus service, known as Route 679, which will be running from the County Road 73 Park & Ride Lot off I-394 starting two hours before first pitch. To accommodate fans who need or want to leave early, buses will start return trips two hours after the opening of the game. The last bus will leave Minneapolis one hour after the last out. And like light-rail riders, Twins Express passengers will be able to buy tickets in advance online.

Additionally, the agency began deploying digital billboards, bus advertisements and ad wraps on light-rail cars with such slogans as “Your Ride to a Slice of Summer Fun” and “Your Ride to a Night at the Park With Your Crew.” The ads promote transit via images of fans holding signs that read “Metro Transit takes us to Target Field,” a play off the popular “Circle Me Bert” feature that is part of Twins’ TV broadcasts.

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