Southwest Corridor Bus Route Changes

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Tom H.
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Southwest Corridor Bus Route Changes

Postby Tom H. » October 23rd, 2013, 8:25 am

This may or may not be of interest to some, but here are the results from the 2013 Southwest Transit rider survey:

http://www.swtransit.org/2013-rider-survey

Nothing too earth-shattering, but this may give some indication of ridership patterns for people coming from the suburbs into Mpls. Interestingly, approximately 2% of current SWT ridership is reverse commute from Mpls. Also, about 80% of current riders indicated they would continue using the express bus service instead of LRT if and when SWLRT is completed.

Mod note: I moved the discussion about Southwest Corridor bus route changes into a separate topic. Once the SWLRT line is funded and the alignment is set in stone, this discussion will pick up quite a bit. Metro Transit and Southwest Transit will be running their own studies of bus route realignments, additions and subtractions in the coming years, much like they did for Central Corridor and Hiawatha/Blue Line before that.
-twincitizen

bubzki2
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby bubzki2 » October 23rd, 2013, 8:32 am

If true, this belies the arguments that the SWLRT is a mere commuter line. For better or for worse... Of course, people's opinions may change once they've enjoyed a little thing called dedicated ROW.

Tom H.
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Tom H. » October 23rd, 2013, 8:36 am

Of course, it remains to be seen if SWT will keep running express buses at current frequencies (~5 minute headways to downtown in the AM and PM rush hours, ~20 minutes for U of M express) once SWLRT is completed. I think its likely that those frequencies will be reduced (since they'll be somewhat redundant) which will push riders onto LRT with its all-day high-frequency service.

In the middle of the day, SWT runs routes at 1 hour headways, which is certainly a deterrent to ridership.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby FISHMANPET » October 23rd, 2013, 8:42 am

Many moons ago a planner from the Met Council or Metro Transit came in to talk to a class I was teaching and I asked how the SWLRT would change the operations of express buses run by SW Transit. He said that the plan was for no change at all, that express buses would be faster than the train, until congestion got so bad that the bus would be slower than the train, then people would take the train.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby RailBaronYarr » October 23rd, 2013, 8:52 am

I'm not surprised a large chunk will still ride the bus in this case. 37% don't even live in the capture area of the SW Station and use other lines (think people from Waconia, Chaska, Chan, Carver, etc all using the further west stations). And those that drive to the SW Station today see buses arrive every 5 minutes and reach downtown in ~22 minutes. Seems like all of SW Transit saw about 3,800 daily boardings in 2012. Ridership forecasts have between 1,200 and 1,300 boardings at SW Station per day. If 55.97% of riders on SWT today come from EP (2,125), they're either converting over 50% of them or attracting a metric ton of new riders that are currently choosing to not ride a bus but would take a slower, less frequent LRT. Hm.

How much would it save on the project to shave off the Southwest Station and EP Town Center stations?

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby RailBaronYarr » October 23rd, 2013, 8:58 am

FISHMANPET wrote:Many moons ago a planner from the Met Council or Metro Transit came in to talk to a class I was teaching and I asked how the SWLRT would change the operations of express buses run by SW Transit. He said that the plan was for no change at all, that express buses would be faster than the train, until congestion got so bad that the bus would be slower than the train, then people would take the train.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ef1r6O ... e=youtu.be

This video seems to confirm that peak bus service won't change when the LRT opens.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » October 23rd, 2013, 10:22 am

bubzki2 wrote:If true, this belies the arguments that the SWLRT is a mere commuter line. For better or for worse... Of course, people's opinions may change once they've enjoyed a little thing called dedicated ROW.
AFAIK the current SW Transit routes are not very convenient for reverse commuting so I'm not sure these studies really inform anything with respect to Minneapolis residents.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » October 23rd, 2013, 10:27 am

RailBaronYarr wrote:Ridership forecasts have between 1,200 and 1,300 boardings at SW Station per day. If 55.97% of riders on SWT today come from EP (2,125), they're either converting over 50% of them or attracting a metric ton of new riders that are currently choosing to not ride a bus but would take a slower, less frequent LRT. Hm.
Not everyone boarding the LRT at Southwest station is going to downtown Minneapolis. Remember that SW LRT serves a lot more areas than SWT does. The Somali community in Eden Prairie has made it clear that they will be frequent users of the service, for example.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Tom H. » October 23rd, 2013, 10:31 am

True - currently SWT provides no service to Hopkins, Minnetonka, or St Louis Park. There is one new route (694) which goes to Best Buy HQ and Normandale about 10 times per day, and a little bit of Golden Triangle service. Other than that, 99% of the SWT service is direct SW suburbs to Mpls.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby mulad » October 23rd, 2013, 10:36 am

Yeah, SW Transit operates much like the Northstar Line, where most buses go inbound in the morning and layover until the afternoon rush. There's very little reverse service as things stand today.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby FISHMANPET » October 23rd, 2013, 10:37 am

I think it actually makes a lot of sense to still run SW Transit buses out of SW Station. For one, it's quicker, more frequent, and more comfortable (everybody gets a seat) than cramming onto a train. It will drop the riders off closer to their place of work (thanks to the bus lanes going parallel to the green line in downtown). It will reduce crowding on the LRT during rush hour. And the LRT will let SW Transit eliminate some less popular runs outside of rush hour. It could also increase ridership, because people won't be so worried about getting home if they have to leave early/leave late. I bet when the train runs here, there will be quite a few commuters who take a bus one direction and a train the other, because that works best for their schedule.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby RailBaronYarr » October 23rd, 2013, 10:39 am

^ I understand that. I'm just putting out there how many new riders not served by SWT today would be needed at those stations to reach the ridership projections. I think it's fair to really question these figures given the total jobs served between downtown Mpls and EP, and how people from further west of them (in EP) would actually access the stations. In other words, if they're already driving from a suburban home or apartment in to Hopkins, Shady Oak, or Golden Triangle areas (for example), what are the odds these people will drive to a SWS or EPTC parking ramp and wait 3-4 minutes for a train?

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Tcmetro » October 23rd, 2013, 11:01 am

SW Transit operates their express service (all-day) from the park and rides into the city. There is no local service to housing and shopping outside of peak hours. There is a reverse commute route (would imagine it will be eliminated with LRT coming in), but it's really slow. From what I've seen of the 694 crosstown express is that it has really low ridership.

With SW LRT I would imagine that the peak expresses will stay, but the midday, reverse commute, and evening express will be eliminated. I would like to see a large expansion of the local service. I hope that Metro Transit extends the 540 and 542 from Bloomington and the 614 from Minnetonka to SW Station. An EP circulator running every 20 min or so, a local to Chaska and Chanhassen, an Anderson Lakes/Old Shakopee bus, and a LRT shadow to Hopkins Stn would all be good ideas.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » October 23rd, 2013, 11:26 am

Tcmetro wrote:I would like to see a large expansion of the local service. I hope that Metro Transit extends the 540 and 542 from Bloomington and the 614 from Minnetonka to SW Station. An EP circulator running every 20 min or so, a local to Chaska and Chanhassen, an Anderson Lakes/Old Shakopee bus, and a LRT shadow to Hopkins Stn would all be good ideas.
Totally agree with this. Unfortunately, I am not at all confident that SWT gives a rip about local service. And they've already raised holy hell about SW LRT daring to use "their" Southwest Station. I give the chances of Metro Transit running a local service in EP at roughly zero.

The opt-outs were a bad idea all around. Let's get rid of 'em.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Tcmetro » October 23rd, 2013, 12:04 pm

David Greene wrote:
Tcmetro wrote:I would like to see a large expansion of the local service. I hope that Metro Transit extends the 540 and 542 from Bloomington and the 614 from Minnetonka to SW Station. An EP circulator running every 20 min or so, a local to Chaska and Chanhassen, an Anderson Lakes/Old Shakopee bus, and a LRT shadow to Hopkins Stn would all be good ideas.
Totally agree with this. Unfortunately, I am not at all confident that SWT gives a rip about local service. And they've already raised holy hell about SW LRT daring to use "their" Southwest Station. I give the chances of Metro Transit running a local service in EP at roughly zero.

The opt-outs were a bad idea all around. Let's get rid of 'em.
My biggest issue with SW Transit is the fact that their routes constantly change. The planning is usually illogical, the schedules aren't clockface, and they last a year or two until major cuts and eliminations happen. Then they wonder why the ridership is so garbage.

And the fighting between the opt-outs and the Met Council is ridiculous. Eliminate the opt-outs and create regional subareas which get a portion of revenue with competent bus planners to logically allocate service.

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Re: Southwest Corridor (Green Line Extension)

Postby Tom H. » October 23rd, 2013, 12:12 pm

Agreed about the increase in local service - for example, currently there is a 690A which runs down Valley View to 62 & Dell, but only runs inbound 3 times in the AM and outbound 3 times in the PM. There are a lot of apartments and potential riders in this corridor; I for one would use it more often if it ran, say, every 30 minutes mid-day.


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