Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

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intercomnut
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Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby intercomnut » October 30th, 2015, 8:09 pm

Figured we should have some sort of thread to discuss the suburban transit agencies (currently AFAIK SouthWest Transit, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, Maple Grove Transit, and Plymouth Metrolink.

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LRV Op Dude
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Re: Suburban Transit

Postby LRV Op Dude » October 30th, 2015, 8:17 pm

Maple Grove Transit extends cotract with Metro Transit until 2018.
Blog: Old-Twin Cities Transit New-Twin Cities Transit

You Tube: Old, New

AKA: Bus Driver Dude

intercomnut
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Re: Suburban Transit

Postby intercomnut » October 30th, 2015, 8:53 pm

MVTA, SWT, Plymouth Metrolink (which is now operated by SWT), and Maple Grove Transit are going to be cooperating (large PDF) to set up a demonstration suburb-to-suburb bus service. This is funded by $2 million from the state.

According to MVTA meeting notes (large PDF):
Service will include 18 one-way trips per weekday, serving Marschall Road Transit Station (Shakopee), SouthWest Station (Eden Prairie), Hopkins Crossroads, Station 73 (Plymouth) and Maple Grove Station. There will also be service to the Golden Triangle Area of Eden Prairie.

The focus will be on service on peak commute hours, and will provide 30-minute service. Riders will receive a one-seat ride from between (sic) Station 73 in Plymouth and Shakopee, with a second bus transporting riders between Station 73 and Maple Grove. A Marketing plan is currently being developed and will include contact with employers along the corridor.

[The Suburban Transit Association] is expected to approve the final logistics at its meeting in October and service will be rolled-out in early 2016.
Looking back at the meeting notes from SWT, the route will run along 169 and 494. I'd love to look at some meeting notes from the STA, but their website hasn't been updated since before Laker Lines and Shakopee Transit/Blue Xpress merged into the MVTA.

Anyways, here's my rough guess of what the 2 routes will look like:



I marked major P&Rs, though there will probably be many intermediate stops (such as on Hopkins Crossroads and in Golden Triangle) that I haven't marked. Also, I only sketched out the NB routes. Also note that when leaving SW Station, the bus would take its little shortcut to get onto 212, but Google won't let me do that.

intercomnut
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Re: Suburban Transit

Postby intercomnut » October 30th, 2015, 9:01 pm

Also, looks like SWT was considering adding service to the Mall of America from their Highway 212 Park and Rides. Though it says that the service, "if it does come to fruition," was supposed to start by early October, so who knows if this is even still going on.

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Re: Suburban Transit

Postby Tcmetro » October 30th, 2015, 11:06 pm

SWT has had various iterations of a Mall of America service, yet they never seem to last. I would hope that they don't make the same mistake again.

If SWT really wanted to make a useful service, they could run a shuttle that connects Hopkins to Bloomington via Eden Prairie and gain ridership from transfers to Metro Transit buses.

intercomnut
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Re: Suburban Transit

Postby intercomnut » October 31st, 2015, 1:43 pm

Tcmetro wrote:SWT has had various iterations of a Mall of America service, yet they never seem to last. I would hope that they don't make the same mistake again.

If SWT really wanted to make a useful service, they could run a shuttle that connects Hopkins to Bloomington via Eden Prairie and gain ridership from transfers to Metro Transit buses.
Yeah, off the top of my head I can't see any value coming from that move other than connecting dots on a map.

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Re: Suburban Transit

Postby SteveXC500 » November 2nd, 2015, 1:01 pm

I've often felt there should be buses which run around the 494/694 loop. Not everyone needs to make trips exclusively from the suburbs to the DT areas, granted many do during workdays, I get that. However, what if each suburban bus agency had a "region" or area designated to them along the loop and had other feeder buses to move out/away from the loop, also allowing riders to connect with the other agencies.
For example, SWT covers from Plymouth to Bloomington (perhaps even MOA). Then if a rider wanted to go to Inver Grove Heights from Plymouth, they would transfer onto Metro Transit or designated agency covering S/SE quadrant of 494 loop. Just an idea, and would it work?

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jw138
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Re: Suburban Transit

Postby jw138 » November 2nd, 2015, 1:18 pm

I've been hoping that after the Riverview LRT/BRT gets built through the airport and MoA that we'll then see a proposed extension take it along 494 all the way to a connecting SW LRT station in Eden Prarie. Out of the entire 494/694 loop, it seems like this section holds the greatest potential.

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Re: Suburban Transit

Postby acs » November 2nd, 2015, 1:22 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't MNDOT studying building MNPASS lanes on 494 from the airport west at least to I-35W? Maybe not enough ridership for LRT to be extended that way, but maybe we could get something like the orange line.

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Re: Suburban Transit

Postby SteveXC500 » November 2nd, 2015, 1:42 pm

The proposed study was for 494 OR 62 to hold MNPASS lanes. I would think 494 would be the easier project vs. 62.

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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby Tcmetro » November 24th, 2015, 11:43 am

Found the info about the Suburb to Suburb connector bus in the Maple Grove Transit Commission meeting packet:

- Route #494. 3 branches; 494 - Marschall Rd TC - Southwest Station - CR 73/394 Park and Ride - Station 73, 494G Marschall Rd TC - Golden Triangle - City West - OPUS - CR73/394 park and ride - Station 73, 494M Station 73 - Maple Grove Transit Station connector.

- two-way service during peak hours. 6 round-trips on 494, 4 round-trips on 494G, 10 round-trips on 494M.

- Span of service: 5:28 - 8:15 am and 3:08 - 6:16 pm

- Starting on Tues. Jan 19th, 2016

- Funded by 2-year, $2 million grant from State Legislature

http://www.maplegrovemn.gov/files/4214/ ... agenda.pdf

--

Pretty much all the stations have some kind of local connecting service, but the weakest link is definitely the Maple Grove stop. There isn't much in the way of connections besides the local tail of the 781 express and the Maple Grove dial-a-ride.

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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby Tcmetro » February 3rd, 2016, 1:41 pm

MVTA is planning to fix/upgrade the Shakopee Local service. Route 496 (which is really two different routes with different branch letters) will be renumbered to 497 and 499. 497 replaces the 496W and lessens the impact of the one-way routing in West (Old) Shakopee. Rt. 499 will replace the 496E and convert into a two-way operation as well as adding service to the Dean Lakes commercial area and the the Eagle Creek Park and Ride. The route will split to serve Southbridge Park and Ride (to connect with reverse commute and midday expresses) and Walmart (when there are no express connections. The local bus service hours will extend to nearly 9:30 pm now as well. This change would take effect 5/21/16.

MVTA is also planning to upgrade express service on Feb. 20th. Rt. 480 (Burnsville/Apple Valley-Eagan-St. Paul) will have three new round trips, Rt. 484 (Eagan-St. Paul) will see one new round trip as well as a new branch to Rosemount with two round trips, and Rt. 493 (Marschall/169-Minneapolis) will see 5 new peak direction round trips, 2 reverse commute round-trips, and one mid-afternoon return trip from Minneapolis.

http://www.mvta.com/route-alerts/route- ... y-20-2016/
http://www.mvta.com/route-alerts/public ... irculator/

intercomnut
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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby intercomnut » March 20th, 2016, 2:55 pm

According to SWT Meeting Notes from February, route 494 currently has the highest subsidy in the metro. They've decided that if there's no increase in ridership by April 1, they'll suspend it.

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EOst
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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby EOst » March 20th, 2016, 3:09 pm

Way too rash. Three months of service tells you nothing; commuters are slow to change, and the service's utility could only improve with time (especially after SWLRT and an I-394 BRT). They've already spent the money for planning, marketing, schedules, new buses, etc.; why throw all that away after three months?

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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby grant1simons2 » March 20th, 2016, 3:11 pm

Becuase that's just how they operate. They've done this with almost every single local route.

Qhaberl
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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby Qhaberl » March 20th, 2016, 8:50 pm

That will be an awful shame. You can't expect a new bus route, especially one that serves the suburbs, to gain popularity in three months.

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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby DanPatchToget » April 16th, 2016, 9:00 pm

I tried Route 494 twice. Once for fun, but the second time was actually convenient since I was biking in Shakopee and didn't want to bike all the way back to Bloomington. It took awhile since I had to connect to Route 694 at SW Station but better than having to bike up the river valley.

I'd like to see improvements to SW Route 694, but so far they've been slowly cutting service since it first began three years ago. Service to Southdale was cut, and a few of the trips have been cut but it's managed to stay alive.

One of the planners for SW Transit said the subsidy for the local Eden Prairie service (Routes 635 and 636) were $95 per passenger, and now there's SW Prime which I assume is doing much better than the local route experiment. I don't even want to know what the subsidy per passenger was for Route 494. I wonder if SW Transit will try a local route again if/when SW LRT opens.

intercomnut
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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby intercomnut » April 30th, 2016, 9:08 pm

Reading through SW Transit's First Quarter Results, their Prime (on-demand) system is receiving a smaller per-rider subsidy ($6.02) than their express service ($6.39).

intercomnut
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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby intercomnut » April 30th, 2016, 10:18 pm

Also, there's an update regarding planning for the new Suburb to Suburb service that will replace route 94.
What was learned:
  • Don't try to do too much with limited funding. Rather than providing a handful of trips between Shakopee to Maple Grove, concentrate the service in smaller continuous segments, tying the target suburban area together once the smaller segments have been established.
  • Concentrate on the employee target market first. Match service better with most popular start/stop times.
  • Work closer with the business up front in the planning and marketing of the service. Secure "buy-in".
  • Establish east/west connections besides the north/south connection. Develop more of a suburban system not just a route (A rough concept plan will be available at the meeting on the 12th).


Conclusions and Next Steps:
There is approximately $1.8 million + remaining in the demonstration grant. The STA Board will be considering service options that meet the intent of the original grant at its May meeting.

There is agreement that MOA to Shakopee line with connections into the SouthWest service area should be the focal point of the first phase of any new plan developed.

The number of trips and final budget still needs to be developed. We (SWT) estimate initially the need will be $500,000 to operate 18 months of connnector service from our area (2 vehicles operating 12 hours per day/24 total hours per day). This will be modified as we go to meet demand (possibly reduce some of the week day hours and add weekend).

MVTA is working on their piece. [Shakopee to MOA.]
I like that they're trying to make a network, rather than just a route for commuters. But I'm not sure, with their funding limits, that they'll be able to accomplish anything more effective than the first try.

Plus:
SWT has had various iterations of a Mall of America service, yet they never seem to last. I would hope that they don't make the same mistake again.
Seems like that's exactly what they plan on trying again.
SWT will receive three used Metro Mobility cut away small buses for the purpose of using in the modified S2S service plan. These buses will need touch up work on them but staff anticipates they work for their identified purpose. The plan includes providing Prime rides between the Marshal Road park and ride in Shakopee and the three SWT communities of Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, and Chaska.
Hopefully those Prime rides will be fed by foot traffic from the surrounding townhouses. Otherwise, I can't think of 1) Why someone wouldn't just drive such a short distance and 2) How that would take any cars off the road. I know that taking cars off the road doesn't really help because of induced demand, but it seems like having someone transfer from their car to being the only passenger (or maybe the second passenger) on a heavy bus would cause more emissions than if they just drove.

I don't know. I'm hopeful that this experiment will work and in the long term, this will be the beginning of a more comprehensive and creative transit network.

intercomnut
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Re: Suburban Transit (Opt-out Services Providers)

Postby intercomnut » June 10th, 2016, 1:17 pm

Got shut out from using SW Prime today due to "extreme popularity." No notifications or anything /rant


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