Jefferson Lines

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Joined: July 31st, 2016, 8:36 pm

Jefferson Lines

Postby hpan3 » January 26th, 2019, 9:43 pm

I could have sworn that I saw a topic for Jefferson Lines under transportation, but then again, maybe it's just me.

I'm in the process of writing an article about one of its schedules, Schedules 927/928 going between Minneapolis and Fargo by way of Bemidji. I'm nicknaming it the "Paul Bunyan Express". I understand that the route was recently resurrected, around 2014, and that it bypassed Park Rapids? It was reduced in 2008 and possibly restructured before 2010 as a loop? I'm having the time following the paper trail that local papers and MnDOT have. Would anyone happen to know the history of the Jefferson Lines route going to and from Bemidji, from the beginning of time? Your responses are greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Edit: Also, I would greatly appreciate if anyone can point me to where I can find ridership data for all stops on this route. Specificaly boardings and alightings

Posts: 2793
Joined: June 4th, 2012, 6:30 pm
Location: Saint Paul

Re: Jefferson Lines

Postby mulad » February 16th, 2019, 9:05 pm

From this 2014 MnDOT Intercity Bus Study, I see that your route is partially subsidized through the FTA's Rural Area Formula Program, S. 5311(f). Figure 2-3 on page 2-10 maps out some data for the stops that are under the subsidy program, but not the ones that are on the non-subsidized portion of the route. I don't see specific numbers for the smaller stops, so you'd probably have to contact MnDOT or the FTA to get the exact figures.

That data might just be an e-mail away if you can find the right person to contact, though it might require a FOIA -- and a FOIA might get you data on the non-subsidized portions, though I kind of doubt it. You may also want to contact MnDOT to see if they have older Intercity Bus Study documents available -- that one from 2014 also mentioned that there had been one in 2010. Seems like it must be about time for them to write up a new one, too... I know MnDOT has a library of older study documents and plans and whatnot, though I've never been there, so I don't know much about how that operates. (I should really try to do that sometime...)

Learning more about Jefferson Lines and the subsidy program is something that's lurked in the back of my mind for a long time, though I had deferred thinking about it very much since I couldn't get over the conflict-of-interest problem with Charlie Zelle being MnDOT commissioner during the Dayton administration (he was the former head of Jefferson Lines, and I think he remained on JL's board while in his commissioner position). It would be good to look at what we could do to improve buses in the state now that we've got new leadership without that conflict to worry about. I think it would be especially useful if MnDOT could coordinate publishing GTFS data of bus schedules in the state so they'd just magically pop up when you used Google Maps or other mapping applications.

[Edit: Well, maybe they're already publishing schedules -- I just tried mapping a route from my place to Bemidji, and got suggestions for routes using JL. There might still be other shuttles or less well-known services that could use help being added.]

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