May 20, 2013

Minn. Metro renames Hiawatha light rail Blue Line

Minneapolis’ Metro Transit’s Hiawatha light rail line rebranded as the Metro Blue Line — the first of the Twin Cities Metro system of rapid transit lines.

The Metro system will include the Metro Red Line bus rapid transit on Cedar Avenue, which begins service June 22, and Metro Green Line light rail service between the downtown areas in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, with service beginning in mid-2014.

GM Brian Lamb and other Metro Transit staff greeted customers and distributed new Blue Line schedules and commemorative items at an appreciation event this morning at the 46th Street Station.

“The Metro system represents a new era of transit service for the Twin Cities that would not have been possible without the success of our first light rail line,” said Lamb. “Supported by connections from regional bus service, Metro routes will be recognized as our primary system of transit lines.”

References to “Hiawatha” and also “Route 55” have been replaced with “Metro Blue Line” in printed schedules, maps, online content and other communications materials. Replacement of signs at stations and the repainting of train cars will be completed in the months ahead during typical maintenance cycles.

All Blue Line trains will now have three cars, instead of a mix of two- and three-car trains, and will run every 10 minutes for most of the service day. This additional service capacity is possible due to 12 new light rail vehicles that have been added to the line.

Customers have boarded light rail trains nearly 85 million times since the line began service in mid-2004 — ridership is trending almost 30% ahead of projections for the year 2020.

Metro Transit is a service of the Metropolitan Council. Customers boarded the agency’s buses and trains more than 81 million times in 2012.

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