Metro Transit pilot program ends, evaluation continues

A pilot program that tested out a reduced number of light rail trains in the Twin Cities has ended.

Metro Transit’s six-week pilot program reduced the number of light rain train cars from three to two on the Blue and Green Lines back on July 9.

Friday, the program ended but Metro Transit said the evaluation is ongoing.

Overall, Metro Transit said it has received mostly positive feedback from riders, saying the switch improved the service and safety on trains.

Going forward, officials plan to look at projected ridership to help make decisions about whether to go back to three cars or permanently stay at two cars.

Saturday, which is projected to be a busy day in downtown Minneapolis due to home games for both the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings, will have three-car trains, according to Metro Transit. However, trips are also being spread out a bit more and will run every 15 minutes instead of every 12.

According to Metro Transit, light rail vehicles hold up to 132 people, seated and standing. While ridership had been growing, it’s still well below pre-pandemic levels, the operator says.