Metro Transit opens D Line corridor, driver shortages persist
The 10-year wait is over and the D Line is now running.
Saturday morning, Metro Transit replaced its heaviest traveled stretch with a new route from Brooklyn Center to Mall of America.
This comes as the transportation agency is getting pushback for slashing its bus services across the board.
The new 18-mile corridor now offers service to Brooklyn Center, downtown Minneapolis, Richfield and Bloomington — an area the agency says is not only the busiest line, with an estimated 15 thousand riders — but also communities where one in four households do not have access to a vehicle.
Mayor Jacob Frey said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony that “This D Line is the most important bus line in the state of Minnesota.”
Metro Transit announced the D Line is just the beginning, saying that by 2030, the bus rapid transit network will run 12 routes.
While the BRT network is said to be 20% faster — buses are also expected to stop every 10-15 minutes throughout the day.
At the same time, Metro Transit is pumping the breaks on other routes — cutting stops by about 8%.
The agency says it comes down to two issues.
Ridership is still operating at just 67% of what Metro Transit topped out at back in 2019 — before the pandemic.
Driver shortages made an impact too — with a current need for 74 more full-time operators. Metro transit officials said earlier this week that it’s been a balancing act.