This week, Metro Transit opened a new bus station at 46th Street and 35W in Minneapolis. The design of the station, including boarding at freeway-level, is a first of its kind for Minnesota. Local buses drop off passengers on 46th street, who then take an elevator or stairs down to the freeway level for boarding.
The idea is to increase the speed of buses: they no longer have to pick up passengers on freeway on- and off-ramps, but instead use special lanes in the center of 35W to enter the station area. The station is part of a larger plan to improve Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service between southern suburbs and Minneapolis.
However, one or two local routes in Minneapolis may have actually had their travel time increased during certain times of day since passengers now need to transfer at 35-W rather than local streets. I’m getting most of this information anecdotally, but the Metro Transit overview of the changes seems to indicate the same (see Route 146).
Later this week, I hope to post a first-hand account of the using the new station from a regular bus rider in south Minneapolis.