The new Central Corridor Green Line light rail linking the Minneapolis and St. Paul downtowns probably will run 24 hours a day when it opens this summer — a concession to some Minneapolis City Council members.
Metro Transit recently agreed to schedule roughly hourly service between 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. seven days a week, with more frequent service resuming later in the morning.
Metro Transit’s decision came in response to a request by council members Kevin Reich, Jacob Frey and Cam Gordon, who wanted later departures. Gordon and Frey represent wards that include the University of Minnesota and downtown, where bar traffic can last well into the wee hours of the morning.
“I share your view that the public-transit needs of the people living in and visiting the areas served by the Green Line extend beyond 1 a.m.,” Metro Transit general manager Brian Lamb wrote the council members.
The concession comes as the Minneapolis City Council is considering whether to give its consent to the Southwest Corridor line, which would join the Central Corridor as part of the Green Line. It is being built by the Metropolitan Council, the agency that oversees Metro Transit and will negotiate with the city over consent in the coming weeks.
Frey said more restrictive transit hours are less safe. “We’ve got people just milling around downtown with nothing to do,” he said. “You’re more likely to have drunk drivers out on the road.”
Lamb said the early-morning service could be reduced if needed to meet maintenance needs.
Metro Transit says it has no plans to offer 24-hour daily service on the Hiawatha Blue Line light rail and hasn’t considered schedules for planned Southwest Corridor line.
Two years ago Metro Transit extended hours early Saturday and Sunday mornings on the Hiawatha, which leaves downtown Minneapolis for the last time at around 3 a.m. on those weekend days. On other days, the last Hiawatha train leaves downtown Minneapolis stops a little after 1 a.m.