Digital display signs that tell riders how long they will have to wait for the next bus have been appearing a number of  transit stations and busy bus stops over the past few weeks as Metro Transit expands its NexTrip service.

The signs provide real-time predicted departure information for all routes departing within 15 minutes at the stops where they are located. The same information is also available on the agency's website and by telephone at 612-373-3333. Riders can text "MT" and their stop number to 27299 to get bus information, too.

Digital signs first appeared along Marquette and 2nd Avenues in downtown Minneapolis in 2009 and subsequently were added at the I-35W/46th Street Station, the Mall of America and the south Bloomington Transit Center.

Metro Transit added the real-time schedules to light rail platforms in January.

In recent weeks the digital signs have appeared at  bus stops in downtown St. Paul and transit stations near Blue Line platforms at 46th Street, 38th Street, Franklin Avenue and Lake Street/Midtown. With the new additions, there are now 90 NexTrip signs at 54 locations, including transit stations in Maplewood, Brooklyn Center, Columbia Heights, Robbinsdale and Roseville.

The expansion of digital signs to bus stops follows a rollout of more than 2,300 signs this fall that include route and unique stop numbers, as well as instructions for accessing real-time predicted departure times through NexTrip.

In 2014, customers requested NexTrip information through Metro Transit’s website 87.6 million times — nearly three times the number of requests made in 2012. Customers have requested NexTrip data 70.3 million times through the end of October of this year, said spokesman Drew Kerr

Riders likely have seen more ads on bus benches and on buses over the past few weeks. Coinciding with the arrival of the digital displays and new static signs, a marketing push is underway to get riders familiar with NexTrip and all its features, Kerr said. ,

"We want people to know what it is and how to use it," Kerr said.

Metro Transit photo: A new digital sign on Franklin Avenue just below the light-rail stop.

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