Metro Transit’s newest rapid bus line, the C Line, will debut Saturday, bringing faster trips and more frequent service for most riders traveling between Brooklyn Center and downtown Minneapolis.

It will also bring changes to the popular Route 19 bus, which will come less frequently and follow a new route in the Cleveland and Victory neighborhoods in north Minneapolis.

The C Line will follow Olson Highway and Penn Avenue — where Route 19 runs — as it travels between Minneapolis and the Brooklyn Center Transit Center. Its buses will run about every 10 minutes most of the day, stopping at stations every quarter-mile apart that feature heated, well-lit shelters and real-time departure schedules. Passengers will prepay fares by swiping cards or using cash at machines like those along the light rail and the A Line, a rapid bus line running on Snelling Avenue.

With fewer stops, the prepayment amenities and 14 larger articulated buses — some powered by electric batteries and others using clean diesel fuel — trips will be about 25% faster than on Route 19 buses, said project manager Michael Mechtenberg.

Still, Route 19 is one of Metro Transit’s most-used lines. In April, it provided 5,400 rides on weekdays, 3,800 on Saturdays and 2,700 on Sundays. Projections show that weekday ridership will hit 9,300 rides by 2030, Mechtenberg said.

Route 19 buses will remain, providing local service for those unable to walk to a rapid bus station, but service along Penn Avenue will be reduced to 30-minute intervals, Mechtenberg said.

With the opening of the C Line, two branch lines of Route 19 serving neighborhoods west of Penn — the 19H and the 19Y — will be cut and combined into the new Route 19A. About 70 riders who used the 19H and 19Y branches that turned off Penn Avenue at 42nd and Lowry avenues, respectively, will be directed to the new Route 19A. That line will operate on Thomas Avenue between Lowry and 42nd avenues with six trips in the morning and six in the afternoon on weekdays.

“The new A branch should accommodate the majority of those riders [losing service] by serving all the major work start and end times,” Mechtenberg said. “Off-peak and weekend they will always have the option of the C-Line, though it might require a longer walk.”

Metro Transit will relocate 29 bus stops served by Routes 19H and 19Y when it adds Route 19A. Another 15 ADA-compliant stops will be built along Route 19A.

The A Line rapid bus route along Snelling Avenue has seen a 30% increase in ridership since it opened in 2016. Mechtenberg is hopeful that will be replicated on the C Line.

“The numbers help tell the story of what fast, frequent service can bring to a community,” he said.

State Patrol rescues geese

A few Drive readers caught in a big traffic jam about 8:30 a.m. Thursday on eastbound Interstate 394 at Dunwoody Boulevard were more than curious to know why two state troopers had the right lanes blocked with no crash or stalled vehicle in sight.

Turns out a family of geese waddling down the middle lanes was in harm’s way. Troopers came and moved the geese safely off the freeway.

It’s all in a day’s work, said spokesman Gordon Shank.

“Troopers respond to a variety of calls for service, which include assisting with getting animals off the freeways,” he said.

 

Follow news about traffic and commuting at The Drive on startribune.com. Got traffic or transportation questions, or story ideas? E-mail drive@startribune.com, tweet @stribdrive or call Tim Harlow at 612-673-7768.