Rochester City Lines has added another trip between the south metro and Rochester, bringing the number of round trip daily weekday runs to five.
The newest departure leaves at 6:30 a.m. from the 28th Avenue Park and Ride ramp in Bloomington and at 6:45 a.m. from the former Rainbow Foods store off Concord Boulevard and Hwy. 52 in Inver Grove Heights. The bus also will stop in Hampton and Cannon Falls for riders who make reservations. The bus arrives at Mayo's St. Mary's Campus at 8:05 a.m. and downtown Rochester at 8:10 a.m.
A fifth return trip also was added at 5:40 p.m. "allowing employees to work later," said spokesman Christian Holter.
Rochester City Lines has offered motor coach service between the south metro and Rochester for about 9 years, and has seen ridership "growth over time," Holter said. That led to the need for an additional trip, he said.
Many riders take the bus to jobs at the Mayo Clinic, allowing them to live in the Twin Cities while working in Rochester, Holter said.
About a dozen people took advantage of a new and later departure to Rochester on Monday, the first day the new 6:30 a.m. run operated.
Passengers pay $25 one way, $140 for a 10-ride pass or $315 for a monthly pass. But new riders can get a free 10-Ride pass to try out the service, Holter said. For more information on that promotion, call 288-4353 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trips from the Twin Cities and Rochester run every 30 minutes starting at 5 a.m. Return runs operate at 3:35, 4:10, 4:40, 5:10 and 5:40 p.m.
Rochester City Lines provides bus service in Rochester and in about 35 cities in southeastern Minnesota, including Owatonna, Austin and Winona.
Speaking of Winona, the bus company on Nov. 7 started a new AM Express Bus with a non-stop service from the Winona Walmart to downtown Rochester.