Metro Transit buses will be back on Nicollet Mall starting Dec. 2, the transit agency said Thursday as the downtown Minneapolis corridor reopened after two-plus years of construction and bus detours.
They'll be rerouted six weeks later for Super Bowl preparations.
Six routes — 10, 11, 17, 18, 25 and 59 — have been operating on Hennepin Avenue since late 2015 while the city of Minneapolis began the $50 million rebuild of Nicollet Mall. Signs with the agency's signature "T" were being installed Thursday to mark bus stops, but it will take until mid- to late-December before all shelters and electronic signs that display real-time schedules are installed and operational, said spokesman Howie Padilla.
Padilla said the shelters were not added during reconstruction because of confusion about who was responsible for them since the city had them removed. The process to design and build the shelters took time, but they will be placed beginning in December.
Just as riders are getting used to their return home, they'll be rerouted back to Hennepin Avenue again from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15 as Super Bowl activities take over the newly refurbished street.
Transit ambassadors will be stationed on Hennepin Avenue the week after Thanksgiving to alert riders, whose buses will be shifted back to Nicollet Mall. They also will be out on Dec. 4, the first workday with buses back on Nicollet, to greet riders and thank them for their patience during the long-running construction and detours.
A bus wrapped with a "We're Back" on Nicollet also will be circulating to draw attention to the move, Padilla said.
To communicate bus route changes — now and then — and keep riders in the loop over the next few months, Padilla suggests riders subscribe to Metro Transit's "Rider Alerts."
Customers can choose to receive alerts sent by e-mail or text message.
All route changes also are posted on Metro Transit's website.
"It's going to be an active time for downtown routes," he said. "We want people to be aware."