All bus and light-rail service throughout the Twin Cities has been suspended through the coming weekend, Metro Transit announced Thursday night.
The extraordinary move came after sometimes violent unrest that has persisted since the death of George Floyd at a Minneapolis intersection after he was pinned by the neck by a police officer.
While transit spokesman Howie Padilla declined to attribute the suspensions solely to the street violence, “obviously, we take into consideration whatever situations call for, and if we have to err on the side of public safety for riders and employees, we’re going to do that.”
It was necessary to impose the shutdown beyond Minneapolis and St. Paul, where the vast majority of the unrest has occurred, because “this is not limited to any single geographic area,” Padilla said.
Unaffected are Northstar commuter service leaving downtown for the northern suburbs and Blue Line shuttle service between terminals 1 and 2 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Terri Dresen, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Council, which oversees public transportation in the metro area, said that due to the coronavirus outbreak having severely pushed down transit demand for the past many weeks, “we’re not talking about packed buses.”
Metro Mobility will continue to operate as long as pick-up locations and destinations are in areas deemed safe by providers First Transit and Transit Team, the Metropolitan Council said.
Such a systemwide shutdown is rare, Padilla said, pointing to an ice storm a few years ago that froze service.
Metro Transit will announce an update at 8 p.m. Sunday after assessing the situation anew, the agency said.