With many people taking Friday off and turning Independence Day into a long holiday weekend, Metro Transit and suburban transit providers are expecting fewer riders and are adjusting service to reflect decreased demand. That could catch some commuters off guard as the official holiday is not until Saturday.
In the case of Plymouth Metrolink, there won't be service at all. That includes the city's Dial-a-Ride.
Maple Grove Transit will run express Route 781 from the Maple Grove Transit Station to downtown Minneapolis, but all other routes (780, 781A, 782, 783, 785, 787, 788, and 789) will not run Friday.
Minnesota Valley Transit offices will be closed on Friday and the agency will not be operating express bus service between the southern suburbs and downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul. Local service on routes 440, 444, 445 and the Metro Red Line will follow a weekend schedule.
SouthWest Transit will run Route 698A from the East Creek, SouthWest Village and SouthWest stations and the University of Minnesota. Route 684 will limited service between the southwest suburbs, Southdale, downtown Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota.
Metro Transit, the area's largest public transportation provider, will put a majority of its routes on a Saturday schedule, meaning buses and light-rail trains will operate but not as frequently as they do on a normal weekday rush hour. On busy routes, some schedules are modified with additional trips to accommodate people who do have to get around.
Most routes that don't normally have Saturday service won't have it on Friday. The few that will run Friday will have limited service, the agency said. No Northstar service on Saturday.
Metro Transit institutes “Reduced Service” days when around holidays when many major employers are closed. Most of the service reductions are on routes used by commuters traveling to downtown Minneapolis, St. Paul or the University of Minnesota.
Altogether, Metro Transit will run about 20 percent fewer local bus trips and about one-third the number of express bus trips on Friday. Light-rail trains will only be down about 10 percent compared to the typical weekday.
Metro Transit said it considers historic ridership patterns when deciding whether and when to reduce service. In some cases when a holiday is observed on a weekday, such as 2010 when Independence Day was observed on Monday, July 5, ridership has decreased as much as 60 percent. A similar thing occurs on the day after Thanksgiving.
Reducing service on these lower-demand days provides cost-savings that can be re-directed to other needs, the agency said.