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Green Line’s future questioned amid ridership decline

"Ridership Decline"
“Ridership Decline”

The Green Line light rail’s 10th anniversary has been marred by a concerning 80% decrease in ridership due to continuous service cuts. This decline has prompted a critical assessment of the line’s future prospects and raised urgent questions about its sustainability.

In addition to service reductions, changes in passenger experience, including implementation of post-pandemic safety measures and technological advancements, have also contributed to the situation. Despite innovations like digitized tickets and smart surveillance systems, rules enforcement remains a challenge, causing some passengers to feel inconvenienced and unsafe.

In an effort to tackle these obstacles, Metro Transit launched safety strategies. However, staff recruitment issues, particularly in St. Paul, have impeded their implementation. This staffing shortage has led to safety incidents across the local network, prompting an urgent need for regional interventions.

Assessing Green Line’s future amid declining ridership

A new recruitment drive by Metro Transit aims to diversify and strengthen their staff force, but swift recruitment continues to be a challenge.

Looking at future projections for the Green Line, a 14-mile extension is planned to be operational within three years, alongside continued bus funding. This provides an ideal opportunity to reassess the future of the Green Line considering potential ridership increases and environmental benefits.

One key area identified for improvement is service speed, especially in St. Paul where frequent stops due to lack of signal precedence slow down services. Other potential improvements include introductions of an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) for better vehicle flow management and expansions to accommodate more passengers and reduce emissions.

Additional safety measures could also enhance the Green Line’s appeal. Implementations like protected pedestrian pathways, improved lighting, and better signage can build passenger confidence and encourage ridership.

In conclusion, a multifaceted approach encompassing service efficiency, expansion, and safety will determine the future of the Green Line. These efforts promise not only significant environmental benefits but also social and economic boons for the city.

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