From MPR News reporter Dan Olson:
Metro Transit officials on Monday predicted what they call unprecedented cuts to Twin Cities bus service if an eventual state budget agreement includes a $109 million budget cut over two years.
The Republican transportation bill vetoed by DFL Gov. Mark Dayton included a $109 million proposed cut.
Transit officials described the extent of the possible bus route cuts and fare increases to a Metropolitan Council committee on Monday.
Transit officials are predicting a 25 percent reduction in hours of transit service across the system. More than 200 peak hour bus routes would be cut, and more than 500 employees would lose their jobs.
Most suburban local and many crosstown routes would be eliminated. A Metro Transit spokesman said trips would take longer and more people would end up standing.
The overall loss of rides could approach ten million a year. Officials say most of Metro Transit's direct bus service to the University of Minnesota, a relatively high ridership service, would be eliminated.
If state government shuts down July 1, transit officials have said they can continue operations at current levels using financial reserves for a few weeks.
Metro Transit is one of the country's largest transit systems. The agency supplies 90 percent of the 78 million bus trips taken annually in the Twin Cities. Ridership has been rising.