Jobs, service on the line as transit faces unprecedented cutsby Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Proposed cuts to Twin Cities bus service could put more than 500 employees out of jobs and eliminate more than 200 bus routes during peak hours.
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 proposed cut was included in the Republican transportation bill vetoed by DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.
Transit officials described the extent of the possible bus route cuts and fare increases to a Metropolitan Council committee on Monday. They predicted a 25 percent reduction in hours of transit service across the system. Most suburban local and many crosstown routes would be eliminated. Trips would take longer and more people would end up standing, a Metro Transit spokesman said.
The overall loss of rides could approach ten million a year. Officials say the highly-used service to the University of Minnesota, which constitutes most of Metro Transit's direct bus service, would be eliminated.
If state government shuts down July 1, operations can continue at current levels for a few weeks using financial reserves, transit officials said. Metro Transit is one of the country's largest transit systems and continues to grow ridership. The agency supplies 90 percent of the 78 million bus trips taken annually in the Twin Cities.