Intercity Bus Services

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
Tcmetro
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Intercity Bus Services

Postby Tcmetro » May 22nd, 2021, 8:30 am

Creating a new topic for discussion of intercity bus services in Minnesota and beyond, as it looks like we currently don't have one.


I was looking through the SW Transit meeting packet for May and found that they are considering submitting a proposal to MnDot to operate a Chanhassen/Chaska - Waconia - Norwood - Glencoe - Hutchinson route. MVTA will consider a route from Shakopee/Chaska - Jordan - Belle Plaine - Henderson - LeSueur - St. Peter Mankato. Another route mentioned is Golden Valley - Wayzata - Maple Plain - Delano - Howard Lake - Dassel - Litchfield, but says that Plymouth Metrolink may be a good operator.

There's a number of challenges here, namely the fact that SW Transit and MVTA are created under joint powers agreements by their member municipalities, which would mean that other cities served wouldn't have a say in the governance over the provided services. There may also regulatory issues between intercity services (which are historically privately operated or subsidized private operations) and public local transit providers. I do think it is a creative solution to using the buses which have been dormant during Covid and allowing furloughed drivers to come back to work and may point to the need for a larger MnDot coordinated or operated intercity bus network across the state.

Pages 74-76 of the SWT May 2021 meeting packet: https://swtransit.org/cms-files/swt-may ... -final.pdf

DanPatchToget
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby DanPatchToget » May 22nd, 2021, 9:11 am

Would be nice if these proposed routes originated/terminated in Downtown Minneapolis instead of requiring people to find a way to these very lightly served "transit stations" in order to ride these intercity routes.

I've wanted to try going to Hutchinson without a car for a day trip but the only service there that I know of is Jefferson Lines that operates once per day, and I wouldn't be able to bring my bike. If SouthWest is able to start service to Hutchinson it could really increase the chances of me being able to go out there without a car and with my bike.

Trademark
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby Trademark » May 22nd, 2021, 1:05 pm

Would be nice if these proposed routes originated/terminated in Downtown Minneapolis instead of requiring people to find a way to these very lightly served "transit stations" in order to ride these intercity routes.

I've wanted to try going to Hutchinson without a car for a day trip but the only service there that I know of is Jefferson Lines that operates once per day, and I wouldn't be able to bring my bike. If SouthWest is able to start service to Hutchinson it could really increase the chances of me being able to go out there without a car and with my bike.
I have to imagine considering that plymouth metrolink and swtransit is largely express based that they will incorporate express transfers to minneapolis

Trademark
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby Trademark » May 22nd, 2021, 1:59 pm

Also, although I get it may be too long it would have been nice to see the hwy 12 route continue to Wilmar. I wonder what other routes will be considered thru MNDot's intercity bus program. The fact that these buses will operate without needing reservations is super exciting. It'll also be interesting to see how much they'll cost. Hopefully we can get at least 2 round trips per day so in either direction you can get there and back in a day.

Korh
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby Korh » May 22nd, 2021, 5:48 pm

I feel like any transit improvement the includes greater MN is a good thing. I mean we complain how limited it is in MSP but its miles ahead of anywhere else besides maybe Duluth, Rochester, Mankato, and St. Cloud.

Trademark
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby Trademark » May 22nd, 2021, 8:26 pm

I'd be interested in seeing some type of service running to Buffalo, Northfield, Rochester, St. Michael/Albertville, Hudson and Red Wing

tmart
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby tmart » May 23rd, 2021, 9:10 am

I'd be interested in seeing some type of service running to Buffalo, Northfield, Rochester, St. Michael/Albertville, Hudson and Red Wing
I know Northfield Lines runs a reasonably good shuttle between Northfield and Minneapolis a few times a day, and I imagine between various airport shuttles, obscure small companies that run one-offs, Amtrak, Greyhound, Jefferson, etc. there's probably actually coverage to all those cities. (There was an interesting Streets.mn article that discussed this "hidden intercity bus network" some years ago.)

It would definitely be nice to have a more affordable, public, no-reservations option too, but I think even just having better resources to see which companies already serve which cities (like an intercity map/timetable by MNDot or on Metro Transit's site), and maybe some help on things like like locating stops to facilitate transfers, selling fares on a single site, signage, etc. could make the experience better.

DanPatchToget
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby DanPatchToget » May 23rd, 2021, 9:31 am

Also having stations that aren't just a McDonalds or gas station off the interstate. Speaking from experience using Jefferson Lines between Minneapolis and Duluth a couple times. Doesn't have to be a huge and grand multi-million dollar station full of amenities, but just something that clearly shows where to wait for the bus and has bus info.

Silophant
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby Silophant » May 23rd, 2021, 4:12 pm

Even just a bare-bones bus shelter would be better than "the stop is this gas station, you can tell by the tiny Jefferson Lines logo in the corner of the window, behind the dirt".

Hero
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby Hero » May 23rd, 2021, 10:41 pm

Why not take the Golden Valley terminus into Minneapolis? It doesn't look like it would add much to the total length. And what is the deal with ending in Chaska? Why not have the 169 route end at a green line station in the golden triangle and the 5, 7, 212 route end at a green line station in Eden Prairie?

Trademark
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby Trademark » May 24th, 2021, 12:35 am

I found this the other day

https://www.dot.state.mn.us/transit/rep ... -study.pdf

One thing of note, it makes the stop at Litchfield and not Wilmar make more sense as it would allow a transfer to Jefferson Lines if they are timed properly.

Oreos&Milk
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby Oreos&Milk » July 3rd, 2021, 3:10 pm

Why is it I can open my phone and use 16 apps to find every single road to drive somewhere... yet there is no such app you can find all these small city bus lines without having to search and search and dig and find out the hard way... ought to be something like amtrack where you can find all lines .. granted even that doesn’t show all the private passages train lines.. why is it so complicated to find a bus route ?

MNdible
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby MNdible » July 4th, 2021, 2:26 pm

At least for cities that actually do have intercity service, Google Maps seems to be able to pull up routes and times.

jebr
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby jebr » September 9th, 2021, 8:52 am

Flixbus has launched a route out of Minneapolis - going to Chicago with stops in Hudson, Eau Claire, Madison (both UW and Dutch Mill P&R,) and Janesville. Trips operate Thursday - Monday to Chicago, and Friday - Tuesday back to Minneapolis. Contracted operator is listed as Voigt's, though I'm not sure how branded the buses are for Flixbus vs. Voigt's (which appears to run the Mystic Lake shuttles, school buses, and a fair amount of charter services.)

Booked it for a trip back to Minneapolis from Chicago next month as the 5 PM arrival time is much more pleasant than the 10 PM arrival of Amtrak; even with the extra bus time to get back to St. Paul I'll still be home 4 hours earlier.

https://www.startribune.com/new-low-cos ... 600090171/

grant1simons2
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Re: Intercity Bus Services

Postby grant1simons2 » September 9th, 2021, 9:43 am

Sweet. Used Flixbus in Europe and it worked really really well. I mean, it's transit in Europe so what do you expect, hopefully the company keeps the standard here.


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