A week or so ago, MPR News reported that during testing of the new Green Line light-rail route, trains were taking about an hour to go from Union Depot in Saint Paul to Target Field, well above the 39 minutes of the original projections.
Transit officials insisted that once the trains were timed with traffic lights along the route, the travel time would come down. And, apparently they have, but not as much as they’d hoped.
The official Green Line schedule has now been posted at Metro Transit’s web site and the total time for the route is slated to be 48 minutes.
There are no cases where the time between stations is any longer than 3 minutes and while 48 minutes is longer than the 39-minute projection, not a lot of people will take the train all the way from Union Depot to Target Field.
During morning rush hour, for example, anyone leaving downtown Saint Paul at 7:45, will be at the University of Minnesota in under half an hour. That’s not bad, and probably more than competitive with taking a car, by the time you find a parking place… if you find a parking place. Taking the 16 bus on the route will take longer, according to the schedule.
Similarly, anyone living near the Midway area of Saint Paul can be in downtown Minneapolis in about 25 minutes. Again, that’s not bad.
And it’s true, of course, that you can often drive to Minneapolis in a shorter amount of time, but that doesn’t tell the entire story, either. Today provides a perfect example. If you wanted to take in today’s Twins game, you could get from Saint Paul to the area of Target Field in about 25 minutes driving, but once you’re there, finding a parking place is nearly impossible what with downtown employees already using their parking spaces that are usually available for night games.
The first train to Saint Paul leaves around 4 a.m. on weekdays. The last train to Minneapolis leaves Saint Paul leaves at 2:14 a.m.
For weekend service, you’ll have to print out the entire schedule. The weekend schedule tool on the website doesn’t work yet.
Update 2:28 p.m. – There’s some discussion (in the comments section) about when Metro Transit began using the 39, 40-minute figures to be from “downtown to downtown” rather than from beginning of the line to the end of the line. Here’s a 2010 newsletter. See the bottom paragraph on page one.