by Alex Forster, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota's first bus rapid transit service launches this weekend.
The new Red Line operated by Metro Transit will offer service from Apple Valley to the Mall of America.
The route will provide service throughout the day for people in the south metro area, said Arlene McCarthy, the agency's director of transportation.
"If you wanted to get home earlier, get home in the middle of the day or come home later in the evening after your normal express service has ended, you now have a new option," McCarthy said. "If you are in downtown Minneapolis, you can take the Blue Line, or Hiawatha light rail, down to the Mall of America, transfer to the Red Line and finish your trip."
McCarthy added: "Our goal is to have a system of transit ways, across the region, so that people have a convenient trip on transit, regardless of where they are starting from, and where their destination is."
The new bus rapid transit line will operate more like the light rail than a bus line, McCarthy said. Riders on the Red Line will buy tickets in advance at vending stations for buses that will drive on bus-only shoulder lanes to avoid traffic.
The Red Line is the first of many projects designed to increase bus efficiency in the metro area, she said.