Metro Transit is testing shorter light rail in the Twin Cities

Light rail riders in the Twin Cities will notice something different from this weekend: their trains will be shorter than usual.

Starting Saturday and running through mid-August, Metro Transit is running light rail trains in two-car sets instead of three.

Metro Transit spokesman Drew Kerr said the goal of the change tested this summer is to make police and community service officers more visible on trains.

“When there are three-car trains out there, it’s just more ground that needs to be covered,” Kerr said. “When there are two-car trains, there’s more opportunity for those police and community service officers to be on the vehicles and among those driving.”

Kerr said the new system will also make cleaning and maintenance easier; staff can clean two cars faster than they can clean three. Unused cars will head to the store, where they can undergo repairs.

The test comes like Metro Transit reports its light rail traffic – growing up – is only about half of pre-pandemic levels.

The initiative is one of nearly 40 undertaken by Metro Transit as part of its Safety and Security Action Planthat the agency created in June.

The plan focuses on measures that Metro Transit says will improve conditions on buses and trains and make riders feel safer using the system. Shortening trains is one of the first steps in the plan that Metro Transit is implementing.

“It’s one of those things that we could act on immediately, we could get immediate feedback and determine next steps,” Kerr said.

Metro Transit will collect feedback from its staff and riders to assess how the system is working and decide what to do after the test ends on August 19.

Kerr said riders can email [email protected], or call Metro Transit at (612) 373-3333, with their thoughts on the two-car system.

Blue line change

Starting Friday night, Metro Transit’s Blue Line train service between Twin Cities Airport and the Mall of America will be closed until mid-August.

The agency says it will carry out preventative maintenance on the southern end of the light rail line, including work on the track, signals and level crossings.

Buses will replace trains between the Mall of America and Terminal 2 at the airport, following train schedules as closely as possible. Metro Transit says the rail closure is expected to last until August 15.

Trains will continue to run on the rest of the Blue Line, between the airport and downtown Minneapolis.

Jose P. Rogers