This page provides answers to common questions about the Rush Line BRT project. If you have other questions, please contact the project team online or at 651-266-2760.
What is BRT (bus rapid transit)?
Bus rapid transit (BRT) has several defining characteristics:
BRT buses runs frequently throughout the day.
BRT buses make fewer stops, significantly speeding up travel time.
Signal priority allows buses to move through traffic lights faster.
BRT stations include amenities such as shelters with lighting, heat, and real-time schedule information.
For faster stops, customers pay their fares at the station before boarding.
BRT buses operate in a dedicated lane for all or part of their route, allowing them to bypass traffic for faster and more reliable service.
The permanent station and guideway infrastructure associated with BRT stimulates economic development near stations.
Watch this video about the Los Angeles Metro Orange Line for an example of BRT in action.
Where will Rush Line BRT go?
The Rush Line BRT Project is a 15-mile transit route connecting Union Depot in Saint Paul to White Bear Lake, generally along Robert Street, Phalen Boulevard, Ramsey County Rail right-of-way (co-located with the Bruce Vento Regional Trail) and Highway 61.
The Rush Line BRT Project will serve Saint Paul, Maplewood, White Bear Township, Vadnais Heights, Gem Lake and White Bear Lake.
Rush Line BRT will serve destinations like Lowertown, the Saint Paul central business district, Payne-Phalen, Phalen Village, Maplewood Mall, St. John’s Hospital, the Vadnais Sports Center and downtown White Bear Lake.
The Rush Line BRT Project includes further exploration of connector bus service north to Forest Lake, along with other transit system improvements.
At what times and how often will Rush Line BRT run?
Rush Line BRT will operate all day, frequently and in both directions from approximately 5 a.m. until midnight.
Buses will run every ten minutes during rush hours and every fifteen to thirty minutes at other times.
What features will Rush Line BRT stations have?
Rush Line BRT stations will provide a comfortable, secure waiting space and a variety of customer amenities. These features include:
Real-time bus schedule information (NexTrip displays).
Trash and recycling bins.
Energy-efficient LED station lighting.
Information about the station, route, transit system and neighborhood.
Ticket machines for off-board fare purchase using cash or credit card, or for recharging a Go-To Card.
What features will Rush Line BRT vehicles have?
The vehicles used for the Rush Line BRT will be modern, state-of-the-art vehicles designed for an enjoyable customer experience. Like all buses in Metro Transit's system, Rush Line BRT vehicles will accommodate bicycles and be ADA-compliant with ramps, seating areas and accommodations for customers with disabilities.
When will construction begin? When will the Rush Line BRT open?
Based on the project's current timeline, it is anticipated that construction of the Rush Line BRT will begin in 2024 and the Rush Line BRT will open in 2026.
How will the Rush Line BRT Project be funded?
Funding for the Rush Line BRT Project will come from a combination of county and federal funds. County funds are primarily generated by Ramsey County's Transit Sales & Use Tax and federal funding is expected to be obtained through the Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment Grants Program.
How will the Rush Line BRT Project affect the Bruce Vento Regional Trail?
The Rush Line BRT will be co-located with a reconstructed Bruce Vento Regional Trail through the portion of the route that utilizes the Ramsey County rail right-of-way. Ramsey County acquired the right-of-way in the 1990s for future transit use. There is enough of room within this public right-of-way to fit the Bruce Vento Regional Trail, the Rush Line BRT and other elements such as landscaping.
The Ramsey County Rail Right-of-Way Design Guide will guide the design of the Rush Line BRT Project and Bruce Vento Regional Trail. The Ramsey County Rail Right-of-Way Design Guide was created with public input collected in 2019 and in previous planning phases. It emphasizes the importance of the natural and historic character of the right-of-way, safety and security, ease of access and maintenance, and a safe, high-quality experience for trail and BRT users.
Why won't the Rush Line BRT extend farther north than White Bear Lake?
As part of the pre-project development study (2014-2017), Ramsey County examined transit alternatives for a 30-mile corridor between downtown Saint Paul and Forest Lake. The study determined that the market for all-day, high-frequency (every 10-15 minutes) transit in the corridor is between downtown Saint Paul and downtown White Bear Lake when taking into account current population data and forecast population growth through 2040. Even with anticipated growth in Hugo and Forest Lake in the coming years, the residential and job density north of downtown White Bear Lake is not expected to warrant investment in all-day, frequent transit service. The existing demand for transit service in the Hugo and Forest Lake area is predominantly for express service, which is served by existing express bus routes 275 and 288 along I-35E.
As part of the current environmental analysis phase of the Rush Line BRT Project, a potential hourly connecting bus route from White Bear Lake to Forest Lake via Hugo is being explored to meet the limited demand for transit service in those communities.
Will Rush Line BRT cause residents to be displaced?
The Rush Line BRT will operate primarily in existing public right-of-way. As such, it is not anticipated that the Rush Line BRT will require the removal of any homes.
A central goal of the Rush Line BRT Project is to expand access to jobs, education, healthcare and recreation for people with low incomes. Historically, however, investment in high-quality transit service has the potential to increase property values near stations. In some instances, these increases can cause displacement due to higher rents or property taxes. The potential for this form of displacement and strategies to mitigate potential displacement along the Rush Line BRT route are being studied as part of the environmental analysis phase. This analysis will consider both technical data and community input obtained through public engagement.
Will the Rush Line BRT bring crime?
Research shows that people generally tend to commit crimes near where they live. Studies from San Diego, Denver, Los Angeles, and Durham, North Carolina have found no significant increase in crime due to the presence of a transit station. Using transit to flee a crime is especially uncommon.
Transit facilities in the Twin Cities follow best practices for safety and security with multiple security cameras, emergency call buttons, and open layouts that are well-covered with lighting for high visibility. Rush Line BRT stations and Park & Ride lots will have these same safety features. Uniformed and plainclothes Metro Transit Police continually patrol transit routes, vehicles and stations. Like other METRO lines, transit police officers will inspect fares on board Rush Line BRT vehicles. Buses are each equipped with multiple security cameras. Bus drivers continually serve as ‘eyes on the street’ and have instant radio and silent communications capability with police dispatch.
How can I receive the latest updates on the Rush Line BRT Project?