General

Metro Transit with three-part light rail trains on a busy Saturday in the Twin Cities after completion of the pilot program

Metro Transit with three-part light rail trains on a busy Saturday in the Twin Cities after completion of the pilot program

It was game on two Saturday night in downtown Minneapolis.

“I’m excited,” said Derrick Williams, a Vikings fan from Blaine. “Always good to come to a match, the atmosphere, everything. Good night, looking forward to it.”

Fans of Vikings and Twins got ready for some games that started just 10 minutes apart, around 6:00 PM

Some walked, but others rode on the light rail.

“Even with one event it can be busy, but with the Twins and you don’t know that either,” noted Farmington’s Steve Pepera. “Two events, how it will end.”

The Minneapolis Downtown Council estimates that with two concurrent games, plus events at the Orpheum and Guthrie Theaters, more than 70,000 people attended.

A Twins spokesperson at Target Field says 21,781 people attended.

Those numbers are a kind of test for Metro Transit.

“For people who like the train, I think it’s a good option,” says Williams’ wife Clarinda. ‘If it suits you. I think with COVID restrictions it’s a bit safer. ”

Between July 9 and Friday, Metro Transit ran two-car trains on the Blue and Green lines.

It’s part of a larger plan to address safety issues, make the cars cleaner and improve more interaction between drivers and Metro Transit Police.

“A bit of a wait, but otherwise the cars are clean and not too many people in the beginning,” says Pepera.

Only Minneapolis was not busy.

The Minnesota United and St. Paul Saints also had games on Saturday night.

A United spokesman said the game at Allianz Field was sold out, with 19,829 people.

So the Green Line had many riders.

On a Saturday with so much activity, Metro Transit opted for three-car trains.

However, there is a caveat: waiting times between trains have increased from 12 to 15 minutes.

Going forward, the agency says it will look at expected passenger numbers to decide whether to reduce its trains to two cars permanently or to three.

“I think two cars probably during game time, even if it’s just a Vikings game, one game, two cars isn’t enough,” explains Shawn Pierce, a Farmington light rail driver. “I’m thinking three cars, trial by error and seeing how it goes.”

Riders who spoke to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS say that during these busy mega event weekends, the train home can get crowded.

They say it’s something they want to avoid after a long evening.

“I don’t enjoy it,” says Jan Bromenschenkel of Mendota Heights. “You know I have bad knees, but it’s too busy. That was really nice when I saw the assembled car tonight.”

The Vikings and Twins both have their home games scheduled for September 11 and 25.

However, times will be staggered, so probably not that many people will come to the center at once.

Metro Transit says it will use three cars versus two on a case-by-case basis. Jeff Meussner, visiting from Detroit, says he enjoyed riding the light rail – as long as the system gets people to their destinations efficiently.

“If you can move people faster, it’s a good idea if they can keep the same service,” he says.