Out and About in the Twin Cities: Metro Transit is the Choice for All
- How to use Metro Transit to get around the Twin Cities
- Where to get discounts and passes
- Special accommodations for wheelchairs and the disabled
- Local travel ideas
- Useful links
Metro Transit, the main source of the Twin Cities' public transportation, offers a huge network of buses and light rail trains that span throughout the metro and surrounding suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Their tagline is Hop On and if you read on, you shouldn't have much trouble doing just that!
Where to hop on...and off!
Metro Transit provides convenient energy-efficient travel options for commuters, tourists, families and seniors through its 118 bus routes and The Hiawatha Line (Route 55) of the light rail, which travels from Mall of America to the Warehouse District of Minneapolis, with 15 stations in between.
Simply riding the light rail train is entertainment enough for my kids -- they particularly love the underground tunnel between the Lindbergh and Humphrey Terminals of the airport. However, there are many other great family friendly destinations along the route, including Historic Fort Snelling, Minnehaha Park, Metrodome, and Central Library on Nicollet Mall. On select Saturdays, Central hosts a great free program for kids called Discover Saturday -- ride the rails to the library and avoid the arduous task of parking downtown!
Kids 5 and under ride free; all other passengers must pay a fare. Discounted fares are offered to children 6-12 years old, seniors 65+ and Medicare cardholders during non-rush hours. Persons with disabilities may receive a discounted fare at any time by showing valid identification.
Both buses and trains accept cash and various transit passes, including the Go-To Card, which is a reusable fare card and, in my opinion, the most safe--registered lost cards will be replaced -- and convenient pass option. All passes are available online, at Metro Transit stores or retail outlets. Take note, train fares are purchased BEFORE boarding -- ticket machines at each station accept credit cards in addition to all of the previously mentioned forms of payment.
Special services to help hop (or roll) on
The light rail train and all of Metro Transit's buses are accessible to nearly anyone, including seniors and disabled individuals. Every bus features a wheelchair lift and drivers are trained to assist in its use. Each bus has aisle-facing seats in the front for seniors and riders with special needs; these roomier sections also double as a great place to fold and store strollers.
All of the stations along The Hiawatha Line of the light rail are wheelchair accessible. Plus, the trains offer step-free boarding and designated wheelchair sections, both of which are stroller-friendly as well (bonus!).
For seniors and disabled individuals, Metro Transit offers Metro Mobility, which is a door-to-door ADA Paratransit Service for those who can?t use regular buses or trains (or those in need of a ride to a station). The service is offered to ADA-certified riders to nearly anywhere in the metro or surrounding area--applications are available online. A medically required caregiver is allowed to travel on Metro Mobility vehicles free of charge with an eligible rider. Family members, including children, can accompany riders for the standard fare. Companion children 5 or younger ride for FREE!
Hop on for adventure and convenience
Depending on your destination and where you live, Metro Transit might be your best choice for transportation! Heading to the Vikings game and don't want to pay $30 to park near the Dome? The light rail is a great alternative -- there's a station across Chicago Avenue near Gate F. Hire a sitter and responsibly hit up the Minneapolis nightlife by taking the bus there and back. Your entire brood, including grandma and her wheelchair, can travel to a nearby mall safely and conveniently with Metro Mobility. The possibilities are endless. Use Metro Transit's convenient online Trip Planner to map out your next Twin Cities adventure!
Amy Franzwa is a former entertainment promoter turned freelance writer who lives in the Twin Cities and writes about parenting. She is the proud mother of two young daughters who keep her very busy.
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