News & Events

Metro Bus extends Dial-a-Ride customer service hours

ST. CLOUD (4/29/16) — Starting Monday, May 1, Metro Bus Dial-a-Ride customers who need to cancel a ride can talk to a dispatcher until 8 pm on weekdays. Customers previously left cancellation messages after 6:30 pm on weekdays.

“We wanted to be more available to our customers,” said Nicky Lahr, operations manager for Metro Bus.

Metro Bus Dial-a-Ride will continue to take reservations and changes to reservations 6:30 am - 6:30 pm weekdays and 9 am - 5 pm weekends.

Metro Bus Dial-a-Ride is a shared ride service requiring advanced reservations for individuals with disabilities who are unable to ride the Fixed Route and require door-through-door, driver-assisted service. Users must complete a certification process before using the system. Last year, Metro Bus provided more than 133,000 rides on Dial-a-Ride.


 

Metro Bus to move forward with route changes in August

The ST. CLOUD (2/21/16) — The Metro Bus Board of Commissioners approved the route changes proposed for August after hearing input from community members at a public information meeting hosted by Metro Bus last Tuesday, April 19.

Overview of changes effective August 21, 2016
1. Changing Routes 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12 and 33.
2. Creating a new route: Route 8
3. Replacing Campus Clipper service with increased fixed route service 7 days a week, all year round— improving the connection between SCSU and the entire community.
4. Starting Dial-a-Ride Sunday service an hour earlier— first pickup at 8 am.
5. Expanding transfers to be valid for unlimited use in two hours.
6. Reducing SCSU contracted service: Late Nite Route 94 will be discontinued. Husky Shuttle Night Route 92 and Sundowner Route 93 will end earlier (except when Late Nite Route 95 operates). This is due to a change in our contract with SCSU, and not a result of the Long Range Plan.
 

More information aabout this project is available here.


 

Metro Bus to unveil proposed route changes at April 19 meeting

ST. CLOUD (4/13/16) — After working with a consultant gathering community input and planning for more than a year, Metro Bus is ready to share the details of its proposed plan for route changes at a public information meeting from 5:30-6:30 pm Tuesday, April 19 at St. Cloud City Hall Council Chambers.

“We want to build a system that best meets the needs of the community,” said Tom Cruikshank, Managing Director of Operations & Planning. “We are prioritizing the service requests received through the study process into a multi-phase plan. We focused on addressing what the community identified as most important and the greatest needs.”

The plan was developed after research involving focus groups, meetings with community leaders and business, onboard rider surveys and community open houses. The April 19 meeting is the first of a series of public information meetings to be held throughout the community. Staff is in the process of scheduling other locations and times.Features of  Metro Bus Route Plan 1.	Improve reliability and  on-time performance of routes. 2.	Respond to the community’s needs  by expanding service  to unserved and underserved areas.  3.	Improve access  to transit services. 4.	Increase ridership.

 Proposed Plan Highlights
• Implementation in four phases over a four-year period, with no route left untouched.
• Serving nearly every area that currently has service.
• Replacing looping routes with bi-directional service resulting in shorter ride times.
• Expanding service areas, including extending service to St. Joseph.
• Financing new service plan with increased funding from MnDOT, Metro Bus Service Expansion savings account, existing transit tax levy set by Commission, and future fare increases.
 

Proposed Phase 1 – August 21, 2016
1. Integrating Campus Clipper Routes 81-85 into base system, with year-round service to SCSU; increased frequency of some routes during fall and spring semesters.
2. Expanding service area along Route 12 to Marco and Coborn’s corporate headquarters in south St. Cloud and a new Route 8 to 27th Street SE/Sterling Heights in southeast St. Cloud.
3. Adding weekend service to Route 12, extending the route to SCSU and Transit Center.
4. Starting Dial-a-Ride Sunday service an hour earlier— first pickup at 8 am.

For more information about this project click here. 


The Federal Transit Administration requires transit agencies receiving federal funding to complete an updated long range plan every 5 years along with maintaining a 20 year planning horizon. The Metro Bus long range transit plan is a component of the St. Cloud Metropolitan Area Transportation Plan prepared by the St. Cloud APO.



Metro Bus to participate in tornado drill Thursday

 

ST. CLOUD (4/13/16) —In case of a severe weather event, Metro Bus is prepared to keep their riders and employees safe.

“Safety is our first priority,” said Tom Cruikshank, Managing Director of Operations and Planning for Metro Bus. “Thursday’s statewide tornado drills are an opportunity for us to practice our procedures. Don’t be surprised to see buses pulled over when the sirens sound at 1:45 and 6:45 pm. We are also practicing the drill at the Transit Center.”

What does Metro Bus do if there is a tornado?
When the sirens sound, the Metro Bus team pulls into action to implement their severe weather event plan.

Transit operations officials notify personnel of the weather event. Dispatchers radio the drivers. Drivers bring passengers to the safest place along their route. Transit Center staff lead customers to safe location.

“We want to assure the public that we are looking out for their best interest while using Metro Bus services during severe weather,” said Cruikshank. “In the case of an actual severe weather event, such as a tornado, there may be parts of town where we can’t go. Our team puts a plan in place to detour routes as needed, in addition to determining where our buses can remain in operation until we get the all-clear.”



New program to assist job seekers with transportation

ST. CLOUD (1/25/16)— Free bus passes are available to low-income individuals who are actively job-seeking or who have started a new job. The passes are part of a new program offered by Metro Bus and funded by a Morgan Family Foundation grant.

The Metro Bus Transportation Emergency Fund program provides bus passes to low-income individuals who need transportation for job-related activities during that transitional time between job-seeking and when they have the financial means to purchase their own bus pass (e.g. their first paycheck). As applicable, a 7-Day, 31-Day, or 10-Ride Metro Bus pass or Northstar Link Commuter Bus or Northstar Line Commuter Rail pass will be provided to an individual who can demonstrate need.

“This is a referral-based program,” said Debbie Anderson, who is coordinating the program at the Metro Bus Mobility Training Center. “Social service agencies will apply for the program on behalf of their clients. The agencies will screen for financial need and verify employment activity.”

More information about the program can be found here, and at the Metro Bus Mobility Training Center, 700 West St. Germain Street, Suite 100, St. Cloud, MN 56301.Or call the Mobility Training Center at 320.529.4497.



 

Metro Bus announces holiday service hours, reminds riders to plan for poor weather

 ST. CLOUD (11/30/15) — Metro Bus Fixed Route and Dial-a-Ride will be closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. It will operate a reduced schedule for Christmas Eve. To better meet the needs of the community, the reduced schedule is about two hours later than previous Christmas Eves.

Getting around in the winter requires extra planning for everyone. Riders should anticipate a little delay during poor weather conditions and times of high traffic congestion, such as shopping at Crossroads Center between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and consider taking an earlier bus to keep themselves on time. Those who drive are reminded to yield to buses merging in traffic.

Christmas Eve Last Runs
Route 1 at 4:45 pm
Route 2 at 4:45 pm
Route 3 at 4:45 pm
Route 4 at 5:15 pm
Route 5 at 5:15 pm
Route 6 at 5:15 pm
Route 7 at 5:45 pm
Route 9 at 5:15 pm
Route 10 at 5:12 pm
Route 11 at 4:45 pm
Route 12 at 4:55 pm -- ends at 9th Ave and 17th St. S. at 5:22 pm 
Route 21 at 5:15 pm
Route 22 at 4:45 pm
Route 31 at 5:15 pm
Route 32 at 5:30 pm
Route 33 at 5:20 pm -- ends at St. Cloud Hospital at 5:47 pm
 

Dial-a-Ride Last Pick-Ups Christmas Eve
Metro Bus Dial-a-Ride is not scheduling any rides after 5:30 pm
on Christmas Eve.

Weather-Related Closings
Riders can stay informed about weather-related closings on KCLD (FM 104.7), KNSI (AM 1450 & FM 103.3) and WJON (AM1240) radio stations. Notifications will be posted on its Facebook and Twitter accounts. Route-specific detours are posted online at ridemetrobus.com.


 

Public is invited to react to Metro Bus proposed transit plan Nov. 16-21

ST. CLOUD (11/6/15) — The public can help shape the future of public transportation in the St. Cloud area by attending and sharing input at one of seven meetings planned by Metro Bus. The meetings will be held at various locations in St. Cloud, St. Joseph, Sauk Rapids, Sartell, and Waite Park, November 16-21 and will cover the drafted long range transit plan as well as an overview of the current Dial-a-Ride service. The Saturday, Nov. 21 session at Whitney Senior Center is part of the St. Cloud 101 event hosted by the city of St. Cloud.

The Metro Bus meetings will be open house style without a formal presentation. The public is welcome to come and go as they need and staff will share information and answer questions on a one to one, or small group basis.

"The feedback gathered from these sessions will help put the final touches on our long range transit plan,” said Tom Cruikshank, Managing Director of Operations & Planning, who is leading this project at Metro Bus.

“We want to design a transit system that does a better job at meeting the transportation needs of this community now and for the future,” said Ryan Daniel, Metro Bus Executive Director. “Public input and support is extremely important to achieving this goal.”

 Metro Bus Open House & Feedback Sessions:

Monday, Nov. 16
SCSU (Atwood Memorial Center), St. Cloud
10:00 am -1:00 pm
Tuesday, Nov. 17
Transit Center, St. Cloud 
10:00 am -1:00 pm
Wednesday, Nov. 18
St. Joseph City Hall
2:00-4:30 pm
Thursday, Nov. 19
Independent Lifestyles, Sauk Rapids 
10:00 am -1:00 pm
 
Sartell City Hall 
4:00-7:00 pm
Friday, Nov. 20
Waite Park City Hall 
10:00 am -1:00 pm
Saturday, Nov 21
Whitney Senior Center
10:00 am-2:00 pm
This session is part of the
St. Cloud 101 course hosted by the City of St. Cloud
 
This spring, the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization hired consultants to assist Metro Bus with this project. The consultants and leadership from Metro Bus have met with local city officials and leadership from St. Cloud State University to learn about their immediate and long-term needs and plans. These sessions are one of many outreach activities the agency is conducting as part of updating its long-range plan.
 
METRO BUS LONG RANGE TRANSIT PLAN UPDATE PROJECT
OUTREACH ACTIVITY TIMELINE 2015
April 2015:   Consultants and Metro Bus staff met with leadership from St. Augusta, St. Cloud, St. Joseph, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, Waite Park & St. Cloud State University.
 
May:   Consultants hosted focus group discussions with business & community leaders
 
July-Aug.:   Online Community Survey for St. Cloud, Sartell, Sauk Rapids & Waite Park
 
Sep.:   Onboard Rider Survey & Online Community Survey for St. Joseph
 
Nov.:   Community Meetings to get input on plan and proposed changes
 
Dec.:   Present draft plan to Metro Bus Board of Commissioners
 
2016 & beyond:        Public Hearings will be scheduled before any major changes to service
are implemented.
 

 


 

Metro Bus recognized as a leader within Minnesota transit industry

ST. CLOUD (10/28/15) — Last week, transit systems from around Minnesota and Wisconsin gathered at the MN/WI Public Transportation Conference in Duluth to learn about industry trends and best practices. Members of Minnesota Public Transit Association (MPTA) also recognized the outstanding accomplishments of their peers.
 
St. Cloud Metro Bus was named MPTA’s 2015 Minnesota Transit System of the Year. The agency also received the Management Innovation Award for its Mobility Training Center project.
 
“These awards recognize our employees’ commitment and dedication to providing top-notch service,” said Ryan Daniel, Metro Bus Executive Director. “It is an honor to be recognized by our peers.”
 
MPTA is a coalition of transit related entities that provides information on transit activities and advocates for transit initiatives throughout the state. The System of the Year award recognizes an organization that has demonstrated achievement in efficiency and effectiveness. The Management Innovation Award is presented to individuals or organizations that have implemented a project that is innovative to the field of transit or have established a creative new partnership, collaboration or other unique method of addressing transit and transit-related concerns of transit users. 
 
 
 

 

Metro Bus receives Innovative Solutions Award for Mobility Training Center project

ST. CLOUD (10/1/15) — The best and brightest were honored at BusCon’s Breakfast Awards Ceremony on Wednesday in Indianapolis, including the inaugural winners of METRO’s Innovative Solutions Awards.

Evolving from a successful Community Outreach and Travel Training program, St. Cloud Metro Bus Mobility Training Center is a unique facility that combines the elements of paratransit eligibility screening/ability assessments, travel training and community outreach into a single customer-friendly location. Since launching the Travel Training program six years ago, Metro Bus has developed mutually beneficial relationships within the network of care providers, senior living sites, social service agencies and organizations that support people with disabilities and seniors.

The Mobility Training Center is a resource for the whole community. Inexperienced bus riders can learn how to use our transit system within a controlled setting before venturing out on an active route. People with special needs will receive specialized training if they don’t qualify for Dial-a-Ride service.

“I attribute the success of this program to our team of dedicated transit professionals,” said Ryan Daniel, Executive Director of Metro Bus. “Without their talents and passion for the mission of meeting the transportation needs of our community, this recognition wouldn’t be possible.”

Among the staff that Daniel recognizes as key players in the development of the Mobility Training Center is Debbie Anderson, Community Outreach and Mobility Manager, and Tom Cruikshank, Managing Director of Operations and Planning.

“Debbie and her team worked directly with HMA architects to design the assessment course and to create this controlled learning environment,” said Daniel. “Tom managed the construction project with Winkelman Building Corporation. Tom’s keen eye and attention to detail ensured quality of craftsmanship within the facility. He also secured the long-term lease of the second floor, which offsets the operating expenses of having an additional facility.

These are the people responsible for the innovation that earned this project national recognition.”

In all, METRO honored four transit agencies for implementing a new initiative that helped them save money, run more efficiently, streamline operations, improve customer satisfaction and safety, or increase ridership.



Metro Bus Executive Director receives national honor — named one of Mass Transit Magazine's Top 40 Under 40

ST. CLOUD (9/18/15)—Mass Transit, the only magazine exclusively dedicated to public transportation, announces its Mass Transit Top 40 Under 40 list, honoring those professionals who have made significant contributions to the public transit industry. Honorees were judged on criteria that included job commitment, industry involvement and contribution, achievement in his or her position and innovation in his or her field. Metro Bus Executive Director Ryan Daniel, was named to this year's list.

Mass Transit Publisher John Hollenhorst. “The individuals chosen this year are exemplary in their respective areas and show a strong dedication that exemplifies the best of the best.”

“With an aging workforce and so many more retirements in our industry every year, it’s wonderful to see the high caliber of industry professionals in the next generation,” adds Editor Leah Harnack. “It was challenging to narrow it down, but we are confident that this exclusive Mass Transit Top 40 Under 40 list is made up of professionals who are not only extremely deserving of this honor, we expect they will continue to play a significant role in public transportation for decades to come.”

Winners will be showcased in the September/October cover feature of Mass Transit magazine and online at www.MassTransitmag.com.


 

Metro Bus seeks input from riders, part of long range plan update project

ST. CLOUD (9/4/15)— Metro Bus hopes learn more about its customers, their travel habits and needs through an on board survey Sept. 9 and 10. 

“To improve our service and update our long range transit plan we need input from many sources,” said Tom Cruikshank, Managing Director of Operations & Planning, who is leading this project at Metro Bus. “We received a fair amount of feedback with our online community survey and booth at Benton County Fair. Now we are asking forinformation from our riders directly.”

The last on board rider survey of this nature was in 2008, when Metro Bus last updated its long-range plan. Question range from identifying trip purpose to how many times they typically ride, as well as basic demographic information. The survey also asks riders to rate various aspects of the service, and a question about where to add new service.

This spring, the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization hired consultants to assist Metro Bus with this project. The consultants and leadership from Metro Bus have met with local city officials and leadership from St. Cloud State University to learn about their immediate and long-term needs and plans. This onboard survey is one of many outreach activities the agency is conducting as part of updating it long-range plan.

Metro Bus has been asked to explore expanding service to St. Joseph. It would require the city joining the transit commission. To help city officials and residents make an informed decision, Metro Bus will have a special online survey for St. Joseph residents this fall.


Dial-a-Ride No-Show Policy updated to align with national standards

New policy effective 8/20/15

 

A no-show occurs when an individual schedules a ride and fails to use the service by missing their scheduled ride or does not give sufficient cancellation notice (less than 2 hours).

 

If an individual receives more than five (5) no-shows in a 30-day period AND the no-shows equal more than 10% of their total trips scheduled for that 30-day period of time, they will be suspended. The 30-day period of time is determined by the date of the first no-show.

 

When an individual receives a no-show, a letter will be sent to them containing information about when the no-show occurred and will give instructions for how to appeal the no-show. Individuals have 10 business days from receipt of the letter to notify Metro Bus that they wish to appeal the no-show. The appeal may be in writing, by phone, or in person to Metro Bus. Metro Bus will reply in writing or by phone to the individual within 10 business days of receipt of the appeal notice with a determination of the validity of the no-show.

 

An individual who receives a sixth (6) no-show (and their no-shows equal more than 10% of their total trips for a 30-day period of time) will be notified by letter that they will be suspended. The suspension will go into effect fifteen (15) days from the date of the letter. Metro Bus administrative staff will issue the suspension.1st suspension – loss of Dial-a-Ride privileges for seven (7) days. 2nd suspension – loss of Dial-a-Ride privileges for fourteen (14) days. 3rd suspension – loss of Dial-a-Ride privileges for twenty-one (21) days. 4th suspension – loss of Dial-a-Ride privileges for thirty (30) days.

 

Individuals wishing to appeal the suspension may do so by notifying Metro Bus and attend the next Dial-a-Ride Appeal Committee meeting to discuss the reasons for the no-shows. During the time period of the appeal, the suspension will be put on hold. The Appeal Committee may either dismiss one or all of the no-shows or make a final determination to uphold the suspension.

 

If an individual goes one year without any suspensions (counting from the previous suspension’s start date), their next suspension will revert back to a 1st Suspension of seven (7) days.

The Dial-a-Ride Appeal Committee meets the third Tuesday of each month at 11:30 am at the Mobility Training Center, 700 W. St. Germain St., St. Cloud.


 

Metro Bus seeks community input for service planning, part of long range transitplan update project

ST. CLOUD (7/22/15) — What do you want bus service to look like in the St. Cloud area? What are your current transportation habits and needs? Metro Bus wants to know because it is in the process of updating its long range transit plan to accommodate the community’s changing transportation needs.

“Because this is a long-range plan, input is needed from a variety of sources to forecast what this community will look like in 10 years,” said Tom Cruikshank, Cruikshank, Managing Director of Operations & Planning, who is leading this project at Metro Bus. “We want to hear from local leaders as well as from those whose daily lives are affected by our transportation system.”

This spring, the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization hired consultants to assist Metro Bus with this project. The consultants and leadership from Metro Bus have met with local city officials and leadership from St. Cloud State University to learn about their immediate and long-term needs and plans. Additional community outreach activities are planned for this fall to get input from those who are current riders as well as the community at large.

“We anticipate receiving a lot of ideas and need feedback from the community to help us prioritize,” said Cruikshank. “For example, what’s more important to you: to change our routes to serve new areas, or to run our service later in the evening on the weekends?”

The community will have the opportunity to weigh in on such topics and give input about their transportation habits with an online survey. A link to the survey can be found on ridemetrobus.com and is available until around August 21. The survey is intended for anyone who lives or travels in St. Cloud, Sartell, Sauk Rapids and Sartell areas.

“It’s just as important for us to hear from people who don’t ride the bus as from those who do,” said Cruikshank. “Maybe in some ways more, because we want to attract new people to our system and current riders will also have a voice with an onboard survey slated for after Labor Day.”

Metro Bus has been asked to explore expanding service to St. Joseph. It would require the city joining the transit commission. To help city officials and residence make an informed decision, Metro Bus will have a special online survey for St. Joseph residents later this summer.

 


 

 

Share feedback for public meetings

Interested citizens and agencies are invited to share comments at the meeting or in writing prior to the meeting. Mail written comments to: Metro Bus, 665 Franklin Ave. NE, St. Cloud, MN 56304. Comments also can be e-mailed to info@stcloudmtc.com. 
 

Special needs for public meetings

Accommodations will be made to enable people with special needs to participate in the meeting. Please contact Metro Bus early at 320.251.1499 or info@stcloudmtc.com to make arrangements.

Metro Bus operates 7 days a week

There is no service on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Service ends early on Christmas Eve.

Not all routes operate 7 days a week view individual route schedules for exact times of service.


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