Dakota County is at it again, trying to differentiate themselves in a one-sided transit war with MetroTransit. According to this StarTribune article, Dakota County is balking at the mere MetroTransit consideration of naming bus service along 11 streets in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Bloomington “arterial bus rapid transit.”
From the article:
A name won’t be approved by the Metropolitan Council until February, after public discussion in January. But Dakota County wants “rapid” dropped now to avoid confusing people about which service is which.
“Rapid should not have been considered,” board Chairwoman Nancy Schouweiler said sternly after a Metro Transit planner’s presentation on the new service last week.
Carlson downplayed the conflict between the two names, pointing out that the Cedar busway is now officially called the Red Line under the Metropolitan Council’s transit plan and that it will have been in service two years before the faster service starts on the arterial streets in 2015.
Attention Dakota County Commissioners: you aren’t the first transit service in the nation to use “rapid transit” as part of your name. You’re also not the first transit service in the nation to use “bus rapid transit” either. BRT should be a model to follow, not a buzzwordy marketing gimmick for you to exploit. If other transit lines around the state, just like those you poorly copied from around the country, want to adopt the BRT model then they are just as entitled as you are to utilize the “rapid transit” name. This is regardless of whether they’re spending oodles of money to build infrastructure that wasn’t necessary and terminates at a location which will double the transit time of an average rider to downtown Minneapolis.
No one taking MetroTransit “rapid” lines are going to be in the least bit confused with the name. MetroTransit has already pointed out that the Dakota County BRT line will be known as the “Red Line” in an apparent attempt to pay homage to the fact that it’s going to put taxpayer in the red funding the line or make them fuming red when they’re forced to use it instead of express buses direct to Minneapolis. However, Dakota County’s Commissioners have rejected this stating no one is going to use that name for a long time because Dakota County is going to be pouring money into building enthusiasm around BRT rather than actually making it work.
Instead of bickering about names, bus wraps, and enthusiasm how about you spend your time figuring out how you’re going to fund and develop routes which actually make sense so BRT doesn’t become the unused and useless route it’s destined to become? And, for your information, that doesn’t include plans for development along the current route. That includes plans to feed buses into the line and have it extend well beyond the Mall of America and include alternating Express routes that skip 100% of the stations and head straight to either downtown.
Do you think this is a fight the Dakota County Commissioners should be picking with MetroTransit? Do you think the Commissioners should have other, far more important, things to be doing than whining about other bus lines being named the same thing as hundreds of other transit lines around the nation? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.