The new C Line launches on June 8

Check out the new C Line Rapid Transit bus station stops from Brooklyn Center to Downtown.

Check out the new C Line Rapid Transit bus station stops from Brooklyn Center to Downtown.

The new C Line launches on June 8 — Bus rapid transit – faster, easier and more amenities

Camden Community residents may want to skip driving in frustrating traffic, and instead go greener and enjoy a comfortable fast ride to get where you want to go. The long awaited Metro C Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) will officially launch with a ceremony on June 8 at Penn and Lowry. There will be remarks at 9:30 a.m., and buses launch at 10 a.m.

The new Metro BRT provides service every 10-15 minutes; has upgraded buses and stations; faster boarding (payment at station, enter and exit at any door); and transit signal priority — so less time that buses will wait at stoplights.

The corridor is about 18 miles from the Brooklyn Center Transit Center (BCTC) to downtown Minneapolis. About nine miles per trip – one terminus to another once. The more efficient route is predicted to increase ridership to 9,300 riders daily.

You’ll have a quiet ride with the new buses, made in Minnesota at New Flyer in St. Cloud. The C Line will have eight 60-foot articulated Xcelsior CHARGE™ battery electric buses; the engine noise is 60dB – the average loudness of an air conditioner — and there are eight chargers located at the Heywood Garage powered by partnership with Xcel Energy. The C Line is the first line to incorporate electric vehicles in Metro Transit’s seven-county system. There are also six 60-foot articulated New Flyer diesel buses.

New bus amenities will make your ride much more convenient and smooth, and of course faster. There are USB ports beneath the seats so you can charge and use your mobile devices to work, play games or text at leisure, safely, on the way to your destination. You save time by paying for your trip at the bus stop station so no fussing with cards or cash when you get on the bus. Stop requests are easier with a push button or touch tape (no more pull cords), and three doors make it easier to enter or exit the bus. And there’s one-touch self-securement system for mobility devices.

Station amenities include NexTrip information. No need to pull out a bus schedule or check online. Digital screens at each station will display when the next bus will arrive, and upcoming buses will also be listed. Other new good stuff at the stations includes benches, bike racks, raised curbs, security cameras, emergency telephones and heaters.

Corridor improvements also help make this route “rapid.” Now traffic lights have Transit Signal Priority (TSP). The traffic lights ‘know’ a bus is present and safely change to green in favor of a bus. Other corridor improvements on Penn Avenue include new sidewalks, shorter pedestrian crossings, and more street lighting and greenspaces.

Riders pay fares with cash or credit using a Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) at the station and GoTo card users can validate cards at the station. So now bus operators no longer waste time to collect or validate fares. But keep in mind – no free rides – Metro Transit police officers enforce fares when boarding buses.

The C Line will become the primary route serving Penn Avenue. Route 19 bus service will remain, but with reduced service (only about every 30 minutes) and the upcoming new Route 19 service will serve different areas in the region. And note that bike paths/boulevards are planned to follow most of Queen Avenue, just a block west of Penn Avenue, so bikers will ride more safely and avoid major traffic on Penn.

The total cost of the project was $37 million – 80 percent was federally funded and 20 percent was locally funded.

The whole Penn Avenue project was a collaboration between Metro Transit, Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis and Northside neighborhood organizations. Find info/details at metrotransit.org.