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A Quick Guide to Twin Cities Pubic Transport

Are you new to living in St. Paul, or have no experience taking public transportation?  When I started at Hamline, I had never taken a bus or train before and was totally unsure of where to start. I figured out the basics by trial and error—sometimes ending up in the opposite direction of where I meant to go. Here’s a quick guide to get you started using the Metro Transit system so you don’t have to make my mistakes.

Backside of an informational sign that says where the nearest bus stop/ light rail stop is. Photo by Ella Deutsch.

A-Line:

Timing: every 10-15 minutes

Cost: $2 or $2.50

Board: through any door

Goes to: Har-Mar Mall, Rosedale Mall and AMC movie theater, Minneapolis

This is a bus route that runs up and down Snelling Avenue. The 84 bus also stops at the A-Line bus stops and goes to the same places, but the 84 has some additional stops along the way. The A-Line runs about every 10-15 minutes (the schedule can be found here). Northbound busses go to Har-Mar and Rosedale Mall and their stops are on the campus side of Snelling.

Northbound A-line bus stop. Photo by Ella Deutsch

Rosedale Mall is a fun place to shop, eat, or watch a movie. Har-Mar is a smaller shopping center with some food, a Michael’s craft store, and a great Barnes and Noble with a huge used book selection! There’s one bus stop near the SuperAmerica across from Anderson Center and another down at the other end of campus, by the Giddens Learning Center (GLC) and the football field.

Meanwhile, southbound busses are on the other side of Snelling and go to Minneapolis.

Southbound A-line stop. Photo by Ella Deutsch.

Green Line train:

Timing: every 10 minutes

Cost: $2 or $2.50

Board: any door

Goes to: Downtown Minneapolis, Downtown St. Paul

The Green Line is a speedy way of getting around Minneapolis and St. Paul. The Green Line stops close to campus by the CVS Pharmacy on the corner of University and Snelling. You can walk (about 15 minutes from campus) or take the Southbound A-Line for one or two stops, depending on where you board.

Green line zooming by. Photo by Ella Deutsch.

Other bus routes:

Timing: varies

Cost: $2 or $2.50

Board: only through front door

Goes to: All sorts of places!

You can use the bus to get pretty much anywhere! That’s one of the best parts of living in St. Paul. There are so many different bus routes in St. Paul that it can be a little overwhelming at first. Most shops and businesses will be able to help you figure out the right bus route to get to them. Google Maps is also really helpful: if you put in your mode of transportation public transit, it tells you what busses to ride, when they run and when to transfer.

Green line waiting for the red light to turn green. Photo by Ella Deutsch.

For the A-Line and Green Line, you need to buy a ticket before you board. Either swipe your Metro Transit card (available to purchase at Cub Foods or East Hall 113) or purchase one at the machine on the side of the bus/train shelter. The machines take credit or cash, but do not give change, so be sure to have some dollar bills if you’re paying cash! Tickets are $2 normally and $2.50 during rush hours (shaded on the online and printed schedules). A ticket is good for 2 ½ hours on any bus or the green line. You don’t need to do anything with your ticket except keep it handy in case a transit officer is checking fares. Board through the front or the back doors, but let everyone exiting get out first.

For other bus routes, you can either board with a pre-purchased ticket from the A-Line or Green Line, or you can buy one as you board. Enter through the front door and either show the driver your ticket or buy one with cash or a Metro Transit card. These tickets are also good for 2 ½ hours and can be used on any bus routes and the Green Line. If you use a Metro Transit card, you won’t be given a physical paper ticket, but your card will show that you paid if it’s scanned again, and it won’t charge you again until the 2 ½ hour fare is done.

Public transit can be super intimidating if you’ve never used it before, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a fast and easy way to get around the cities! It’s a great way to see new things and explore St. Paul.

I study Criminal Justice at Hamline University, with minors in Forensic Science and Creative Writing.
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