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What’s developing: Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit

Authored on
Bloomington Briefing Published January 4, 2022
Updated on January 4, 2022
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The METRO Orange Line is a planned 17-mile highway bus rapid transit line that connects Minneapolis, Richfield, Bloomington and Burnsville along I-35W. The Orange Line opened and started providing service in December. It provides frequent, all-day service in both directions, seven days a week.

“This is a really significant line that currently carries 14,000 riders daily using just express service,” said City Traffic and Transportation Engineer Kirk Roberts. “That’s expected to grow in the future and that’s key for ridership.” 

Bus rapid transit is a faster, more efficient bus line thanks to limited stops and required payment before boarding. The Orange Line route upgraded and replaced former local Route 535 with enhanced service and amenities, and new station features that will also benefit other transit riders along the I-35W corridor. Orange Line service will have competitive running times for station-to-station trips and offer a new option for commuters traveling from urban areas to suburban destinations.

The project includes street and highway improvements, upgraded transit stations, and improved bus routes. BRT provides high-quality, reliable service like light rail transit, but is less expensive to build and allows for a more flexible route.

Funding for the Orange Line was provided by the Counties Transit Improvement Board, the State of Minnesota, the Metropolitan Council, Hennepin County, Dakota County and the federal government.