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New Suburb-to-Suburb Bus Service Starts Jan. 19, Includes Maple Grove

Jan 13, 2016 08:40AM ● Published by Wendy Erlien

(Provided by Suburban Transit Association; subject to change)

Starting Tuesday, Jan. 19, commuters will soon have a new transportation option of suburb-to-suburb bus service.

Known as Route 494, the bus service will provide trips during weekday rush hour between several transit hubs in the Twin Cities suburbs of:

  • Maple Grove (Maple Grove Transit Station)
  • Plymouth (Station 73 Park & Ride)
  • Minnetonka (Hopkins Crossroad Park and Ride)
  • Eden Prairie (Southwest Transit Station, Optum Campus, Shady Oak Road at Valley View)
  • Shakopee (Marschall Road Transit Station) 

Maps and schedules can be found on the Route 494 website: http://www.s2s494.com/map.html 

Funding for the two-year project was approved through a grant from the Minnesota Legislature to the Suburban Transit Association (STA) to “demonstrate commuter express bus service in the I-494 and Highway 169 corridors,” according to the city of Maple Grove.

The fare is $2.25 per trip for adults, seniors, and youth. Persons with disabilities 75 cents, children 5 and under free (limit three per paid fare), and disabled Veterans ride free at all times. Information about transfers, holiday service, go-to cards, and free guaranteed ride program can be found on the Route 494 website: http://www.s2s494.com/info.htm

Many cities have local or dial-a-ride services available after the Route 494 bus reaches its destination. “Route 494 riders can call the Maple Grove Dial-A-Ride at 763-493-2200 to help with local connections to and from the Maple Grove Transit Station,” the city of Maple Grove shared. “For example, the Dial-A-Ride may able to help you get to and from your home or place of employment within Maple Grove to make a transfer to the Route 494 service.”

The demonstration route is “aimed at increasing access to major employment and commercial centers throughout the Twin Cities' western suburbs,” according to the Route 494 website.

The “Suburb-to-Suburb Bus Demonstration Project” memo of understanding was approved by the city of Maple Grove at the Dec. 21 meeting, following a Nov. 24. The grant provided to the STA is for two years and reimburses transit providers for the expenses occurred while operating Route 494. MN Valley Transit and SW Transit are providing buses, drivers, and customer service support since Maple Grove and Plymouth did not have large transit buses available. Maple Grove busing support could be tapped in the future, depending on potential usage or emergency situations.

Each local transit authority is expected to fund local service connections to the various transit stations to help commuters get to/from the hubs. Maple Grove expanded the dial-a-ride program in the 2016 budget and one small bus was added for nine additional weekday hours, according to the memo provided to the Maple Grove City Council.

“The STA will report back to the Legislature in 2016 and 2017 to update them on this project and to seek funding to further bolster the bus service initiative,” according to the memo provided to the city council.

 A downloadable map and schedule can be found here: http://www.s2s494.com/files/494-map-schedule.pdf

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