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The Minnesota Transit Tour

Minnesota Transit Tour postcard collage

For our annual state transit edition we take an inside look at transit across Minnesota. From big urban (Minneapolis/St. Paul) to small urban (Duluth and St. Cloud), small town (St. Peter, Hibbing and Bemidji) to rural regional (Roseau, Arrowhead), the community and public transit agencies we visited on our tour are an amazingly efficient and customer oriented group. Come along for the Minnesota transit tour -- you'll be glad you did!


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From the Editors

DigitalCT Editor-in-Chief Scott Bogren and Editor Rich Sampson

Via video, DigitalCT Editor-in-Chief Scott Bogren and Editor Rich Sampson share their reflections on their transit tour across Minnesota.

Voices from the Community

Ted Ward, 2013 National Community Transportation Driver of the year

Ron Baumgart -- Executive Director, River Cities Public Transit, Pierre, South Dakota -- and Ted Ward -- 2013 National Community Transportation Driver of the year -- join the CT Podcast discussion.

EXPO 2013 Recap

EXPO 2013 signage

EXPO 2013 was held June 27 in Albuquerque, N.M. More than 1,200 attendees participated in the week-long event. Here are some of the images and award winners from another fantastic EXPO.

The Minnesota Transit Tour: Introduction

One of Minnesota's many lakes

Our transit tour of Minnesota gave us an appreciation of the understated, humble manner with which so many transit managers, drivers, dispatchers and all the other staff members so ably serve their communities.

Minnesota Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle

Minnesota Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle and Scott Bogren

On a searingly hot day, the DigitalCT Magazine staff launched the Minnesota transit tour with a visit and warm welcome from our old friend and recently-appointed Minnesota DOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle.

The Twin Cities' Transit Awakening

Twin Cities Street Car

Few other communities of similar size currently find themselves at that exciting yet challenging point where momentum and resources come together to fundamentally reshape mobility trends and habits. A score of new transit projects from commuter and light rail to bus rapid transit, exclusive bus-only shoulder lanes and park-and-ride locations - are all either recently-completed or moving rapidly through planning and construction. In all, it amounts to nothing short of a new beginning for public transit options in Minnesota's most-populated region.

Intercity Passenger Rail in Minnesota

Artist's rendering of a zip train

There are several encouraging projects that could transform Minnesota's ability to connect communities via passenger trains. In particular, the Zip Rail corridor between the Twin Cities and Rochester and the Northern Lights Express, which would link Minneapolis-St Paul with Duluth are about at similar stages of development and could connect the bulk of the state's population via frequent and reliable passenger rail service.

St. Peter: Quintessential Rural Transit

St. Peter Transit BOC vehicle

What brought the DigitalCT team to the Minnesota River Valley was St. Peter Transit, a 25-year old system serving the community with a growing rural operation that impeccably suits the community.

Metro Bus Captures the Spirit of St. Cloud

St. Cloud transit facility

Traverse any of the streets and bridges spanning central Minnesota's largest community of St. Cloud and it won't take long to notice the regular presence of the region's black, red and white Metro Bus vehicles. Emblazoned on the buses and vans - and many other locations - is the system's credo: the People Picker-Uppers. It's a mission that goes far beyond running vehicles and making stops to include a robust travel training and mobility management program, extensive outreach to one of the region's largest Somali populations, connections to regional transportation providers and a new customer service facility in the heart of St. Cloud.

Bemidji: A Town Where Legend and Reality Freely Mix

Paul Bunyan Transit Executive Director Greg Negard and Scott Bogren

A place where legend and reality freely mix, it should come as no surprise that Bemidji's local public transportation operator has been known as Paul Bunyan Transit since a joint powers agreement between the city and Beltrami County in 1999 consolidated two separate transit agencies into a single, more cost-effective and efficient, operation.

FAR North Transit: Dependable Mobility in Northernmost Minnesota

FAR North Transit HQ

In the midst of a small town tableaux - before you get to the railroad tracks - are the tidy and welcoming offices of FAR North Transit. Developed more than two decades ago to help seniors and people with disabilities get around Roseau a little easier, the system located just a few miles from the Canadian border in Manitoba is now a provider of regional mobility in the northernmost reaches of the continental United States.

A Transit Homecoming: Arrowhead Transit's Distinctive Rural, Regional Network

Baby carrier loaded on an Arrowhead Transit vehicle

Connecting rural areas, small towns and scattered cities, Arrowhead Transit carries more than a half million annual riders across northeastern Minnesota by offering extensive demand-response service that meets the needs of seniors, people with disabilities, workers, students and children. From a limited operation that first began in the mid-1970s, the system has added new counties over the majority of the past four decades by stressing responsiveness, efficiency and customer service.

Hibbing: A City on the Move

Shubat Transportation vehicle

The journey from its halcyon days when the iron ore beneath Hibbing resident's feet fueled the American industrial revolution and the burgeoning steel industry throughout the Great Lakes region to today's standing as a pleasantly livable small town is in many ways a uniquely 20th century American experience. Fast forward to today and Hibbing is served by a local transit system - Hibbing Area Transit - that is operated by Shubat Transportation under contract to the city.

Duluth: A City and Transit System in Sync

Duluth Transit Authority Bus

The Duluth Transit Authority is a forward-looking operation that steadfastly refuses to be defined by what it once was. As the city has transitioned from a heavy industrial town known for shipping the nearby Iron Range's raw materials around the nation and world to one focused on health care, education and tourism, the DTA has evolved alongside it.

Transit Notes

Grand River Station, Grand River, Wis.

Updates, news items and the latest stories on community and public transportation around the nation.


Richard Sampson
Communications Specialist
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines
800.891.0590 x729